A 1949 Indian Roadmaster makes it back on the road.

With a little help from Wendell Noble and an assist from Fred Gonet

For as long as I have known him, my friend and neighbor, Dallan Baker, has owned an all original 1948 Indian Roadmaster motorcycle. That’s at least 30 years and I only recall seeing him ride it once. When he recently mentioned that he wanted to sell, I found it merely interesting. I’m not a motorcycle guy so the thought of buying it didn’t immediately spring to mind. I did ride a little motorcycle briefly in the ‘70s but I gave it up. Unfortunately, I was going around a corner at the time. However, the idea of owning this wonderful piece of motoring history did gnaw at me. I finally made him an offer which I thought was reasonable and better than any offer he had had at the time. We are both very happy with the results.

1949 indian roadmaster motorcycleIt’s great to acquire something like that which comes with plenty of provenience information. The first owner, who bought it new in the Springfield, Vermont area, put 194 miles on it before he took a spill and then put it in his bedroom for the next 10 years. Dallan, who was 18 at the time, bought it from the deceased owner’s estate in 1958. He rode it regularly until he went into the service a couple of years later. We don’t know the actual amount of mileage on it now because the speedometer drive gear has been broken for a while. The odometer now reads 5,413 miles. Owning it is one thing, learning to ride it is another. Wendell Noble

Editor’s notes…… A nice phone conversation with Dallan Baker uncovered a few other details in the life of this Indian. Asked if he had ever taken a spill on the bike, Dallan recalled a day when he was a passenger while his cousin was slowing down on wet pavement to enter his driveway. A little too much rear brake was applied and they went down. He recalled how his cousin jumped up, pulled the bike back on its tires and quickly pushed the Indian into the garage. All the time leaving Dallan lying, unhurt, in the middle of the road. He guessed he might have put 15,000 miles on the bike, with his longest ride being the 300 miles from Arlington to Essex and back one day many years ago. He had done very little to the bike during the time he owned it. The seat was changed to allow room for a passenger. Before that, the passenger sat on a blanket on the fender rack with one foot resting on the kick starter and the other on a part of the frame….that was where he was when his cousin hit the rear brake too heavy. He also said because the bike had sat for 10 years when he bought it, the engine compression was very low. He had the engine overhauled with new rings and etc.

Dallan Baker's 1949 indian roadmasterAnd where does VAE’er Fred Gonet of Proctorsville fit into all this? Soon after Wen-dell purchased the Indian, Fred got word and was anxious to make his way North to see it…..he has this huge “thing” for Indian motorcycles. In the mean time Wendell and Dal-lan had spent some time unsuccessfully getting the bike to run. Fred did come North and found the main culprit was a bum condenser and the bike was soon making it’s beautiful sound.

The bike controls are…. Left hand throttle, right hand spark, left foot clutch and right foot brake. When asked, Fred explained how to stop at an intersection with your left foot occupied and not tip over. It goes like this….You hold the brake with your right foot, the clutch with you left foot and keep the bike from tipping over with your

1948 indian roadmasterThe Indian Chief, built in Springfield, Massachusetts by the Hendee Manufacturing Co. and the subsequent Indian Motocycle Co. from 1922 to the end of the company’s production in 1953.

The Chief was Indian’s “big twin”, a larger, more powerful motorcycle than the more agile Scout used in competition and sport riding.

Engine is a four-stroke 42 degree V-twin, 1210 cc, 40HP. Top speed 85MPH.

Transmission, 3-speed hand shift, chain final drive.

Suspension, girder fork, weight 550 lbs., fuel capacity 3.7 gal., new price, $800 without sidecar.

A Good Mechanic Is Hard to Find

On St. Patrick‘s Day 2009, my man arrived on the scene and after I over-did myself, yesterday (March 17th). It was such a great weather day. A sudden stroke of good luck came my way in the morning when my ‘61 Triumph TR3A‘s electrical wizard called to say that if we could get my TR up to his shop, about three miles from here, he’d do a few things that have been nagging me. However, before that could happen he would have to diagnose why my Triumph wouldn’t start. I had experienced difficulty last November in attempting to start it one last time before “hibernation”.
On the fateful day, after keeping the starter engaged for a spell, all power suddenly died.

