Tuesday, March 04, 2008


More unusual motorcycles...believe it or not, this is a Period Special. It was built sometime before 1924 here in the Bay Area, by a machinist named Bill Arnold, who worked for the Friden Calculator Co of San Leandro.

The bike consists of two 1915 Indian Powerplus engines, united by a shaft between the two cranks, and running on a single inlet manifold with a Shebler carburetor. All the running gear is standard for the 1916 model year Indian Powerplus, but the petrol tank has been widened to help cover up the engine. It uses two Bosch magnetos.

There is some suggestion that Mr Arnold may have used the machine to race at the Elmhurst or Emeryville Board Tracks (ah, long gone now), but I find this a little suspect as the extra weight of the engines would have strained the lightweight cycle parts to the limit, as well as the clutch and gearbox. I would presume that it was used as a mighty road special, and certainly qualifies as an early Hot Rod.
The family story relates that the Twindian was worn out by 1929, and laid up for the next 55 years in the family's yard, along with 'an acre' of other junk, motorcycles, trucks, and a Tucker car. At some time in the 1960's, Mr Arnold's son Bob (owner of the Cycle Stop in Oakland) fired the bike up, much to the consternation of the father. And thus it sat, until the death of Mr Arnold in 1986, and the subsequent desire of his widow to remove said acre of metal.

A family friend, Doug King, helped sort out the mess, and ended up with the Twindian to care for. He had it restored between 1989 and 2003, and although he hasn't ridden it yet, the sound of the motor is likened to a Ford flathead engine. I think that's Doug in the bottom photo.

Dan Pereyra sent me two photos of this bike (the top and engine close-up), and I was so intrigued that it was built 'in the day' that I did a little research on the web. There is a short article with photos on Indianmotorbikes.com
(yes, it should be 'motobikes', to use proper Indian speak). The bike had it's debut outing at the very first Legends of the Motorcycle Concours, but there wasn't much info about the machine on the card... even though I had seen the bike at the show, I spent little time with it, amidst all the Broughs and Crockers which were on display that year. Funny how an email photo of one particular bike can focus my attention.

I think the Twindian would have looked fabulous if left 'as found', but it's still an impressive motorcycle.

1 comment:

occhiolungo said...

I was told that it was Stan Dishong himself who restored the Twindian