Unrestored 1961 Indian Police Trike!

Indian Motorcycle Company, its problematic name notwithstanding, was a hugely important company in American wheeled history. It was the country’s first motorcycle company (founded 1901), beating out the more ubiquitous Harley-Davidson (founded 1903) by more than two years. In the first half of the twentieth century, Indian Motorcycles made huge, heavy bikes, emblematic of the post-war economic boom that the U.S. was experiencing. They still do to this day, but the second half of the twentieth century gets a little murky as far as company history goes. This was the best source I could find, and they mention that Indian was sort of a pseudo-Royal Enfield, sort of like how the Opel GT was a pseudo-Buick. This 1961 model can be found here on eBay with a…bizarre history.

It’s a custom trike, with a cargo area behind the saddle. The custom work is said to be done by an English firm, and if the bike is actually a Royal Enfield, I can believe that. But it’s located in Blossom, Texas with markings for the Enid, Oklahoma police department. Well wherever it came from, it’s in decent shape for a fifty-year-old trike. The cargo area on the back has a nice coat of patina, and would make a really interesting talking piece for someone wanting to get that boutique-y traveling ice cream shop off the ground that they’ve been threatening to do for years.

Earlier, I mentioned that the trike is likely actually just a rebadged Royal Enfield. The ties to the English motorcycle can easily be seen (even to a motorcycle novice like myself) in the gas tank, which still has the telltale kidney shape that Royal Enfield uses to frame their logo embossed in the metal. Someone more knowledgeable about the less-than-four-wheeled vehicles might be able to confirm based on serial number or even frame shape, but I’m willing to bet that I’m correct.

Indians have historically had transmissions shifted with an actual stick coming off the side of the tank, and this one is no different. Interestingly, the seller states that the transmission includes a reverse gear, so no more awkward waddling when you try to park it. The mechanicals look alright from afar, as does the saddle and electrics, but buyer beware this is an unrestored custom trike. They do say it runs and shifts good, and I’m inclined to believe them. Buy this and you’ll definitely have something unique, and maybe even–dare I say it–cool.

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Comments

  1. sir_mike

    Nice piece of history.Should sell well.

    Like 2
  2. That AMC guy

    Very cool trike. Why is the name “problematical”?

    Like 10
    • Steve R

      Because everything is “problematic” nowadays. The professionally aggrieved need something to keep themselves worked up about, they keep probing the innocuous until they find something that gains traction. It’s what allows them to proclaim to the world they are “good people” when otherwise it would be easy to write them off for the miserable people they really are.

      Steve R

      Like 64
      • MrBZ

        100%.

        Like 11
      • Ralph

        But some of us are GOOD people Steve.
        In spite of how crappy this current situation is in our world.
        Interesting point though!

        Like 1
      • Chris M.

        Well said Steve! In complete agreement.

        Like 6
      • connbackroads

        Great response Steve !!!

        Perhaps the article could allow each individual reader to decide if the Indian Motorcycle Company name is problematic or not?

        Like 1
      • Terry

        It’s called “virtue signaling”.. Or, “we’re better than you because we care”.

        Like 3
      • Jwaltb

        How wonderful for you that you know everything. And how sad that scores of people are as aggrieved as you accuse others of being. Oh well, it’s about the cars, not the blowhards.

  3. pzak

    I enjoy Barnfinds every day but the writer of this one really needs to do better research on this.The Royal Enfield connection with Indian is well documented everywhere. 5 minutes of google research would produce a more informative article than this. Come on, try harder before you write your next piece.

    Like 7
  4. pzak

    I am assuming he wants it to be called the Native American Motorcycle Company??

    Like 14
    • luke arnott Member

      They were known as “The Iron Redskin”.BTW,Enfields are now made in ,yes,India!

      Like 2
      • Robert Morris

        Made in India now but not in 1961.h

        Like 1
      • pzak

        Actually Royal Enfields were built in India under license since 1955.The British firm Brockhouse Engineering owned Indian from 1953 to 1961 and sold rebadged Royal Enfields as Indians.

        Like 3
    • Terrry

      “Woke” has come to Barn Finds.

