Published April 17, 2012
It’s not “The World’s Fastest Indian” by any stretch, but it may be one of the oldest.
A 1903 Indian motorcycle claimed to be the oldest-known unrestored example in existence will be auctioned off on April 21st in Frederick, Maryland.
Little more than a motorized bicycle, the 1.75-horsepower Indian was part of the estate of Charlie Alder, Jr., who passed away last year. His carpenter father obtained it through a $50 barter in 1950, when he discovered it hanging on the wall of a dentist's office, unused since 1920. Since then it has spent most of its life in storage, although it has been taken on a tour of motorcycle events over the past several months.
The Indian brand was launched in 1901 and started selling motorcycles to the public the following year. A few nuts and bolts are all that have been changed on the Alder bike, which is not currently in running condition. Nevertheless, Mike Mederski of the National Motorcycle museum says it is a “wonderful find” and a great document of how motorcycles were built at the time.
Many of the other "original" motorcycles from the period that are on display in museums are largely constructed from reproduced parts.
Auctioneer Josh Ruby won’t take a guess at what the bike is worth, but a steam-powered Roper velocipede from 1894 attracted a high bid of $425,000 at an Auctions America event in Las Vegas in January. Experts FoxNews.com spoke to estimate that the Alder Indian could fetch anywhere between $65,000 and $500,000.