1975 Indian with Velocette engine


So what is an Indian with a Velocette engine in it? Well its someone trying hard to do something but failing, and making an extremely rare bike in the process. Floyd Clymer started out as a racer, turned business man. Well known today for his repair manuals, but in the day he wanted to make motorcycles. He had purchased the Indian name, and had lined up engine suppliers in Britain, and frame builders in Italy. The Clymer Indian is rare, and for sale now on eBay.

From the seller

Indian Velocette 500; Venom engine; extremely rare bike

This is one of the very rare “Indian Velo’s”.  Floyd Clymer owned the Indian name and wanted to bring it back.  He purchased  Venom and Thruxton engines from Velocette. Assembly of the bikes was inItalyby ItalJet with Italian motorcycle components and the Velocette Engine and Transmission. They were not big sellers and it is assumed that less than 100 to 150 machines were produced prior to close of business because of Clymer’s death.

Floyd Clymer was a magazine editor and owner who purchased the Indian name in 1963 and owned it until his death in 1970. His first attempt to brand a new motorcycle with the Indian name was a 50cc mini bike called the Indian Papoose. He was able to sell enough to encourage him to increase the size of the Indians offered. He choose 750cc Royal Enfield Interceptor and 500cc Velocette Viper engines to sit under the Indian on the tank. The year given by the seller may be the year that the bike was finally sold and titled.

Velocette had been making their own motorcycles since 1905, but by the end of the 1960’s they were just another British motorcycle company on its way out. The engine only contract may have been one last effort by Velocette, but by 1971 just a year after the last Clymer Indian, they had closed their own doors on production.

Though out the history of the motorcycle industry there have been attempts and failures. The fun part is that those failures often because special. This Indian is special in what it was, and attempt to revive and American name with a British heart. What it has become is a rare and desirable collectible bike. The bidding looks to be healthy and this will be another one on my watch list to see what happens.

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  1. December 4, 2011

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