Indian Motorcycles For 1936

Indians Strikes New High In Motorcycle Engineering

It was back in November, 1934. On the third floor of the great Indian plant that boasts over nine and one-half miles of floor space a sandy-haired, shirt sleeved engineer stood outside a small concrete room set in the center of the test department, a room that stood, stark and alone, like some forlorn, deserted shack in the center of a plain. In front of the sandy-haired man was a board panel with bracketed instruments. A steady, muffled roar indicated there was life in the concrete square. Through heavy, non-shatterable glass the sandy-haired one watched. His hands moved levers. The roar from within deepened in tone. The multiple dials crept slowly across the white faces.

The first of the 1936 model Indian power-plants was rumbling steadily; a short chain gearing the bellowing engine to a dynamometer. Wires, controls and leads ran from many places and the dials on the outside panel told a story to the engineer. The creeping dials told of super-performance; of superb running at sustained high speeds; of low engine heats. They told a tale of minimum oil consumption, of soul-satisfying tick-over idling and one by one as they crept their way across the dial faces they spelled out success to an engineer whose career had been wrapped up in the production of air-cooled engines for a decade.

The 1936 Indians were ready for the severest test of all, the test of the roaring road.

In the months that followed grizzled testers who had seen years of service poured out machines from the factory. One went north and anxious eyes watched the performance of Dry Sump oiling in zero and near zero climates. Another went his lonely way to the south and checked and checked again in summer temperatures. Still another to the beach, where hour after hour a spinning, screaming motor was run wide open, full throttle, in an effort to break it up. Here it was a check of top revolutions per minute for stamina of pistons that were newly designed and destined for the greatest Indian of all, the 1936. Here it was that the greatest forward step in the history of motorcycle engineering, distributor ignition, received its baptism of fire.

The requirements were many; it must idle at tick-over speeds. It must start with no annoying kick-back. It must literally run forever at something around 5000 r.p.m. with no sign of flagging, no tendency to falter. Coils must last under terrific load, must deliver full, hot sparks under drenching storms and in summer heat; condensers must be as stable for stamina as the very bolts that held the cylinders.

It was more than just engineering! It was another forward step in Indian progress.

It marked another milestone in development of new equipment, styled for today’s cyclist-and so revising the entire motorcycle set-up that the machine of 1930 is as obsolete as yesterday’s newspaper.

Dry Sump oiling had come, the same oiling system that flew the great China Clipper across Pacific seas; leaf spring front fork suspension for long wheelbase machines, primary drive chains running in an inclosed oil bath, aluminum cylinder heads, as smart from an engineering standpoint as tomorrow’s wisecrack, wider fork assemblies, unit power-plants… each and every feature tending to a greater Indian for 1936… a greater Indian based on engineering principles that are the principles of today and hold no brief for yesteryear.

In appearance the 1936 Indian line has been even more accentuated to the ideal in streamlining with sweeping fenders that crown gracefully and taper back to a smooth, flowing line at the back, leaving the sweeping effect unrestrained. This effect is heightened by this year’s addition of the combination stop and tail light that moulds daintily into the rear fender, incased artistically in moulded rubber and destroying in no respect the arcing line of the streamlined rear fender. A chrome rim sets off the jet black of the moulded rubber mounting of the combination safety device and adds to the efficiency by allowance of a full 180-foot angle of visibility. This complete, half-circle arc of visibility for the tail and stop light is a safety factor that will be appreciated by every cyclist in this day of crowded traffic conditions. The operation is by a neat, solid weatherproof switch actuated by the rear brake pedal and requires no attention on the part of the rider.

With new and superb color combinations the “line” effect of the 1936 models is carried out further by the new “Easy-On” gasoline and oil tank filler caps. Larger than ever before, attractively chromed, the new caps form a pleasing addition to the tank ensemble. The filler openings have been increased to take the average filling station hose without marring the tank and still permit the rider to watch the tank level, a most welcome feature that prevents running over due to being unable to see inside the tank with the hose inserted. Another feature of the new tank filler caps is the one-half turn off-one-half turn on, bayonet-type locks. This allows the cap to be locked down without removing heavy driving gloves and means another convenience for the 1936 Indian rider.

