In addition to cancelling the Scout after WWII, by 1949 Indian also decided that the Chief was obsolete, and again the fans were outraged, and Indian responded and brought back the Chief in 1950. However the factory did not update it with OHV or a 4 speed synchro-mesh gearbox, both of which it really need to compete with Harley in the early fifties, and few Chiefs were sold. Actually Indian had the solution literally in their hands in 1949 but they failed to follow though with it. In 1948 they had sent a stock Chief to the Vincent company in England to see if the super powerful (for its day) ultra modern Vincent V twin would fit in the Chief rolling chassis. The Vincent engineers under Phil Vincent got to work and accomplished the task in very short order. The OHV engine and its 4 speed footshift gearbox barely fit, but they did fit with no major frame changes. Even the stock generator drive setup with its belt and tin cover fit! The exhaust routing was not at all unfaithful to the overall Chief styling. In fact having a pipe on each side really helped the Chief's "bad side" (the left side). At a glance you would not know that the Vincent engine did not always belong in the Chief. It, including gearbox and primary case, fit so well it looked as if one company had designed the entire bike. Although the fastest Vincent engines - the Black Shadow and the rare Black Lightning racer - were not reliable for ordinary use and American mileages, the Rapide version was. Although mild compared to a Black Shadow it was peppier than a Chief mill. Both the English and US companies tested the prototype and found it satisfactory, but nothing more was followed through with on either side of the Atlantic. This was a huge mistake for Indian, as the poor sales of the old fashioned 1950-53 Chief showed, and also a huge mistake for the Vincent company who also died not long after. If the Vindian had gone into production both companies might have done well for many years thereafter. Possibly Indian would have done so well it would have bought a controlling interest in Vincent. There would not have been a lot of extra cost involved in producing the Vindian since everything except engine mounts and exhausts and brackets were already being produced by either company. Talk about a golden opportunity being lost with tragic results for both parties!
The first motorcycle race happened shortly after the second motorcycle was built. The first Indian Scout was a favorite among US police forces in the 1920's. Imagine how many more years these 648 Scouts and privately souped up Scouts could have won races if they had had a four speed footshift gearbox. Part of their success was the men who raced them: Ed Kretz, Floyd Emde, Johhnny Spiegelhoff, Ted Edwards, Art Hafer, John Greenlee, Jack Horn, Bill Huguley, Bob Holt to name just a few. Unlike Harley-Davidson, Indian strongly supported racing during this period as a way to improve their product and to present it to the buying public. Indian factory machines dominated all forms of racing in the US, and in 1912, Indians won first, second and third at the Isle of Man TT.
Excellent bikes continued to roll out of the engineering department and, hence, off the production lines. Model such as the much-beloved model 101 Scout of 1919 (Sochiro Honda rode a 101 Scout for many years), the original Chief of 1920, and the highly successful Sport Scout of 1935. Indian also acquired a magnificent four-cylinder bike in 1927 by buying the tools, dies, and assets of the Ace Motorcycle Company.
Hedstrom's engineering skill and Hendee's business acumen continued to enlarge their company. A V-Twin was introduced in 1903, updated with two- and three-speed gearboxes, both further refined with swingarm rear suspensions. The first motorcycle with electric start and a fully modern electrical system, the Hendee Special, astounded the industry in 1913. Prior to World War One, Indian was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, producing over 20,000 bikes per year.
HISTORY OF INDIAN MOTORCYCLE RACING AND OTHER STUFF