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Royal Enfield and Indian

1955-1960

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Already in 1948 Brockhouse Ltd. became involved with the American Indian make of motorcycle, as a major shareholder, which led to production of a 248cc model under that name, known as the Indian Brave. It had a rigid frame with telescopic forks and conventional lines, but the sv engine had the three-speed gearbox built in-unit, an alternator, and the gear and kickstart pedals on the left - this was not the norm for British machines at that time. The Brave was not much of a success on either side of the Atlantic as it proved to be commercially unsuccessful and mechanically troubled.

Brockhouse saw the struggle of both Indian and Vincent and persuaded them to talk about working together resulting in a prototype Indian-Vincent In the end it was too late to rescue the Indian Motocycle Co. and as soon became clear Vincent HRD as well in 1959.

In 1953 after the demise of the Indian Motorcycle Company of Springfield, Mass., Brockhouse Ltd of Southport, Lancashire acquired the rights to the Indian marque.
The addition of a Indian Brave version with rear suspension in 1954 did little to help sales.

In 1955 Brockhouse's Southport factory had not been profitable since WWII and was closed. An arrangement had been made with the Enfield Cycle Co. Ltd. to manufacture motorcycles with an Indian name badge at a new factory at Boston (Lincolnshire) in the UK for export to USA. So it was that the 1955 Indian lineup consisted of four models with fresh names. The Fire Arrow, Indian's version of the Royal Enfield Clipper, was a 248cc overhead-valve single-cylinder lightweight. The next step up in the Indian hierarchy was the Woodsman, Indian's version of the 499cc Royal Enfield Bullet single set up for off-road use. Indian also offered a parallel-twin motorcycle with roughly the same displacement, the 496cc Tomahawk. The Royal Enfield version of this bike was simply called the "500 Twin", though it later acquired the lofty title "Meteor Minor". This model wasn't especially popular in the bigger-is-better US market, but it did conform to the AMA's displacement limit for overhead-valve twins in its Grand National series.

The top Indian/Royal Enfield offering, and the most popular, was the Trailblazer, Indian's version of Royal Enfield's 692cc Super Meteor overhead-valve parallel twin. Modified examples of this model were marketed to American police departments, as Indian attempted to regain the share of the law-enforcement market it had lost when it ended production of the Chief. Hoping to increase the appeal of the police-version Trailblazer, Indian renamed the bike the Chief. None of these Enfield-Indian hybrids, the new Chief included, caught on in the US.

For 1958 Indian added a couple of models, a 148cc version of the two-stroke Royal Enfield Prince, dubbed the Lance in Indian form; and a sportier version of the Trailblazer that Indian labeled the Apache. But marketing British motorcycles with Indian badges wasn't cutting it.

In 1959 Brockhouse sold the Indian Company to Associated Motor Cycles; the name of the Indian company was changed to Brockhouse Corporation. In 1960, England's Associated Motor Cycles (AMC), makers of Matchless motorcycles began marketing Matchless motorcycles through what remained of the Indian dealer network. Though the Matchless motorcycles were given Indian nicknames in marketing material, they were not rebadged and were sold as Matchless and AJS (another brand owned by AMC) models.

1953 Indian-Brave-Engine 1953 Indian Brave (Brockhouse)
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1953 Indian Brave (Brockhouse)
1953 Indian-Brave 1953 Indian Brave (Brockhouse)
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1953 Indian Brave (Brockhouse)
1955 Clipper 250 c02 1955 Clipper 250
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1955 Clipper 250
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b01 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b02 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b03 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b04 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b05 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b06 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Indian Fire Arrow b07 1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
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1955 Indian Fire Arrow (Clipper)
1955 Bullet 500 c09 1955 Bullet 500
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1955 Bullet 500
1955 Indian Woodsman b04 1955 Indian Woodsman (Bullet 500)
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1955 Indian Woodsman (Bullet 500)