This 1919 Indian 7hp Powerplus was part of the Lonati collection of American motorcycles – housed in a private museum at the Santoni factory in Brescia, Italy.
What began with Tiberio Lonati’s purchase of a civilianised 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA for his son, Francesco, grew into a collection of 60 bikes representing significant points in American motorcycling history.
Early in the 20th century Indian was locked in battle with Excelsior and Harley-Davidson to produce race-winning motorcycles, the theory being that sales to the public would follow.
Indian introduced a newly designed 61ci (998cc), ‘Flat head’ (side-valve) V-twin in 1916. This replaced the ‘F-head’ (inlet-over-exhaust) engine that had featured in the 1911 eight-valve V-twin racer. The new model was appropriately named the Powerplus because it produced far more power than the F-head it replaced.
Endurance runs were considered a great way to gain public attention and promote the marque at that time. Before the model’s release, works rider Erwin ‘Cannonball’ Baker rode a pre-production model from Vancouver, Canada, to Tijuana, Mexico. He covered the distance in less than four days, setting a new record for what was termed the ‘Three Flags’ event.
The Powerplus motor had a Schebler carburettor and featured control cables rather than telescoping rods, enabling the handlebars to be made adjustable. The model remained in production until the end of 1924.
This Indian Powerplus is highly restored and looks good enough to move straight to a concours d’elegance.
The auction was held at the Staffordshire County Showground, UK.
1919 Indian 7hp Powerplus | Sold: £24,150 ($51,690)