1931 Indian Scout 101 – By Trevor Hedge
This stunning 1931 Indian Scout 101 belonging to Victorian Peter Arundel was photographed at the recent Motorclassica event staged at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building.
20,000 people visited the 500 cars and motorcycles on display over the three-day event and despite cars being the primary focus of the event which also includes Australia’s International Concours d’Elegance, there were plenty of motorcycles on hand for two-wheeled aficionados to salivate over, particularly those with a leaning towards European or American machinery.
This 1931 Indian Scout 101 was certainly one of my favourites and is perhaps even more of interest these days due to impending release of the new 2015 reintroduction of the Indian Scout name with a new 1133cc v-twin. This particular machine also proved popular with the judges who awarded it ‘Best Pre War’.
The two-tone paint schemes of Indian motorcycles came about after Mr. Eleuthere Paul du Pont of the paint company fame, took over Indian Motorcycles in 1930, rescuing it from financial ruin and leading the company through The Great Depression before the company really became successful through the war years and by 1939 Indian was turning a great profit, largely thanks to contracts providing motorcycles to the military and the success of the militarised Indian 741. Ill health saw Du Pont have to take a back seat in 1945 and the industrialist passed away in 1950, age 63. His son, Jacques, became an AMA professional racer in the 1950s and competed a number of years in the Isle of Man TT. Another son, Steven, was a member of Indian’s engineering department and contributed to the development of the legendary Big Base Scout.
The Scout model was produced from 1920 through to 1949, with the Scout 101 model pictured here produced from 1928 before being superseded by new lower capacity models in 1932 as The Great Depression really started to bite hard. The 101 Scout deemed as expensive to produce as the higher end 74 cubic inch (1,210cc) Indian Chief and the 101 was replaced by ‘Standard Scout’ until 1938 when the ‘Thirty-Fifty Scout’ was introduced. A lighter framed ‘Sports Scout’ was also made from 1934-1942.
Designer Charles B. Franklin designed the original Scout model and the 101 model was an improvement on the original with an extended wheelbase and rake combining with a lower seat height. The Scout 101 was widely acclaimed as an excellent handling motorcycle that became popular amongst racers and stunt riders of the era. The 101 Scout was powered by a 45 cubic inch (750cc) 42-degree v-twin.
In 1950 the Scout was enlarged and renamed the Warrior.