Oldest Known U.S. Made Motorcycle To Be Auctioned April 21, 2012

It is supposed to be the oldest unrestored motorcycle made in the US, the only known 1903 Indian. Steve Rinker, who runs Buck’s Indian, an Indian motorcycle restoration firm in Romney, explains: “The handful of 1902 Indian models that were built were deconstructed, their parts used to build the 1.75-horsepower 1903 models. And as far as we know, this is the only unrestored.””Except for a few nuts and bolts used for early repairs, this bike is all original,” added Josh Ruby, the auctioneer entrusted with selling the motorcycle in Western Maryland on April 21 for the Alder Jr.’s estate.

After hanging on a dentist’s wall for 30 years, it has been stowed in a garage and then a basement. Multiple pre-1930 Indian and Harley Davidson motorcycles – and even a side car – will accompany the 1903 model on the auction block. The auction will also include 1940’s automobiles, World War II memorabilia, and antique railroad items – over 900 lots of collectible antiques in all. Online bidding is available via Proxy Bid. Print-resolution pictures of the 1903 Indian and other bikes, as well as a scan of a 1903 Indian motorcycle owner’s manual, are available upon request. Josh Ruby is available for interview at (301) 748-2924 or josh@wolfeauctions.com, and Steve Rinker is available for interview at (304) 822-7581 or rinkerindian@frontiernet.net. Descriptions of each motorcycle are available at Wolf Auctions.

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9 Responses to “Oldest Known U.S. Made Motorcycle To Be Auctioned April 21, 2012”


  1. 1 courtney Apr 14th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Now that just awesome.

  2. 2 BobS Apr 14th, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I wonder if Polaris will bid on it.

  3. 3 Attila Apr 15th, 2012 at 7:29 am

    As far as auction websites go, referring to Wolf’s as lackluster is a compliment.

  4. 4 DanD Apr 15th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    A piece of Art from the past… wish I could hang that on my wall… Love It !!

  5. 5 izadore007 Apr 15th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I am wondering if the KIWI Boys will use the Change Machine at Publix to buy this Piece of History. It could really Change their Image and make them the talk of the Motorcycle Business, old and new and Auction and all the Shows. For real, great Idea. I wish they thought so! What about it Mike and the Boys?

  6. 6 The Vintagent Apr 16th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Well, the oldest US-made motorcycles actually sits in the Smithsonian, and it was built in 1865! Sylvester Roper…what a clever fellow.
    This machine may be the oldest known Indian, but I’m always skeptical of such claims, especially from auction houses…

  7. 7 Ryan George Apr 16th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I spoke with the auctioneer about the authenticity of the claims at being the oldest US-manufactured bike, and this is what he wrote me:
    “This is the first production motorcycle by the oldest American manufacture[r.]“

  8. 8 Lyle Apr 16th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I seem to recall a 1900 oir maybe 1901 Metz being auctioned a few years ago. At any rate, Indian was not the first American manufacturer.

  9. 9 PFJohns Apr 17th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    In addition to the 1868/69 Roper steam velocipede, the Smithsonian also has a 1902 Indian, serial # 150.

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