Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
Four-Model 441 - 1941
End of the line
All that remains of the long history of the American motorcycle today is Harley Davidson and its unchanging V-twins. But the land of the wide-open spaces once boasted a multitude of makes and models, particularly a long line of four-cylinder bikes, of which the Indian 441 was the last Â– and maybe finest Â– example.
Famous for Four Cylinders
It was in 1927 that Indian, one of the greatest American makes, bought another notable manufacturer, Ace, renowned for its in-line fours. Ace production continued little changed until 1936, when Indian unveiled a curious new four with overhead exhaust valves and side intakes.
Best of the American Fours
Then in 1938 came a new model that was to prove one of the best of the American in-line fours. Its power unit had the cylinders cast in pairs with light-alloy cylinder heads; Indian had returned to the normal valve layout for this type of power unit, with overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. Sliding pillar rear suspension was added in 1939. The year 1940 saw the appearance of the flamboyantly skirted fenders that were to characterize American bikes at that period. The Indian Four remained in that form, with minor detail changes, until the end of production in 1942. Although the Springfield, Massachusetts, company studied several prototypes for postwar production, the '42 model remained the last of the American straight fours.
Engine: 1265cc (69.9x82.6 mm) in-line four-cylinder four-stroke
Power output: 40 hp
Valves: overhead inlet/side exhaust
Fuel system: Schebler carburetor
Transmission: 3-speed hand-change gearbox; chain final drive
Suspension: (front) leaf-sprung trailing link; (rear) sliding pillar
Brakes: (front) drum; (rear) drum
Wheels: wire 4.50x18 in (5.00x16 optional)
Weight: 569 lb
Maximum speed: 100 mph
Luxurious and well-equipped, the Indian Four was ideally suited to the fitting of a sidecar, like the rare Goulding built in Michigan.