Original family ownership
1914 INDIAN MOTORCYCLE 'HENDEE SPECIAL'
Engine No. 72F612
Engine: two cylinder, 61ci, 7hp; Gearbox: three speed; Suspension: leafspring front and rear with swinging arm to the rear; Brakes: rear mounted drum mechanism.
Indian Motorcycle began as the creation of Oscar Hedstrom and George Hendee in Springfield, Massachusetts in the early 20th century. Soon thereafter, Indian Motorcycle became the hands down leader in the industry and by 1914 eventually occupied over one million square feet of assembly space with over 3,000 employees on a seven mile long assembly line.
In 1911 Indian competed in, and won, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race with a factory Works 7hp twin. Building on that success Indian offered in 1912 a production model named the 'Tourist Trophy' that loosely resembled the winning factory bike and was met with overwhelming response, selling over 19,000. Indian then decided to take its manufacturing to the next level by introducing the now famous 'Hendee Special'. The Hendee was the first electric start motorcycle featuring a twin six volt ignition. This was shortly followed by the first motorcycle recall in history where nearly all of the Hendee's starters were removed and replaced with kick-start levers bolted to the transmissions.
The 1914 Hendee Special offered here is believed to be one of possibly fewer than ten remaining. Purchased new by Mr. Albert "George" Boks in 1914 and used with reasonable frequency, the Hendee was greatly enjoyed for only three years. It was then that Mr. Boks met his future wife, Catherine. After a brief courtship, Mr. Boks asked Catherine to marry him, and she consented with the understanding that his motorcycle days were over, as he frequently boasted that on his way to work in Flint, Michigan no policeman could catch him. Clearly he appreciated the great power of the Hendee. Mr. Boks agreed, the couple were married and the bike was stored in their new home in Bay City, Michigan and never ridden again - a sign of true love. Through the years he would start the bike in the basement and listen to it purr or roll it up planks to the backyard and admire it in the sunlight, but never riding it again.
Now, after 91 years in the Boks-Poldeski family, the Hendee Special is being offered for sale. Presently in the care of Mr. Boks' two grandsons and granddaughter, it has been kept safely in heated storage and has been virtually untouched since 1917. The Hendee is believed to be in its exact original condition inclusive of the rear tire, which is still holding air! Sadly the front tire suffered from dry-rot and was removed, however the family has kept the tire and it will be included in the sale. A replacement tire has been purchased and will be installed to ensure the well-being of the bike while in transit to the sale and on display. Also included are original tools that came with the bike.
Christie's is pleased to offer this remarkable original, one owner, titled, Indian 'Hendee Special'. This hugely significant example of a milestone in motorcycling history deserves particular attention as it would seem improbable that another example this special would ever come to market.