Indian Tadpole

silverbear

The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Jul 9, 2009
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Fasteddy shared this photo he found on the net. Looks familiar! Also appears to be an Indian camelback. I'm guessing this front end with passenger seat must have been an option on more than one model. It would be cool to see a catalog from those early years with descriptions and prices. Thanks, Steve...
SB
 

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silverbear

The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Jul 9, 2009
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Here's an update on the Indian of this thread, what I've been calling a "tadpole". The first photos below show a 1905 model with a trunk up front. Fasteddy learned that these three wheeled Indian was called a Tri-Car. Nice color, too.
The third photo rings all my bells! Fasteddy found it on the internet identified as a 1906 model and said,

"It was an Indian Motorcycle advertising post card that Oscar Hedstrom one of the partners sent to his sister. It was found in a trunk a few years ago by a family member.
I wonder what the fella sitting on the bike must have thought since he may well have been part of the gathering at the Little Big Horn even if just a child and would have remembered the later struggles of his people. Now he is sitting on a motorcycle."
 

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curtisfox

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Dec 29, 2008
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Sure would be nice to find one of them old motors around. I would build one in a hartbeat.Or maybe a little longer I am older now. Would make the rear drive setup easier one wheel out back.............Curt
 

silverbear

The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Jul 9, 2009
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Sure would be nice to find one of them old motors around. I would build one in a hartbeat.Or maybe a little longer I am older now. Would make the rear drive setup easier one wheel out back.............Curt
Yes, It would be interesting to know more about that engine. I was talking to Fasteddy about using a 2 speed E Puch engine from a moped... long like that. On the moped it goes horizontally under the frame. For this it would need to have the frame altered and could go vertical. Being 2 stoke, there wouldn't be any crankcase to worry about. The carb intake would have to be altered. We need to figure out how to fabricate the front end. I still think it would be cool for it to be convertible from a two wheel to the tri-car.
SB
 

curtisfox

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Dec 29, 2008
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Like the Indian it to converts. That Puch would look good that way. What about the gear box does that have to be level?
 

harry76

New Member
Apr 16, 2011
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Wow they are nice bikes or trikes. Did Indian make them like that? If not i wonder when they were modified. Id love to build one, but i dont have a lot of space and they take up the room of 2 bikes :-(
Very very cool idea though!!!!
 

silverbear

The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Jul 9, 2009
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Yes, Indian made them using first the diamond frame (1903)with the camel back gas tank behind the seat and by 1909 offered the tri-car in the newer frame much like a modern worksman newsboy.
These are the bikes that are the inspiration for the tri-cars Fasteddy and I are building this summer. His will use a diamond frame and look something like the earlier model with the camel back gas tank. Mine will be more like the later one with the in frame gas tank. I say "inspired by", meaning "in the spirit of" since there is no way to duplicate an original. Those upright engines I have learned are part of the seat post... the engine forms part of the frame of the bike. We will be using the Villiars like yours as the best we can come up with in keeping with an old time look. Steve is working on the front end assemblies in Canada right now. I've located a diamond frame for him and will use my Worksman for my build. We're pretty excited about it. So the idea is that we will make these convertible, so that they can be two wheeled motorcycles with side cars or tri-cars with two wheels up front. Steve will be here in July and will bring the front end assemblies with him. I'll try to have the engine mounting plates done by the time he gets here so the engines can be bolted in place. Curtis Fox is making up leaf spring front forks for each bike for when it is in two wheeled mode. Once we get going full guns, we'll do a detailed build thread.
SB
 

fasteddy

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Feb 13, 2009
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Harry, that's funny because I was looking at the same bike when your message came up.
Indian built the front end to go on their bikes with different bodies on them.
Since there were few cars and they were expensive. The seat on the front doubled as a car. Put a box on the front and you had a delivery lorry.
The uses were endless really. Take it off and reinstall your forks and you had your motorcycle back.

I'm building the seat to put on the front of mine and I think Silverbear is too. I may build his at the same time I'm building mine since it is as easy to cut two pieces as it is to cut one and I have a wood working shop here at my brothers.

Steve.
 

scotto-

Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder
Jun 3, 2010
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I love those old Indian Tri-Cars and the gas tanks are sweet. The last couple pics in the next to the last post Silverbear look like Tridems with seating for at least 3 people.....thanks for sharing!
 

harry76

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Apr 16, 2011
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Oh man, these are just too cool. I love them and cant wait to see what you come up with. Throw your girl on the front and should there be an accident, they would act like an air bag or crumple zone LOL.
Id never seen thes and glad you shared. Got me thinking
 

fasteddy

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If you'd seen some of my old girl friends you'd understand. They looked like the airbag had already gone off.
They were kinda puffy but they needed love too. LOL

Steve.
 
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silverbear

The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Jul 9, 2009
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northeastern Minnesota
Scotto,
Yes, you could take the neighborhood for a ride with that one and it would need a twin cylinder, no doubt.
Harry & Fasteddy,
I believe we are witnessing the original "hair bag" safety device... a kind of organic crumple zone. Let her jabber up there... can't hear anyway with the engine under you and if it gets too bad then you just... "oops" into a rose bush (I got you some flowers, dear) or stop real fast at the edge of the pond (thought you might be thirsty). Ha!
SB
 

fasteddy

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Feb 13, 2009
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Got the metal cut and sandblasted and now the first piece is marked out as to where it should be cut {I hope}. I've made extras just incase.

I'm off to figure out how to get the photos from the camera to the the posts and then no one is safe.

Steve.
 

fasteddy

Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2009
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Indian Tri-car Build pictures by speedydick - Photobucket

Didn't have much luck figuring out how to get some of the photos on here but I'll keep looking. I know it's here some where.
I went back to my old pal Photobucket and unloaded some there.

I'm using side rails from an old tent trailer that I cut up years ago and stashed the pieces. I cut off the lengths I needed and sandblasted them. Yes I am a lucky ***** to have the tools but then I had to wait until I retired to afford them.

Tomorrow it's off first thing to get the saw blades that I forgot today and i'll put some more photos on about where I am on the steering project.
I'm ordering premade go kart spindles I think. I trust their welding far more than mine.

Steve.