Some antique motorcycles like the Indian inline four age really well, their design looks great even decades after their time, but, if you’ve ever noticed the few that come up for sale, the combination of rare and desirable means they’re not cheap.
That was a problem for Mads B.H. Johnsen, a Danish architect who, after 10 years of riding a Nimbus, decided it was finally time for an Indian of his own, but who has that kind of money? Right about here, most riders would give up on their dream, but Mads isn’t like most riders, so instead of trying to buy one, he decided to build one, or something reasonably close to it, using a few original parts and pieces, but for quite a bit of it, including the engine, he went his own way, scrounging things where available, but making and adapting a lot of what he needed and if you aren’t that familiar with Indian fours, you might not know that this isn’t the real thing.
The frame is part Indian, with a bit of Nimbus and a bit of workshop engineering. The engine is the venerable NSU air cooled four, the same engine used in the Munch Mammut. It has an aluminum block and cast iron cylinders and displaces 996cc. The gearbox is a Nimbus 4 speed. The front brake is Indian, the rear from a Nimbus, Bosch handles the electrics. Now all he had to do was fit everything together and add the visual cues that would set it apart.
Mads fell back on the tried and true art of metal casting to conjure up the needed parts. The finned sump cover on the bottom of the engine cast from his own design. The clutch housing and adapter for the gearbox were also cast, and like the sump cover, required a LOT of hand finishing. The gorgeous tanks are also cast aluminum, again, fitted and finished by hand. The project took something like eight years to complete.
The end result has the appearance of a classic vintage ride, and though it never rolled off of any assembly line, looks like it did and then made its way to the present day in the hands of an owner who kept it in top condition. I like this a lot.
Thanks for the tip, Kim!