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I drove my Merc over to the mini car show for a local Firestone dealer. Just a few storefronts down the street I kept seeing some bikes pull up. There was an old time motorcycle parts/accessory store located there. Here are some pics.

BTW, what is the history on the right hand shift?
 

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BTW, what is the history on the right hand shift?[/QUOTE]

Indian's initial thinking was to make it a natural change-over from automobile operation. They thought it would make operation the same as most american-made automobiles at the time - right hand shifted, left foot clutch, and give them an edge in sales.

At the time, both Harley and Indian were fighting with Ford for sales. Ford's Model T took a big chunk out of motorcycle sales as cheap transportation, especially the sidecar equiped cycles. A Model T could be had for less than a sidecar rig, and you had the benefit of more room, and a top.

Some people will tell you it was to attract police departments, so they could keep their left hand on the throttle while they drew and fired their pistol right handed. Both Indian and Harley throttles at that time stayed where you rolled them open to, so you could still remove your right hand from a Harley throttle, and draw your pistol right handed. How many rolling gunfights riders of either brand were involved in were probably small in numbers.

If I remember the year right, it wasn't until the 1947 models that Indian offered a factory option of ordering a RH or LH shift location, but it was an easy conversion to do before that, and a lot were.

Harley offered a LH throttle/RH shift on the Servicars. The factory literature I've seen for the police models shows a picture of meter maid idling along with a long chalk stick holder in her right hand, marking tires for parking violations.
 

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Isn't Steve McQueen's Indian "lefty"?
Actually...while we're on the subject does anyone have any info on his bike?
All I could find on line was one kind of crummy picture from the museum it (I guess) sits in.
Thanks.
 

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Richie said:
Isn't Steve McQueen's Indian "lefty"?
Actually...while we're on the subject does anyone have any info on his bike?
All I could find on line was one kind of crummy picture from the museum it (I guess) sits in.
Thanks.
The white one? That's a '47, but it's a RH shifter.

That was one of McQueen's favorite bikes. When he wanted to get "lost", that's the bike he took. He kept the bedroll on there so people would just think he was just traveling thru, and not pay much attention to the guy riding it.

Yeah Mike, Jesse had it for awhile, but now it's up at J&P's National Motorcycle museum in Anamosa, IA. I have a picture of me sitting on that bike, around midnight, deep inside the bowels of WCC, from a few years ago. McQueen was always one of my heros, so that was a real trip.
 

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Thanks for the info Rich!

It must have been pretty heavy sitting on his bike.....
The Thomas Crown affair was filmed in Boston & one day (back when I had free time) I walked all around the city taking in the filming locations....every now and then I'd get that wierd chill that comes about.

He's definately one of my heros as well.......
 
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