Indian Patrol Vol 2
by Jim Garrett
There is no factory information that I have found yet, only a few sales brochures which give some technical info. I do have a few factory/period pictures. I have only before pictures presently of mine. I am hoping to have the restorations finished in a few months and will take assembly and final photos then.
Patrols are quite rare. I have been told by several knowledgeable people that only about 50 were made 1952-53. They are supposedly the last VT’s produced. I have been cataloging serial numbers of existing bikes and motors and the highest number I have found so far is #41, so that gives credibility to the 50 production total. I have found 7 mostly complete bikes and believe I know where there is another. Additionally, I have found 6 engines and 1 frame front section. These bikes were not very good when new, didn’t hold up, and apparently were cannibalized after self destructing. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot more engines and frames can be found. I bought my first Patrol, a 1953 model in 1956. It was a NJ Police Dept trade to a Harley dealer for something more reliable. I sold it in 1960. The Patrol pictured below is me on that bike around 1958.
The Patrol is an interesting hybrid. I am documenting things I learn about how existing VT, Chief and even some Indian 4 parts were factory utilized or modified to produce the bike. The rear end and transmission are from a Crosley car and rear brakes are Studebaker. I originally thought the design was hastily put together to fill the balance of a large trike order (around 25 bikes) from the NYPD in 1951. The Dispatch Tow was resurrected and I think the total production was 7, of which about 4 are known to remain.
The Patrol was supplied for the balance. I learned something interesting a few weeks ago that may indicate the Patrol was in the experimental stage well before that. The starter was supplied by AutoLite and is specifically for the Patrol. It fits nothing else. The serial number code on the tag indicates a 1948 manufacture date. The date code on the generator also is a 1948 date. I have to give that some thought to come up with a reasonable speculation.
For example, early Patrols (don’t know any serial number ranges, maybe the first 5 bikes) used the standard 149/249 speedometer. After that, it was changed. The speedometer bracket was modified by having the lower front edge milled off a standard 149/249 bracket so it could be mounted in a machine to bore the speedo hole larger and off center, then an adaptor ring was brazed in the hole, reducing the diameter so a smaller Stewart Warner speedo would fit (same speedo used in a Harley Davidson 125 except no Harley logo). This was a 0-50 mph speedo (Patrols wouldn’t go faster) and less expensive than the 149/249 speedo. An external speedo light was placed on the lower left of the speedo to light the face. Of the 4 bolts used to hold a standard bracket to the top triple tree, the Patrol had the outer 2 bolt holes enlarged; rubber grommets installed and slotted shoulder bolts used to give the effect of vibration dampening. It appears this style of speedometer and bracket was used until the last Patrol was built.