By Charles Fleming
6:00 AM PDT, March 10, 2013
America's oldest motorcycle company unveiled its newest engine Saturday night at the Daytona Bike Week celebration in Florida, and it's big.
Really big. In celebration of the company's 112-year-old legacy, it's an 111-cubic-inch engine. With 115 foot-pounds of torque.
The massive V-twin power plant will become the "heartbeat of upcoming, all new 2014 Indian motorcycles." So far, the company isn't saying what that motorcycle is.
For now, the only machine being driven by the giant Thunder Stroke is the Spirit of Munro, a brand new speed racer named after legendary Burt Munro, who in 1967 set the all-time land speed record for a motorcycle under 1000cc. Burt hit 183.586 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flat riding a customized 1920 Indian Scout. (His triumph was re-enacted by Anthony Hopkins in the 2005 film "The World's Fastest Indian.") The Spirit was designed by Jeb Scolman, of the Long Beach fabricator Jeb's Metal and Speed.
The engine was built in Osceola, Wisc., and will be attached to motorcycles in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in factories operated by Polaris Industries -- the relatively new owner of the very old motorcycle company. Polaris bought Indian in 2011. The 2013 Indian Chief Final Edition, revealed at last year's Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, was the last of the company's motorcycles to be assembled at the Kings Mountain, N.C., facility. All future Indians will be built at Spirit Lake.
Folks from Polaris have hinted that the 2014 line will be filled with forward-looking variations on the historic line, with models aimed at segments of the motorcycle market that haven't purchased Indians before.
Some of them, it appears, will be running Thunder Stroke engines.
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