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Lot 320: Indian Daytona Twin Racer With FLXI Sidecar

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

Hendee Manufacturing entered the era of post-World War I with optimism despite unprofitable government contracts from the war and decreased demand for motorcycles in the domestic market. Increased competition from Harley-Davidson and Henry Ford's Model T would shed a cloud over the Wigwam in the future. But for the year 1919, it was racing as usual and Indian was ready. Board track racing was in a decline since the war but on the dirt tracks around the country Indian's new Powerplus sidevalve engine had the right combination of power and speed to keep the marque on the top of the podium. One of the popular racing venues was sidecar racing. Powerful racing motorcycles would spray huge clouds of dust from the track as the outfits would slide through the corners. Riders would use all their strength to manhandle these rigs around the dirt circuits. The FLXIBLE sidecar however came with a difference. A torsion spring running through the sidecar axle would allow the sidecar wheel to lean with the motorcycle. This advantage would allow the racer to maintain a higher speed through the corners. The difference was substantial compared against a rigid-mount sidecar chassis and FLXI was able to take all the state and national sidecar titles beginning in 1919 through 1924. Images of Floyd Dreyer powering his FLXI through the corners with his foot pushing against the sidecar body endure as some of the most spectacular photographs of motorcycling's golden era. This 1919 Indian Daytona Powerplus racer with FLXI sidecar is an authentic factory racer. It was formerly owned by actor and motorcyclist, Steve McQueen (sold at his 1984 estate sale as lot 662), and restored by Stephen Wright. The motorcycle frame is a unique competition frame made by Indian that uses the engine as a stress member and lowers the engine to improve high speed handling. The wide low handlebars are indicative of machines used in period hillclimbs and for sidecar racing to enhance the leverage needed to force these motorcycles through the corners. The competition engine displaced 61 cubic inches and transmitted power directly to the rear wheel as it was geared for top speed. No transmission was needed. The FLXI sidecar differs from the road model by being lower to the ground and closer to the motorcycle. The passenger literally laid back in the sidecar to keep his weight low. This Indian Daytona racer with FLXI sidecar is a unique and authentic competition motorcycle. While its original rider is undocumented, the new owner will take enjoyment knowing that this rare machine was once owned by Steve McQueen. Sold on a Bill of Sale.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number320
Estimate$100000-$125000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1919
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number725358
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors