The oldest Indian at Classic Motorcycle Mecca

28th February 2024

The oldest Indian motorcycle in the Classic Motorcycle Mecca collection, the 1907 Indian Camelback is distinctive in its appearance, with its hump-shaped tank, mounted behind its seat.

Originally it was designed to hold both fuel and oil, however, from 1906 onwards the tank was used to hold only fuel. 

For a long time, the Camelback symbolized the look and style of the Indian brand, one of the first American motorcycles.

Co-founded by Oliver Hendee and Oscar Hedström, the first prototype Indian motorcycle was produced in 1901.

The two men were renowned in the industry – Hendee a successful bicycle racer, who had originally established Hendee Manufacturing Company to manufacture “Silver King” bicycles in 1889.

Hedström was an engineer, whose skills were believed to be the reason Indians were so structurally sound and reliable in the early years.

Together, the pair not only built the Indian brand but established it as a leader in competition, with Hendee winning the first American endurance race from Boston to New York in 1902. Hedström also rode one to set a new world speed record of 90 kph (56 mph) in 1903.

The 1907 Indian Camelback featured a single-cylinder, inlet-over-exhaust, 19.3ci (316cc), 2.25hp engine that was a Hedström design with a top speed of 48 kph (30 mph).

This transpired into market success, with Indian commanding a 40% market share in the years leading up to the First World War.

Its success means it is one of the significant bikes on display in our extensive collection at Classic Motorcycle Mecca.

Keen to see it for yourself – make sure to book your tickets today.