Lot 102: 1951 Indian 248cc Brave
Following the failure of its range of modern vertical twins, Indian fell into the clutches of the British firm Brockhouse Engineering in 1950. A new enterprise – Indian Sales – was set up to handle the importation of various British makes, while production of the ‘verticals’ and the Chief v-twin was gradually wound down. Complementing the last few remaining ‘real’ Indians was a new model built by Brockhouse in England but not sold in the UK – the Brave. This was a low-budget lightweight powered by a 248cc sidevalve (‘flat head’) single-cylinder engine that eschewed tradition by being built in unit with the three-speed gearbox. To suit the American market, the gear lever went on the left and the foot brake on the right, while the unit was installed in a conventional set of cycle parts consisting of a rigid frame equipped with telescopic front fork. Cycle coaxed a top speed of 68mph out of their on-test Brave in July 1952 and recorded a frugal 82 miles per gallon gas consumption. With a suggested West Coast retail price of $443, the Brave should have been a success, but it seems that the younger riders at whom the bike was aimed (or more probably their parents) preferred the ‘less threatening’ motor scooter. Importation of the Brave ceased in 1953, at which point Indian switched to selling re-badged Royal Enfields.
An older restoration completed circa 1995, this Indian Brave displays a total of 1,277 miles on the odometer and was bought by Mike Corbin at the annual Sturgis motorcycle auction on August 7th 2007 (Lot 23). Apparently clean and accident free, the machine comes with an extensive history file containing an original Indian Brave instruction manual, reproduction parts manual, assorted photographs, Bill of Sale, Minnesota Certificate of Title, insurance certificate, condition report and original 1951 Minnesota license plate.
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