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What is it? Quiz #447

What is it? Quiz #447

When you have a hard time selling your motorcycles, you can experiment with cars. That was what this company did, when the Model T Ford was cheaper than their bikes. This roadster was the development project of a company not usualy associated with automobiles. In their search for new items to add to their standard product line, they built (or proposed to build), shock absorbers, car window ventilators, outboard motors, refrigerators, aircraft engines and an automobile. The car while conventional in most respects, had an unsual oil cooler (you tell us). And a distintive radiator badge which may, (or may not!) help identify it. The 1929 Stock Market crash ended the cars future, but the company, after several reorganizations, is still (in name at least) in business.

I think it won't be that hard anymore to know what car it is. Therefore, give us all the information you know and you can find (and do this before Monday June 19th), besides the normal make, year etc. and see next week all the answers.

Good luck!


#7 2017-06-18 22:28
Between 1927 and 1929, the "Indian Motocycle Company" built four experimental car prototypes.
The earliest Indian bikes were Royal Blue (black was an option, before it became “Indian Red”) as this two tone 1928 Indian X4 Experimental Roadster shown in the Springfield Museum of Transportation. First of these models (prototypes) they made were fitted with a V2 engine from their motorcycle range later on a Chevrolet or Continental and Lycoming 4 cylinder engine were fitted. The prototypes were called X 1, X 2, X 3 and X 4. This one holds a Lycoming WS 0437 engine.

I'm a three times winner/jury member
#6 2017-06-18 20:10
Indian X4 with Lycoming 60/70 hp WS Lhead 6. Stromberg O type updraft carb;2-3 seat tourer; steel on ash frame; hydraulic clutch and 4 speed gb.Tiffany plate on dash; oil cooler in radiator; 18"wheels. in 1927/28 Indian board asked engineers Diderichs and Peavey to produce prototypes,X1-X4. X1 had Indian Vtwin engine and vibrated to pieces. X2 had a Continental 6,and then a Lycoming engine. D Buldoc owns X2;J leno X3; X4 is in Springfield Museum and was given to Peavey as a leaving gift.
#5 2017-06-18 11:05
This week's mystery is the prototype car "X4" built by the Indian Motocycle Company (yes, the spelling is correct) in Springfield, Massachusetts, probably in 1928-9. What was one of America's longest-established and most successful motorcycle firms doing dabbling in automobiles? With a board shake-up in 1927 an outsider, industrialist Louis J. Bauer, was named as the new President. It was Louis's son Jack, a recently-graduated automotive engineer, who headed the unsuccessful car development team.

X4 survives in the Springfield Museums. Documentation is sparse, but an article in Hemmings Classic Cars (August 2008) ( describes the car and its sisters X1, X2 and X3 in detail. X4 is a small-ish car, but fitted with a spirited 185 ci Lycoming Model WS L-head straight-six. Oil is cooled in the chrome radiator ornamentation.

Both before and after X4 the Indian Motocycle Co. built vehicles that would qualify for a vintage car rally today, albeit motorcycle-based three wheelers. The 1908 tri-car used a pair of handle-bar steered wheels at the front of the motorcycle, with either a passenger seat or tradesman's box mounted between, and the 1930-on "Dispatch Tow" had had a pair of wheels - driven by a differential gear - at the back of the motorcycle.
#4 JohnHentges 2017-06-17 14:46
This car is Indian motorcycle co. prototype X4. Powered by a Lycoming six cylinder 185 ci. 60 HP. Made sometime in 1927 or 1928 it has very few Indian made parts and does not carry the Indian name anywhere. It is the only one to exist.Developement was cancelled late in 1929. The decorative trim running up and down the radiator core is actually an oil cooler.The design of the radiator badge is a mystery today. With a wheelbase of 84.5 inches bodies by Merrimack or Lebaron. Numbered X1 through X4 ,three of these cars exist, but one X4 as pictured.
#3 2017-06-17 10:43
Indian Experemetal Roadster 1929
#2 Ace Zenek 2017-06-17 10:10
Indian X4, 1928 experimental roadster, the last of four cars built, modeled after the Austin Seven, with a Lycoming straight six WS L-head motor, and Stromberg Model O carburetor. Unusually the plating on the radiator was used as a cooling surface for the car's oil. The logo on the radiator badge is a cross on a shield inside a diamond so it is entirely different from the Indian motorcycle badge. On display at the Museum of Springfield [Massachusetts] History. Given to Harold Forrest Peavey as a going-away present in 1929, “Baby” has only had three owners since new.

Not part of my answer:
Jury member.
#1 2017-06-17 04:18
Souds like a 1928 Indian Experimental Roadster X4, made of course in Springfield Ma. by the famous motorcycle company. Lycoming six-cylinder engine, the same as Aububurn had, but with an 85 inch wheelbase and overall at least a size smaller than a Ford Model A.

I am a judge

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