On St. Patrick‘s Day 2009, my man arrived on the scene and after checking all known electrical suspects, discovered the clamp on the positive ground terminal had corrosion. How embarrassing, especially for yours truly who prides himself on maintaining a clean engine compartment and a spotless battery. So he cleaned the terminal and then gave me the ?thumbs up?. After a few tries, the engine kicked over and ran quite smoothly. It seemed to run a tad better after he reconnected a spark plug wire we‘d over looked. Oops!

Needless to say I was jubilant as I never, in my wildest dreams, ever expected to get a technician to work on my Lucas Space Ship in the middle of Sugarin‘ Season. Never. But here he was.

So then I noticed the red dash light indicating perhaps a ?charging? problem. Right away he suggested that it was less than two years ago that he installed a new generator for me. Yep, he was right. June of ‘07.
Red light or no red light, he felt I could easily ?nurse? the ailing Tri-umph up to his shop, only about three miles. Trouble was, I did this . . . with the top down! Bad move, Fred! Lungs objected. Yep, it‘s been a rough two months of the new year!

About three years ago, Steve Miracle had replaced the complete wiring harness in the TR as well as performing work since, like installing a new starter and later the new generator, in ’07. Once inside his comfortable shop (with two double bays) he confirmed it was a faulty generator and immediately phoned Moss Motors, from whence the genera-tor had been purchased. The best news of the day was that their records indicated that the warranty on the ’07 generator was still valid. So he ordered a replacement along with a new emergency brake cable and we were off and running. Well, only a figure of speech, you know! Later the same day, the defected generator was shipped back to Moss Motors as part of the exchange.

It took less than 24 hours for the shipment to arrive at my door-step. Picked up by Steve the following morning, the car was completed and back in my garage by noon on Thursday (March 19). That included some welding to correct an e-brake cable guide attached to the frame! Oh yes, he is licensed to do State Inspections, too.

I may have mentioned him to a few of you before. He’s a expert on building and/or converting hybrid gas-electric vehicles to all electric. His name is reflective of what I believe him to be, i.e., a miracle! Steve Miracle is a good friend of Steve Skinner, Les’ son. In fact it was Steve Skinner that initially steered me in Steve Miracle’s direction.

But what Steve doesn’t know about electric/battery-powered vehicles isn’t worth knowing, or so I became convinced. He gave me a ride home in a Toyota Echo that he had earlier converted from gas to all electric. Last Fall he converted a customer‘s Honda Insight gas/electric hybrid to all electric. Over the last several years he’s been awarded contracts to work with E-Vermont on electric-powered vehicles to determine their worthiness in Vermont weather. He is a one of a kind, as far as I can observe.
Anyone considering a new Chevy Volt?

But back to more conventional power plants. Right now he’s re-building a Porsche 356 engine for a customer having completed the work on the TR. A ?70s something ?clean as a thistle? SAAB awaits his mechanical expertise next. Purchased off e-Bay for around $300, it is destined for Steve‘s soon-to-be 16 year old daughter.
The good news is that he‘s available to work on your car preferring British, German, Italian, and Swedish marques of recent vintage.
You can reach Steve Miracle at 802-223-3524. Shop is in E. Montpe-lier just off the County or Center Roads. Skilled, competent, trustworthy and a no-nonsense type of individual, Steve is definitely my type of professional.

Welcome to Spring, fellow enthusiasts!