Distributor ignition has been brought to motorcycling with the thought in mind of the strenuous demands of today’s high speed engines. The 1936 distributor ignition system runs off the rear cam shaft from a sturdy angle joint and through a solidly built casting up to the automobile type distributor cap that fits snugly between front and rear cylinder. This mode of mounting assures protection from damage in event the machine falls, removes the ignition set-up from any damaging contact with oil and grease and yet retains the feature of instant accessibility. Mounted high, the cap requires but very short high tension leads to the spark plugs, and being encased in a protective metal tube, eliminates short circuiting and power losses.

A modern ignition system must have reliability, a fat hot spark at top engine revolutions, a high output at low speeds for easy starting, safe and-above all-must operate with the least possible current drain from the battery. Indian distributor ignition meets and surpasses all of these requirements.

Obsolete types of battery ignition used breaker boxes, special condensers, special double primary and secondary ignition coils for firing the spark plugs in both cylinders at the same time. Such systems were used to avoid the expense of a high tension distributor. The extra firing of the spark plug in the dead cylinder was wasteful of battery current; half of the output of the overworked coil went to the non-active cylinder. It induced a fire hazard as the inlet valve is open in the retarded spark position and the firing of the plug in this non-active cylinder may ignite the incoming gases, causing a back fire through the carburetor. Special coils were hard to obtain from any source except motorcycle service departments with the attendant danger of being stalled far from adequate service; their double construction asked either one of two things: double battery drain or half current output at the spark plugs.

It was as a corrective for these many ills that distributor ignition came into being. Indian employs a high tension distributor unit to send high tension current to the one spark plug in the firing cylinder only at exactly the proper moment. The new high speed coil is of the single primary and secondary type delivering full current at but half the battery drain of outmoded types. The breaker arm in the system follows out, to the minute, new high speed automotive practice, a light high frequency type of “T” construction which follows the breaker cam at all speeds. The cam proper is of new design, highly polished for minimum wear and is of such design that full time is allowed for the field current to build up in the coil before distribution. The condenser in this new system is of standard capacity as it has but half the work of prior systems which leads to longer life and trouble-free service.

Valve guides were next in line for the attention of Indian engineers; longer life was desirable and therefore it seemed logical that longer life could be achieved only through lubrication. It called for research. It called for many hours in the test room, but lubricated valve guides came. Again simplicity was the objective. They must be lubricated simply, effectively, with freedom from “mess” and must be lubricated positively and without adjustments on the part of the rider. This was accomplished by tiny pipes leading from between the inlet and exhaust valves and out of the cam gear case, leading oil vapor right to the heart of the valve guides themselves, doing their job with no attention, asking for no adjustments and interfering not with any adjustment of the valve tappets.

Today’s higher speeds also called for another change. Lighting must be improved to keep pace with faster road speeds and from the research developed the new high-low beam headlight that sends a white shaft of light boring out through the gloom on either beam. It allows of safer night driving with no danger of blinding an approaching driver and still with no sacrifice of illumination. The new dual beam light means that the burning of one filament does not mean driving without lights that are adequate until a service station is reached and forms another protection for the 1936 Indian pilot.

Dry Sump oiling, despite the high point of perfection it had been brought to, was not neglected. Ever conscious of better performance the Indian pressure oiling system introduced in 1933, has had the efficiency further augmented by increased pump capacity and a new removable screen added to a new sump valve. Nineteen thirty-six Indian motors running at or in the higher speed brackets are flushed by a never-ending stream of cold fresh lubricant that adequately dissipates engine heat. The large capacity pressure pump takes oil from the tank, forces it under heavy pressure, throughout all the bearings where, after remaining but momentarily in the warm crankcase, it is picked up by the extra-capacity scavenging pump and returned to the oil tank for cooling. A tremendous volume of oil passes through the momentary period that the oil remains in contact with heat and is sufficiently offset by the cooling period when traversing down and back through oil lines exposed to cooling breezes.

Some one hundred and nineteen aircraft engines bearing the Department of Commerce approved type certificate signifying that they have passed a 50-hour wide-open test run, are universally cooled and lubricated by the Dry Sump system.

