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Indian race car

August 1, 2010

At the Palo Alto show last week “Vintage Vehicles and Family Festival 2010” this little race car was shown.  It has just been restored top to bottom and looks superb.  It is a 1915 cycle car, with a 1919 Indian Powerplus motor.  The present owner found it in a shop in Livermore, mostly complete but not running.  The body, frame, chassis and drive train were all present.  Plus all the various little linkages for the shifter, throttle, etc were on the car, which made it much simpler to restore than if they had gone missing.


The restorer had to build just a few things, including the grill and hood.  He also fitted 28×3 clincher tires and rims instead of the old ones that were considerably smaller.  The Indian motor, 3 speed gearbox and clutch were rebuilt, painted and polished, then installed without any modifications required.  In the first photo you can see the clever linkage to the Bosch magneto and the spiral loops in the oil lines.  The frame was made from steel, and the rails taper at the front end.  That is a very nice touch, and shows some of the thought that went into this thing 95 years ago.

The driver has only one gage to look at, the air pressure gage.  Since the carburetor is mounted higher than the fuel tank, pressurized air is used to make the fluid flow uphill.  A small plunger pump is handily mounted out side the cowl for the driver to use when needed, as seen in the second photo.  One other thing that the driver should be aware of is the jackshaft spinning just below his umm, private area.  You can see in that the motor drives the primary chain to the clutch, then a secondary chain goes back to the jackshaft.  This shaft goes right through the car, with a sprocket outboard on each end.  (it is smoothly polished nickel, so the pilot’s jewels are probably safe.)  The final drive is by two chains, one for each wheel.  The rear axle is not a typical auto live axle, but just two little stub axles, hence the need for dual drive chains.  There is a band brake fitted to the right rear wheel.  “Two wheel drive, one wheeled brakes”  But that’s fine, brakes only slow you down.

The car has a very short wheelbase and narrow track.  It is unknown how well it would handle on the board tracks, but I’m sure that it was a hairy ride at 80 mph.  The original leaf springs are still on the car, the rears have an interesting dog leg at the back.  Creature comforts are few, but there is a small amount of upholstery on the seat.  No firewall is present, there isn’t any room for one!

It is a great car, and was restored well.  While they have fired it up to tune the motor, the owner does not plan to drive it anytime soon. 




4 Comments leave one →
  1. rick permalink
    August 2, 2010 2:33 am

    nice but it’s a dam shame that people buy stuff, restore and there it’s sits as eye candy. at least do one demo lap on a race track somewhere.

  2. Jim Abbott permalink
    August 3, 2010 9:19 am

    Where does he put his feet??

    • Pete Young permalink*
      August 3, 2010 4:17 pm

      Hola Jim. There is a sheetmetal floorpan in the car. It is tough to see, but you can get a glimpse of it in the third photo, on the driver’s right side of the motor.

      • Jim Abbott permalink
        August 3, 2010 6:23 pm

        Hola back atcha Pete! I’ll take your word for it. Looks a bit tight for such as us though.

        Cheers, Jim A.

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