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A Vindian from Phil Pilgrim


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VOC Member
A new Vindian from Phil Pilgrim here in OZ, thought it might interest some.

Vindian R_H 2012.jpgVindian 2012 l.jpg


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Non-VOC Member
Howdy chaps,

Absolutely splendid machine. When viewing this one the old saw, horses for courses comes to mind again. In this case, the luxury in 1948 of a thoroughbred powerplant to be merely plucked off the shelf and pressed into this odd duty. As time goes on and the commitment to do anything with a Vin twin engine becomes a formidable financial undertaking, especially when setting off to replicate this brief tangential path of history in the Vincent/Indian relationship I'm reminded what the "ideal" American cruiser for the era would likely be if parts source was open. And regularly riding the examples sighted here it's a alot more humble than this configuration.

A 61 C.I. HD EL engine and 4 speed trans in a 46 Chief chassis, preferably on 18 inch wheels.

A Vin twin is far more motor than any American chassis of this era could ever use and from idle to mid rpm a well tuned 61 even with a Linkert feels much like a Vin and with far less component complexity. Obviously unit construction, general oil tightness and compact layout favor a Vin but when viewed in context with chassis within it rests, it's kinda academic anyway.

Americans pounded their machines unrelentingly, as evidenced in club activity photos of the era published in many of Herbert Wagner’s HD books. 4 and 5 up riding, regular dousing in water up to the tops of the cases, hill climbs, drag races and Jack Pine enduros. The thought of that then familiar clutch rocker pedal now attached to a cam plate on our spindly spindle to transfer aggressive boot action into shifting gears – those gears would take it but this linkage would not. The HD dog based constant mesh then-straight-gate shifted trans that lasted unchanged from 41 till the mid 80’s would have been a far better solution and that clutch unkillable by comparison. Police officers would leave their mounts running and in gear with the clutch pedal locked down when writing traffic tickets, not to mention towing cars to/from service garages in the three wheel dispatch tow configuration.

As for chassis, an Indian is superior to the HD’s with the 46 preferable to http://www.patwilliamsracing.com/1948indianchief/indianchief36.jpg the 48. The 46 Chief features the one year use of the short top link girder forks resulting in a far more relaxed ride than the 47-48's with the long top links reducing rake with the (failed) intention of sharpening the response to match that of the nimble British twins then coming on to the U.S. scene. The 46 configuration more suits the undamped rear suspension and tempers the compromise imposed by the fitting of the then fashionable 5.00 x 16 tires in 1941 - replacing 4.50 x 18's - these changing the feel of Indians entirely and leading to very dangerous handling when fitted to HD big twins in 1940. As an aside, the tanker-slapper issue became so dire HD literally hammered the top tube down and altered the two front down tubes on the early 41 frames on the assembly line to eak out a 29 degree rake in the hope of returning some stability.

At any rate, I’m also reminded when hopping off the Shadow and onto the Vespa that it’s the complete inadequateness of vintage machines in one area when compared to another that makes them so much more interesting to operate than modern machines not afforded that luxury by virtue of safety concerns and user expectations.


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VOC Member
Have many Knucklehead engines been put in Indian frames?

I wonder what year Indian frame was used for Dennis Magri's Vindian at the Colorado Rally?


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Non-VOC Member
Howdy Bruce,

Pre-40 rigid, possibly, post 40 sprung, not too likely. Though immensely strong and more suited to hauling chairs than its HD contemporary, alas - as discussed on another forum regarding the dearth of Indian bobbers appearing during this current fashion wave - its complete lack of aesthetic appeal offsets the motivation to undertake that arduous task. Homely.

Missed the Co rally but if a sprung frame, seeing the frame cross bar behind the seat post and the foot clutch mounting boss would provide a clue.
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