Kenneth F. Gypson

North Greenbush — Kenneth F. Gypson, 79 died suddenly Thursday, August 19, 2004 at his residence. Born in Albany, he was the son of the late Lowell H. Gypson and Janet (Dyer) Gypson. He was the loving husband of 56 years to Anne (Gutkowski) Gypson. He had resided in North Greenbush for 45 years and was a graduate of Milne High School in Albany and Pratt Art Institute in NYC. Mr. Gypson was employed as a communications officer for Key Corp. Holding Company in Albany for ten years, retiring in the late 70s. Prior to that he worked for the Burlington Daily News, Knickerbocker News and founded the public relations departments at Hudson Valley Community College and Samaritan Hospital. Ken was a former member off the Kiwanis Club of Troy and a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Active in antique auto circles, he founded the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts in 1953 and was a past president. A Gypson Trophy is still presented annually. Ken was co-founder and past president of the Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley. He was also a member of Atlantic Coast Old Timers, a vintage racing organization and Slow Spokes, a vintage car-touring group. He was an Army Infantry veteran of W.W.II, stationed in Italy and North Africa. Ken had a deep love of music, especially Hawaiian, and played several instruments. He actively participated in the Poestenkill jam group. Survivors in addition to his wife include a son Kenneth J. (and his wife Nancy) of Poestenkill, a daughter, Karen J. Patten (and her husband Davis) of Brunswick, and two grandsons, Joshua and Seth Gypson. He was predeceased by a brother, Lowell Gypson, II.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Disabled American Veterans
Gift Processing Ctr
P. O. Box 14301
Cincinnati, OH 95250-0301

The Heine-Velox in Hemmings – Motoring Moment

It might be assumed that many old car “enthusiasts” probably see, and at least scan, Hemmings Motor News on a fairly regular basis. You may have caught the ad in the July issue on the top of page 501. Some person at a ten-digit phone number was offering a Heine-Velox for sale. The ad says it’s a 1921, 148” wheelbase, one of five made and it is “to restore”. He’ll trade for pre-war cars or trucks. Interesting ad. Heine-Velox – it sounded familiar somehow but how?

1921 Heine-VeloxMemory (senior moments aside) and some research recalled that the Heine-Velox was an early example of hydraulic brakes by Lockheed and probably why the name was a little familiar. Sort of like Rickenbacker, Jordan and some other early “juice brake people”.

But – the Heine-Velox story itself is really a lot more interesting than Lockheed brakes. It seems like the Heine Piano Company of San Francisco was doing well in 1903 when its owner got the car bug and became one of the first Ford dealers on the west coast.
In 1904 he added “Queen” to his agency and announced that he would build a car of his own design as well. In the next couple of years he planned cars priced from four to eight thousand dollars (what were his Fords selling for I wonder?) Actually he did manage to build and sell a few of the less expensive ones – and planned a big production run of 50 cars for late 1906… now called the Heine-Velox.

God stepped in and the great San Fran earthquake wiped out his plant, production and plans. The piano factory was lost as well and Mr. Heine went back to the key product, rebuilding the piano factory but having set aside his auto interests.

Time passed and it was now 1921. The Heine-Velox returned. This time it was no Ford or Queen… or even the earlier Heine-Velox. The new version was a 12 cylinder by Weidely to Heine specifications on a huge 148” wheelbase. Not only big… but this was an expensive car. The sport model was priced at $17,000 with the custom built versions priced up to $25,000! Wow – this was 1921 and the US was struggling with post war depression. According to the Standard Catalog of American cars only 6 of these giants were produced… a sporting Victoria, 3 sedans and an unfinished limo.

Mr. Heine gave away these cars… never keeping one for himself – he probably couldn’t afford it. In 1923 the Heine-Velox company was dissolved.

And now… here is a Heine-Velox in Hemmings on page 501. You could trade a pre-war car or truck and have an example of the most expensive American car offered for sale in 1921. If it were the sporting model it would be the biggest 4-passenger car offered as well. Boy… would you look slick at Shelburne and Stowe. Could the Hemmings car be the only “sport model”? Do you want the phone number? As May West said… “He who hesitates is last.”

Another motoring moment brought to you by your old car club.