The 1936 Multiple-Row primary drive front chains have been materially increased in size which makes for longer and more trouble-free life. It runs in a cast aluminum oil bath, submerged in oil, adequately protected from wearing grit. It had long been granted by the industry that chain which must run with the short turn of an engine chain over a small front sprocket and at the unduly high speeds, sometimes approximately better than 6000 feet per minute, must have positive lubrication and the utmost protection from dirt and similar abrasives. It was simply one of those things that a motorcycle rider-if building a machine for himself and himself alone and with no thought of expense-would not do. Silence, long life and freedom from chain trouble is the aim of the 1936 oil bath primary chain.

The long trail of research had still another result, two years of piston research. Better pistons and better piston efficiency for better machines was the demand. Stock machine records fell to Indian during 1935. Castonguay and Langhorne and a sport scout clicked off 100 miles at better than 80 miles an hour; Chasteen, Kretz and a pair of sport scouts clipped off a bit of Castonguay’s time and tilted the record to 84 per hour, Rodenburg and Jacksonville accounted for still another win; Jesse James and a scout set a new high for stock machine performance at Daytona Beach and 101 miles per hour. From these tests came knowledge; they were the stiffest grinds that the mind of man could devise. Long distances, grueling competition, abnormal conditions. From the combined results of these came piston knowledge from actual test-the test of the road. The laboratory had furnished their part of the story with unleashed engines running almost free from load at impossible revolutions per minute, from chugging engines, bitterly loaded and deliberately robbed of proper cooling. Now it was the road that took up the job. The laboratory had told what they would stand in heat by devious methods deliberately by created heat; the road now told what they would stand in the way of abuse, heavy running in dust-choked competition, under sustained load, under the severe jamming force of abrupt “buttoning” at high speed.

From the tests came Indian’s new piston for 1936. Pioneering with the silent, cam-ground, T-slot, Indian raised this piston to new efficiency. A thickened head where the abuse is most severe, a scientific beveling of head edges for proper head load distribution, new and ingenious piston rings that give the same even wall friction and stable characteristics of a 3/32-inch wide ring and yet have but the actual wall tension in pounds of the 1/8-inch ring. This has formed a most valuable addition to motorcycle engineering lore. The rings sit square on the ring seat, there is no tendency to “cock” or cant and yet, with the use of this 1/8-inch corner groove ring, performance and long life are assured.

The inside of the new 1936 Indian piston is where the full play of designer’s skill has been given rein; the re-inforcing of the piston pin bosses, the clever, skillful ribbing of the inside in accordance with the particular load that each portion of the piston must bear, the proper wall weights and thicknesses.

The private owner has proved that he can come through when mounted upon good equipment. Indian had built for him the “Y”; heavily flanged cylinders that would not distort under heat; heat treated aluminum cylinder heads that allowed of higher compression ratios and the use of standard gasolines as required by Class “C” rules; large capacious manifolds and all of the things that went with it.

The Special “Y” engine at but the slightest of price increase over the stock machine is offered again. With it is coupled the improved dry sump oiling. With new piston design and the many other factors of 1936, the private owner should go on to greater records in the coming year.

The variety of models to be offered for 1936 includes a newly streamlined Indian Pony, the 30.50 cubic inch piston displacement engine that displays an amazing amount of punch. High operating economy and spectacular performance have long been the features of the Pony. Light in weight, the ideal mount for the feminine rider, the 1936 Pony has been improved in appearance with the addition of sweeping fenders and rakish handlebars. Turning out an honest 70 miles to a gallon of gasoline, delivering spectacular oil mileage through the efficiency of dry sump oiling, one-kick starting and smooth idling furnished by the new distributor ignition, the Pony may well become one of the year’s most popular mounts with the devotees of inexpensive motoring.

The heavy Keystone frame has been cleverly built to furnish the utmost in strength with the minimum in weight while standard equipment of ride control and steering damper means that comfort has been assured to the Nth degree. Safety-an important factor-is paramount in the 1936 Pony. Light weight and the oversize brakes mean a motorcycle that stops on the proverbial dime.

The 1936 Sport Scout is again offered in two models: the Standard 636-B and the 636-MY, the latter series containing the special “Y” power plant. All other factors remain the same in both models.

In the Sport Scout and the Indian Chief is retained the feature of furnishing whatever the rider wants. Both machines are available with either magneto or distributor ignition, standard or special “Y” engines and in a wide variety of colors.

