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1940 Indian 440 at auction

(by Guy 'Guido' Allen, Mar 2022)

Indian 4 

Result proves lasting appeal of these big Americans

If you were to look for an American motorcycle which has performed consistently as an investment across the years, you could do worse than look at Springfield-era Indian Fours.

Rather than the meteoric value jumps we've seen for Harley-Davidson Knuckleheads in recent years, the Indian Fours have seen steady growth over a long period.

Indian 4

This example was recently sold through Bring a Trailer for Au$103,000 (US$76,000, GB£57,600)

Indian bought the the design from original manufacturer Ace in 1927 and developed the machine up to 1942.

Indian 4

By the time this 1940 example was produced, the inlet-over-exhaust (IOE) four-cylinder powerplant was good for 40 horsepower, and displaced 77 cubic inches or 1261cc.

1940 was also the first year for the deeply-valanced guards that became the marque's visual signature.

The transmission is typical Indian for the period – a three-speed crash gearbox with right-hand shifter, foot clutch and left-hand throttle.


The powerplant started life as an IOE design, however Indian did play with a exhaust-over-inlet (EOI) variant in 1936-37. There were issues with performance and maintenance and it struggled for market acceptance, forcing the company to return to the original configuration.

Dakota 4

While the Springfield version ceased production in 1942, Scottish businessman Alan Forbes revived the idea with a modern version called the Dakota 4 in 2003-07. It displaced 1845cc.

See the 1947 Indian Chief in our shed

More features here

See the bikes in our shed


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