You might have noticed that cruisers tend to be the more expensive lots available in auction events and sites. It’s not uncommon to see some pristine examples going for five-digit figures or more, especially if it is in great condition. In fact, the most expensive bikes sold in 2021 were predominantly cruisers that sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, with that out of the way, it’s not surprising how this 1940 Indian 440 managed to fetch its $55,000 USD auction price. There’s more to it than being just another classic cruiser because it is a museum piece. Yep, that’s right, this bike comes straight form the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation’s Museum (IMS Musem), and it’s now up for grabs on Bring a Trailer offered by the foundation itself.
Indian produced this particular unit in 1940, and it came with a 77 cubic-inch air-cooled inline-four motor paired with a three-speed hand-shifted transmission. Its engine is not laid out like now, where the pistons are perpendicularly aligned with the chassis. This motorcycle has a longitudinal engine that sends power to the rear wheel via a drive chain. It produced 40 horsepower when it was new, and the motor was commissioned by the IMS Museum’s restoration team for the sale, and the service included the freeing of the throttle linkage, carburetor servicing, a tank floater change, and a new battery and battery box. The fuel tank was also cleaned and re-sealed prior to the listing. As stated by the IMS Musem, the bike does run and drive.
The bike ran a thousand miles according to its odometer, but its true mileage is unknown. As for its condition, it shows a few signs of wear such as the cracking on the leather saddle, chrome pitting, and tarnish on the mirrors. Regardless, it’s one heck of a find, and I expect its price to go up in the next few days. Prepare your bids on or before February 25, 2022, which is only four days from now.