Indian Motorcycle Restoration – A Labor of Love

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For Barry Teller, the recipe for a labor of love involves an engine with three speeds, 300 hours of work and approximately 1,500 moving parts.
   Four years ago, Teller received a 1937 Indian Sport Scout motorcycle packed in “many boxes,” after agreeing to take on the restoration project for a friend in Ohio in memory of his brother.
   As Teller looked over the motorcycle, he said, some of the parts inside the boxes or connected to the Sport Scout were wrong. And that is when he was determined to set out and restore the Depression-era motorcycle faithfully to its original look.
   The motorcycle, manufactured by the Indian Motorcycle Co. from 1934 to 1942, was smaller than the Chief model, Teller said, and was “a little more affordable.” The motorcycle Teller restored was purchased from the original owner’s family in the 1960s, and has been in pieces for many years.
   Teller said he scoured the nation looking for original or faithfully reproduced parts. “They’re hard to come by,” Teller said of suitable parts for the motorcycle.
   Although Teller has restored other motorcycles and mechanical items, taking on the Indian Sport Scout was mostly “for the challenge of the project.”
   While working on the Indian, Teller said he was told by a few seasoned restorers that the Sport Scout is “one of the hardest to restore.”
   “It was nerve-wracking at times,” he said. But he didn’t go at it completely alone. Another friend painted the motorcycle, while a pinstriping contact from Ohio took on the 10-hour project of applying the gold linear highlights.
   Because of its insured value — $30,000 to $40,000 — Teller said, the recipient of the motorcycle requests anonymity.
   Before packing the motorcycle for its trip south, Teller test-rode the vintage wheels through the neighborhood, but because he is used to riding only “conventional” motorcycles, his travel in nostalgia was brief. “It operates and rides differently,” he said.
   Last week, the motorcycle made its trip “home,” where it will likely be stored in a private, museum-like setting. And that is fine with Teller. “It’s like a work of art,” he said about the restored motorcycle.

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