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This blow to domestic availability of the motorcycles led to a loss of dealers from which Indian never quite recovered.
While the motorcycles were popular in the military, post-war demand was then taken up by other manufacturers to whom many of the previously loyal Indian dealers turned.
The "Indian Motocycle Co." was founded as the Hendee Manufacturing Company by George M. These were initially badged as "Silver King" and "Silver Queen" brands but the name "American Indian", quickly shortened to just "Indian", was adopted by Hendee from 1898 onwards because it gave better product recognition in export markets. Both Hendee and Hedstrom were former bicycle racers and manufacturers, and after building three prototypes in Middletown, Connecticut they teamed up to produce a motorcycle with a 1.75 bhp, single-cylinder engine in Hendee's home town of Springfield.
The motorcycle was successful and sales increased dramatically during the next decade.
Designed by Charles Franklin, the middleweight Scout and larger Chief shared a 42-degree V-twin engine layout.
Both models gained a reputation for strength and reliability.
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Competition success played a big part in Indian's rapid growth and spurred technical innovation as well.
In 2011, Polaris Industries purchased Indian Motorcycles and moved operations from North Carolina and merged them into their existing facilities in Minnesota and Iowa.
Since August 2013, Polaris has marketed multiple modern Indian motorcycles that reflect Indian's traditional styling.
The Model K was manufactured for one year and was replaced in 1917 by the Model O.
The Model O had a four-stroke flat-twin engine and a new frame, but retained the pivoting fork at the front. As the US entered World War I, Indian sold most of its Powerplus line in 19 to the United States government, starving its network of dealers.
One of the American firm's best early results came in the Isle of Man TT in 1911, when Indian riders Oliver Cyril Godfrey, Franklin and Moorehouse finished first, second and third.