The New 1937 Indian Motorcycles

By Chet Billings, Photography by Unknown

From the Novermber 1936 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

As word passed from mouth to mouth and from coast to coast that the factories were coming out early with 1937 models, the usual number and variety of rumors were coined and passed around. This year more than during the past two or three there has been unusual interest in what is offered for the coming season because of the general increase in motorcycle activities and because more people are being won over to two wheels.

All of the sectional fancies have again come to light. Just as cow punchers vary the crease in their ten-gallon hats and the length and shape of their high-heeled boots in different sections of the west, so do motorcyclists favor special bars, gear shift levers or modes of riding short coupled, according to locale-east, central and west.

It being impossible to custom build every job that is sold, Indian Motorcycle Company has taken into consideration all of the preferences and fancies, usages and styles, and as some master chef might concoct a broth to please many palates, has moulded a series of improvements and models to meet the discriminating taste of our fraternity nationally.

Here, as it has been with the Indian factory, the first consideration is what major features of the existing design are to be preserved? Checking against performance during the past year Indian has decided that the double tube truss type frame has proved itself as being safe and strong. It is to be used again in ‘37.

The triple-stem front fork, with its leaf type spring suspension of the front wheel, is likewise again to be used in next year’s machines. On the same list we find the Indian dry sump oiling system; the enclosed primary drive running in an oil bath within it sealed case; distributor ignition; enclosed magneto supplying peak ignition current independent of the battery; and the outside fill type battery, together with the heavy-duty generator and voltomatic generator control.

So much for what is to be preserved. What is to be new and different? One of the first noticed and a much discussed change is that of the forward position of the gear shift lever. Up out of the way but in a location for easy control, the lever is placed rather far front on the right side. Also it shifts forward for low, thence backward for neutral, second and high. This is to be standard on all five models. This feature will meet with extra approval in those sections where it is the custom to ride short-coupled through the use of small seats attached to the front saddle connection.

The “Y” motors are to be regular equipment on the Standard Scout, the Standard Chief and the Sport Scout. The “Y” motor has large cylinders, aluminum heads and “Y “ manifold.

Interchangeable wheels, of the same simple construction as the rear wheel will be standard on the Standard Scout, the Standard Chief and the Four.

On those same models will be cast brake drums designed to operate cooler, smoother and with less wear.

Appearance has come in for a lot of consideration. The equipment of yesteryear will seem crude as compared with the well chromed and brightly painted machines now coming out. To start with, the gear shift lever is to be chrome plated on all models except the Junior Scout. Exhaust pipes will be chromed on the Sport and Standard Scout, the Chief and the Four. Chrome plated valve covers appear on the Four and Standard Scout and the Chief. All but the Junior Scout shall have a plated ignition cable tube. The two large Scouts, the Chief and the Four have a chromed front saddle connection and the Standard Scout and Chief have a chrome plated seat post.

Admittedly chrome does not make a machine run any better, but it does indicate factory acknowledgment of a movement among riders to take pride in their equipment. And given as the fraternity is to a study of mechanical features it is odd-or natural as you may look at it-how much comment has been forthcoming at previews about the improvement in looks due to the tasty touches of the sparkling new plating.

By Chet Billings
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