      Like 5
    • Dave Mazz

      Or maybe he just wants the current Royal Enfield bike to be called an “Indian Motorcycle”….because it is one. :-)

      Like 1
  5. pzak

    This is not a custom trike but a production meter maid vehicle.

    Like 11
  6. Hank

    It followed the idea of the Indian Dispatch Tow, direct competitor with the H-D Servi-Car.
    But the engine is Royal Enfield, Tank shift on the R side of the tank also says English bike. A last gasp of Hendee.

    Like 1
  7. GDTOKC

    A little history from Enid, OK where I was born & lived the first 8 years of my life. On the corner of Elm & VanBuren, catty-corner from our home; each school-day sat Jerry the cop on, I’d like to think; this particular 3 wheeler. His assignment each day was to oversee the crosswalk as we crossed that intersection and walked to school each day. By ourselves if you can imagine! Jerry was every little kids idol. Tall, nice looking with a mustache, cap on, crisp uniform and a big smile making each kid feel as though he was specifically there for you and only you to send you on to school as safely & quickly as possible, yet still taking time to interact with you and let you climb up on the back of that trike & sit for a few minutes. That trike and the back box area just gleamed without fail. The way Jerry treated & made each of us feel special, had all of us wanting to be, the next; Jerry The Cop! Just for pure nostalgia I would love to have that trike and I would take it back to the way it looked in the early to mid-fifties, black & white & gleaming. Thanks for taking me back in time to relive a wonderful era in my life & remembering when people had Cops for idols. Jerry you’re still remembered!

    Like 51
  8. David D. Taylor

    HD also made a Meter Maid trike. The one my FratBro had at Texas Tech had tow differences from this example. 1) the gear shift was on the left side of the tank and 2) the top of the cargo box was level with the saddle, not as tall as this example.

    Like 1
  9. David Taylor

    O yeah – difference #3) the fenders were smaller and fit more snugly over the rear wheels.

    Like 1
  10. Lance

    Are you sure about the age? Indian went out in 1953. Didn’t come back until 2000 or so.

    Like 2
  11. Connecticut Mark

    Bike is 60 years old

    Like 2
  12. Derek

    Indian stopped making V-twins in the 50s, but there were vertical twins, re-badged Enfields and Velocettes and some wee 2-strokes that made the corpse twitch occasionally. There was a 4-cylinder prototype produced in Scotland around 20 years ago; a friend of mine owns (or used to own) the rights to the Indian brand in Europe. It was called the Dakota 4.

    • Terrry

      In the 70s there was a 125cc 2-stroke tiddler, badged as an Indian but made in Japan.

  13. chrlsful

    Indian v Harley (Milwaukee, Wis V Springfield, Mass) great time (~60 yrs).
    Same w/3 or 4 in Britain (til mid ’70s)
    and
    Japanese – 4 co.s, ’60s – ’90s.

  14. Stu Member

    The American-made Indians had a long shift lever coming directly off the transmission. The lever ran next to the gas tank but never touched it.

    This one has a more British style shift linkage, like the Royal Enfield it is.

  15. Tony Primo

    The actual stick coming off the side of the tank is also commonly referred to as a suicide shifter. Because taking one hand off of the handlebars gave you a better chance of crashing.

    Like 1
  16. PeterfromOz

    Lokks like a Japanese carb is fitted.

  17. Jon Kelley

    Ah, but the patina……

    • Ian Martin

      Does patina mean rust?

      Like 2
      • Jon Kelley

        It does to me!

        Like 1
  18. Charles Sawka

    Ok , but you better have good friend in a machine shop. Where are ya gonna get engine and gearbox parts when needed ?

  19. Stu

    Charles, The Indian Enfield Bullit is a direct descendant of this bike. It wasn’t until the last 20 years or so they changed the bottom end to a unit construction. The motor and transmission in this bike were sold under various names for some thing like 50 years.

    Parts are still widely available in England and India.

    Like 2
  20. Terrry

    Riding a trike with a shift lever and suicide clutch is a lot easier than a motorcycle. You can’t fall over!

    Like 2
  21. Charles McLean Member

    How much do you want for the trike? It’s just totally awesome!

  22. carmicheals
  23. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Jun 10, 2021 , 11:28AM
    Current bid:
    US $10,211.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 31 bids ]

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