Motorworld’s newspaper № 10
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The story of Series Four motorcycles started in December 1926 when Indian Motorcycle Co., after prolonged negotiations, bought from Michigan Motors Corporation the right to manufacture motorcycles under the Ace trademark. Big hopes were connected with Ace Four motorcycle, the brainchild of engineer William Henderson. It was a product, with which Indian was hoping to win competitive battle with its old-time adversary–Harley-Davidson, but they needed a flagship motorcycle for that. The powerful, 4-cylinder Ace Four was great for the role.

No changes were introduced into the design of the first Ace motorcycles which were sold Indian trademark (they were simply called Indian Ace). They were only repainted to match the company color—red, their fuel tank got a mascot–the head of the Chief, the word «Indian» and, ion smaller letter below– «Ace». But in August 1927 models for 1928 were announced, and among them was Indian Collegiate Four–a motorcycle with a new, high-pressure oil system, which was there to help increase maximum speed and general engine reliability.

Subsequent modification of the Four were introduced in order to better integrate the motorcycle into the line-up of Indian products and for lowering production expenses. Indian 401, a model of the year 1928, inherited from model 101 Scout all of its significant components: the structure of the holder and the outline of the fuel tank, seat stay, rear part of the frame, mudguards and fork. Differences were as follows: an auxiliary leaf of the front spring, that was necessary to support the bigger weight and, of course, the engine itself.

Indian 440, the model of 1940, incorporated all changes in the setup of the motorcycles in the series, developed by Indian engineers led by Arthur Lemon. Significant modifications were as follows: heavier frame, two-part fuel tank,five-point support of the crankshaft, twin-cast solid cylinders, chrome-plated exhaust tubes, a special design of the rear suspension using a cylinder spiral coil, multiple changes in the design of mudguards and ture types. For additional 50 dollars, magneto ignition system could be installed.

All these innovations combined with larger mass contributed to a new level of riding comfort. The Four was never positioned as an off-road machine (the main reason for it being: exposed crankshaft): Indian recommended it rather as a comfortable and powerful vehicle for travelling on roads and highways, where the motorcycle could develop a speed up to 160 km/h.

After 1940 Series Four motorcycles were manufactured for two more years, mostly per orders from law enforcement agencies. After the Pearl Harbor attack in December of 1941 all sales to civilians were temporarily stopped, and the industry, including motorcycle industry, started working for the benefit of the war machine.

After WWII Indian focused its effort on light-weight motorcycles, never re-starting the production of the Four because its price would have become astronomical, due to the inflation (well, it was a highly-priced motorcycle before the war, too, comparable to such cars as Chevrolet or Buick). Thus in 1942, the curtain was drawn on the history of Indian Four.

Manufacturer Indian Motorcycle Co., Springfield (Massachusetts, USA)
Years of manufacture 1940
Quantity, units 9 400-12 000
Price 1 000$
Today’s value 16 159 $
Type 4-cylinder, inline
Engine capacity, cc 1 278
Bore and stroke, mm 69,85 x 82,55
Engine ratinh 40 h.p. @ 5000 rpm
Sparking Edison Splitdorf magneto (or battery type)
Carburetor Schebler
Battery 6 V
Transmission 3-speed
Frame type Tubular
Front suspension Sprung, with driving arm
Rear suspension Sprung, special design
Brakes Drum type on both front and rear wheel
Wheel size 4.50 x 18 or 5,00 x 16
Length, mm
2 630*
Width, mm
1 800*
Height, mm
1 090*
Wheelbase, mm
1 600*
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank capacity, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km

* – Data from the results of the measurement of the “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov” exhibit.