Franklin's Indians: Irish motorcycle racer Charles B Franklin, designer of the Indian Chief (2nd edition)

Franklin's Indians: Irish motorcycle racer Charles B Franklin, designer of the Indian Chief (2nd edition)

By: Harry Havelin (author), Timothy Pickering (author), Liam Diamond (author), Harry V. Sucher (author)Paperback

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The Indian has been the iconic image for American big V-Twins down the years, due in no small measure to the motorcycles designed by Charles B Franklin - the Indian Scout and the Indian Chief. Charles Franklin was born and raised in Ireland where he quickly became involved in motorcycle racing during the pioneer years. He rapidly established himself as Ireland's first big star of racing and was the first to represent Ireland in international motorcycle competition. In the Isle of Man TT he consistently finished in the top eight, and in 1911 claimed second place, a remarkable achievement in itself. But it was when he moved to Indian in the USA, where he became the Chief Design Engineer, that his genius really flowed. His designs catapulted Indian back into the forefront of motorcycle design in the 1920s and '30s and his racing engines and motorcycles won much glory for Indian against stiff opposition. Franklin introduced remarkable improvements in sidevalve combustion chamber design that pre-dated the work of Ricardo. He championed an holistic approach that popularised new features such as the semi unit-construction `powerplant', helical-gear primary drive, double-loop full-cradle frames and a host of other improvements to the early motorcycles. This book not only chronicles his life but also sheds much new light on the history of Indian motorcycles and the often turbulent times of the Indian Motorcycle Company itself. A much needed book for all Indian fans and all who love the history of the classic American V-Twins.

About Author

Harry V Sucher first began researching the history of Indian motorcycles in the 1930s when still a teenager in California. A veterinarian by profession and life-long motorcyclist by passion, he was the first to take a scholarly approach to documentation of America's motorcycling history. He personally interviewed Indian personalities like Frank Weschler, Thomas Callaghan Butler, and Helen Hedstrom-Carlson and he drew upon these sources for his seminal work The Iron Redskin. His recollections provided the Franklin's Indians book project with a last remaining living link to Franklin's contemporaries at the Wigwam in the production era. Dr Sucher passed away not long before the first edition of this book went to print. -- In 1980s New Zealand Tim Pickering's evolving motorcycling thought processes were leading him away from Japanese bikes to the classic heavyweight v-twins, but he really didn't want a Harley and was searching for one of the 1930s British vees like a BSA G15 or Matchless Model X. It was the late Norman Hayes of Invercargill, a fast-pedalling associate of the famous Burt Munro, who advised him "Get an Indian - they have race-bred motors, and parts are easier to find than for a Honda!" This was the start of a quest which ultimately yielded a '25 Chief and a '44 Chief, and a strong curiosity to know more about these bikes' enigmatic designer. Tim's internet searches soon intersected with those of Liam Diamond, and a book project was born. Working from opposite sides of the world, they have yet to meet each other face to face. -- Growing up in the 1960's Liam Diamond's father sometimes would talk about the great Irish heroes from down the ages. One of these names was Charles Franklin and his exploits at the Isle of Man TT races. When Liam went to a new school in 1969 there was only one book in the library on motorcycles. The centre pages which were in colour featured a 1930 Indian Scout 101, and down at the bottom of the page was written 'Designed by Irishman Charles Bayly Franklin'. This was the first time Liam had viewed a 101 and he thought it the most beautiful machine he'd ever seen! Liam realised this man Franklin must have been an exceptional individual, and decided to find out as much as he could about him. Since this book was completed Liam came to own a 101 Scout of his own. It's now been sold because he's eyeing up a post-war Chief, which proves that once you own a 1901-1953 Indian you can't get any better; only bigger! -- Harry Havelin is a native of Ireland, born and raised in Dublin. He has been a staunch follower of motorcycle sport for 52 years - since May 1965. He regularly attends all of the road races in Ireland each season, and goes each year to the Isle of Man for the TT Races in June and the Classic TT Races in August. He has done extensive research on the history of motorcycle sport in Ireland, and contributed to numerous publications over the years. It was the late great Stanley Woods who recommended to Harry that he should find out as much as possible about the racing career of Charles Franklin who, in Woods' view, was Ireland's first great Irish motorcycling competitor.


Acknowledgements Foreword Why a book about Charlie Franklin? The First Great Irish Motorcycling Competitor Prologue Birth, ancestry and upbringing Ireland in Franklin's day First motocycle In competition at the dawn of motoring From International Cup to Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Indian gets noticed in Britain Brooklands track 1911 - an Indian summer Charles Franklin - Indian's man in Dublin Franklin goes to America Franlkin's competition career summary American Motorcycle Designer Springfield in 1916 Settling in at Indian Powerplus and Light Twin US motorcycle competition up to 1919 Indian Scout - the marvel of motorcycle engineering Harley vs Indian wars 1919-1922 Side-valve genius Chief engineer Out on a hight note - Indian in British competition 1920-1923 Indian Chief - a heavy-duty plugger Overhead valve racer experimentation Indian Prince - the personal motor Scout Forty-Five and the overhead valve hill-climb motors Weird scenes at the Wigwam The immortal 101 Scout Modernisation for the `thirties Illness and death Franklin's motorcycling legacy Appendix Epilogue Bibliography Notes Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781787112230
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 352
  • ID: 9781787112230
  • ISBN10: 1787112233
  • edition: 2nd edition

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