LOS ANGELES — We all know Harley-Davidson won one of the most renowned grudge matches of the last century up against Indian Motorcycles, but the 21st Century is still up for grabs.
A new exhibit showcasing the rivalry between American motorcycle manufacturers Harley-Davidson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Indian (originally Hendee Manufacturing Company) of Springfield, Massachusetts, rolls into the Petersen Automotive Museum this weekend.
Vintage motorcycles, scooters, minibikes, and trikes are featured and showcase the similarities and major differences between the two brands. Harley-Davidson still builds motorcycles in the U.S. and abroad for over a century. Since 2011, Indian has been owned by Polaris Industries and builds its motorcycles in Iowa.
It’s an interesting show that is crammed into the Richard Varner Family Gallery of the museum. Considering the square footage of the Petersen, more space between the motorcycles would have been optimal, but the show is still certainly worth a look for history and biker fans.
Two of the show’s highlights are the oldest bikes in the exhibit, a 1902 Indian Camelback and a 1908 Harley-Davidson Model 4.
Both machines look more like bicycles with small engines than motorcycles, but it is easy to see the differences between the two makers.
The blue Indian Camelback was named for the hump-shaped fuel tank and shows the company’s founder George Hendee’s early penchant for building bikes with a lot of flair.
Harley’s Model 4 with its gray strap tank represents William Harley and Arthur Davidson’s dedication to durability and practicality.
Other highlights in the show include a a 1920 Harley-Davidson Board Track Racer, 1925 Indian (Altoona) Hillclimber, 1939 Indian Sport Scout, 1939 Harley-Davidson Model El (Knucklehead), 1946 Indian Chief, and a 1958 Harley-Davidson XLK Sportster.
There are a number of other gems in the show and a few duds too like the 1963 Harley-Davidson Topper — the only scooter built by H-D.
Check out the gallery below to see our favorites. The exhibit continues at the Petersen Museum through early February 2018.