1930: Indian merges with DuPont

 Hedstrom was ably replaced by Charles B. Franklin (seen in this photo) Indian’s second great design engineer.

Hedstrom was ably replaced by Charles B. Franklin (seen in this photo) Indian’s second great design engineer.

Franklin’s ‘Scout’ and ‘Chief’ models were popular in the Roaring Twenties. Indian also acquired the Ace motorcycle company, and moved production of the Ace inline four-cylinder motor to “the wigwam” in Springfield. All in all, Indians were still very competitive in the marketplace.

But the crash of ’29 affected Indian, along with almost every other U.S. company.

Indian’s fate was then tied to E. Paul DuPont, a rich industrialist who owned a luxury car company. DuPont arranged to merge his company with Indian in 1930. By 1932, the combined company had abandoned car production (it made less than 600 cars in total) and DuPont had managed to purge Indian’s Board of Directors of members he thought were manipulating share prices.

Without DuPont, there’s an excellent chance that Indian would have perished in the Depression.

 101 Scout: a sport bike of its time.

101 Scout: a sport bike of its time.