A visual retrospective of America’s greatest motorcycle.
This year marks the centennial of one of America’s most iconic bikes: the Indian Motorcycle Scout. In those 100 years, the Scout has gone in and out of production multiple times. It’s served in World Wars and been used to break land speed records.
It’s survived new owners and new tastes. It’s been bulked up and slimmed down. It was ridden to dirt track titles in the 1950s—and then again six decades later. Through-out that journey there’s always been one constant: The Indian Motorcycle Scout makes people want to ride.
To mark such a momentous anniversary, we decided to look back at the bikes that have come before the new 2020 model. One hundred years of Scout history have been building to this point. We can’t wait to see where the next 100 take it.
All images except 2015 Scout and 2020 Scout Bobber Twenty courtesey Bonhams
The Indian Motorcycle Scout debuts with the 1920 model. The original engine is 596cc, much smaller than most other bikes at the time, which are 1000cc or more. With its lighter weight and smaller engine, the Scout quickly becomes a popular, more manageable option.
The 101 Scout replac-es the original model. The new design adds a stronger frame, better suspension, a lower seat, and a front brake. It also incorporates the new, soon-to-be-legendary 750cc V-twin engine.
As a result of
cost- cutting following the Great Depression, Indian re-places the Scout 101 with the Standard Scout, which uses the 101 engine in a heavier Chief frame.
The Pony Scout and Junior Scout, known as Thirty-Fifty Scouts because of their 30.50-cid engines, are introduced. Although less powerful, they become very popular.
The Sport Scout enters the market. It features a two-piece keystone frame, which allows the engine to be a structural part of the chassis, a light, English-style spring girder fork, and streamlined, curved fenders.
Ed “Iron Man” Kretz wins the inaugural Dayto-na 200 race riding a Sport Scout. Even though he falls twice during the race, he still manages to lap the field, av-eraging 74 mph and finishing the 640-mile race in 2:43:27.
Scouts are used by Allied troops during WWII, often literally for scouting. The most common Scout used in the war was the 741B, a modified version of a Thirty- Fifty, with a three-speed transmission and a 30.50-cid 15-hp two-cylin-der engine. Unlike the civilian Scout, the 741B comes with a leather submachine gun scabbard and has a met-al ammunition box attached to the left front fork.
After World War II, Indian Motorcycle intro-duces a parallel-twin 440cc Scout in order to compete with an influx of lightweight foreign imports.
Indian Motorcycle’s flat track racing team, the Wrecking Crew, wins the first of three back-to-back-to-back championships rid-ing stripped-down Scouts.
At 68 years old, New Zealander Burt Monro makes motorcycle history by setting an official land speed record of 184.087 mph (with an unofficial top speed of 205.67) on a modified 1920 Scout Streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Actor Steve McQueen buys a meticulously restored 1942 Sport Scout, one of the last produced before Indian Motorcycle shifted its atten-tion to military bikes during World War II, to add to
Nine companies merge to resurrect the Indi-an Motorcycle brand—and the Scout—after a nearly 50-year break in production.
Brad Pitt’s character in Benjamin Button rides a cherry-red 101 Scout.
Under new leadership, Indian Motorcycle relaunch-es the Scout, which is now here to stay.
The video game Call of Duty: WWII is released, featuring the Scout 741B.
With its chopped fenders, sleek profile, and 69ci 100-hp V-twin engine, the Bobber Twenty com-bines the attitude of the past with the performance of the future.