The 1936 Sport Scout follows out the tradition laid down by its illustrious predecessors of superb handling and fleet performance. Smooth riding, easy handling knee action fork, the heavy Keystone frame, smooth sleek lines. Here a nice balance has been struck between weight and strength; weight kept to a minimum for top performance and strength kept to a maximum for rough handling that is demanded of competition mounts. Everything that composes the 1936 Sport Scout is eloquent of this ideal; the heavy, oversize transmission that would do in truck service, the rigid frame, stiffly spoked wheels, wide forks with ample supports, heavy cylinders and a crankcase that is abnormally thick on both sides and bottom-all spell a mount that is built to take it.

The 1936 Indian Chief “74” again offers the widest variety and a machine that will fit every taste. There is distributor or magneto ignition, special “Y” or standard engine, three or four speed transmission and once again the wide color choice. Long of wheelbase, powerful of engine, the 1936 Chief offers plenty in motorcycling. For the rider who wants tops in performance there is the gigantic “74” alloy head engine, there is the long 61½-inch wheelbase, the tremendously strong double bar frame that insures a low center of gravity with splendid handling characteristics and comfort. New beauty has been added with the new stop and tail light that has formed a component part of all the 1936 models, new stamina has been added with the new dry sump oiling and the new piston design and new performance is assured by Indian’s extensive research in advanced engine fields.

Available also in the larger frame of the “74” Chief and designed for the rider who wants the smooth riding of the Chief combined with the economy of the Scout is the Standard Scout “45.” The Standard Scout “45” has stamina and endurance and delivers exceptionally high performance at low cost.

The 1936 Indian Four will be found a superb motorcycle. The engine proper is new from the ribs on the sleek crankcase to the chromium oil reservoirs on the overhead exhaust system.

A novel principle that marks a radical departure from conventional motorcycle practice is evident in the overhead exhaust valve and side intake valve construction. This design allows of the fullest use of the latest research in cylinder head design for proper turbulence and better cooling. It also provides for the newest wrinkle in advanced automotive practice, removable valve seats as the exhaust valve seats on 1936 four may be replaced with a minimum of trouble.

A snugly fitted carburetor feeds into a rake type manifold of latest design, the manifold insuring high gasoline mileage from a motor of 77.21-inch piston displacement and the new carburetor assures splendid acceleration.

Performance has been a keynote in the make-up of Indian’s four-cylinder model for ‘36; a special high-lift camshaft provides a wide and instant opening for generous sized valves; new and higher compression Lynite pistons propelled by the sturdy, five main bearing crankshaft running under heavy oil pressure, provide the necessary push that is held, in turn, by the new centrifugally weighted clutch through the semi-constant mesh transmission out to the back wheel.

The overhead exhaust valve assembly provides a cooling effect in the scavenging of the hot exhaust gases that contributes greatly to the ability of the 1936 four to run at sustained high speeds indefinitely. The centrifugally weighted clutch gives exceptionally low pedal pressure and, at the same time provides adequate tension to hold the tremendous power of the four engine.

An exceptionally high ratio in top gear and the ability to pull a high gear ratio means lessened motor wear due to lessened revolutions per mile. The four, geared 3.93 to 1, is the highest geared standard solo offered today.

Dual chrome plated mufflers blend in harmoniously with the attractive streamlining of the 1936 four.

Advance information to the trade concerning the improvements offered have caused an augmenting of the forces at Indian’s Springfield plant due to heavy buying. It was stated by factory heads that a full crew has been maintained right through the entire season in order to take care of the heavy demand and the anticipation is that 1936, offering new beauty, new improvements and sound engineering based on modern principles, will prove Indian’s greatest year.

The 1936 Indian four, a complete new design and more than ever an aristocrat among motorcycles
Left-Particular pains were taken in the development of the 1936 Indian Chief 74. This job has stood every conceivable test and is favored as a leader in 1936. Right-The light-weight for 1936, the Indian Pony. It is a sturdy.economical and well performing mount
The Indian dry sump oiling system
Top-The primary chain running in an oil bath. Center-Two tank designs for 1936. Bottom-The 1936 Sport Scout
Top-The 1936 Indian T-slot piston. Center-Showing the new tail-light assembly. Bottom-The new distributor located between cylinders and safe from injury, grease and dirt