Indian Velo 500
Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. And that was particularly
true in the years after the original Indian Motocycle Company went out of
business in 1953.
For decades, the legendary brand had battled with Harley-Davidson for domination
of the U.S. market, and the nation’s racetracks. So when the end came for the
company, Indian’s fiercely loyal fans had a hard time accepting it.
One of those in a position to do something about that was former West Coast
Indian distributor and motorcycle magazine publisher Floyd Clymer, who acquired
the rights to the Indian name in 1967 and made a number of attempts to revive
Clymer worked with two German firms, Munch and Horex, to build prototypes of an
updated Indian, but neither of those projects got beyond that stage.
Eventually, Clymer succeeded in creating this machine, the Indian Velo 500. It
combined an Italian frame and other components with an engine from the British
Velocette factory. And in 1969, he offered the Indian Velo 500 to the public.
The bike was powered by a 499cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine that
produced an estimated 34 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. It had a four-speed
transmission, wet clutch and chain drive. An Amal carb handled the fuel-mixing
chores, while the drum brakes were sourced from Grimeca.
Unfortunately, the Indian Velo came along at a time when the motorcycle world
was rapidly changing. Indeed, the year it was first offered to the public, Honda
unveiled the four-cylinder 750, and things would never be the same again.
Estimates of the number of Indian Velos produced range from 100 to 150 before
Clymer’s death in 1970 brought an end to the effort.