There’s nothing quite like watching a moto archaeologist at work, and if you don’t know what I mean, then you clearly haven’t watched any videos on the Wheels Through Time YouTube channel. Whether you already know something about early American motorcycles or you’re just always interested in learning more about motorcycle history, the WTT channel is a must watch. Matt Walksler’s enthusiasm, depth of knowledge, and eagerness to share that knowledge with the world is pretty infectious, and every episode is a joy.
Remember the 2023 Mecum Las Vegas auction? As Walksler explains, he and WTT went there to find something unique and interesting—and what they came home with and show off in this video does a whole lot to fit that particular brief. By now, you’ve probably heard plenty about the seemingly endless rivalry between Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles, both in competition and in showrooms. The modern-day versions of both OEMs like to play up that history, too—and, I mean, if it sells bikes, it’s easy to understand why.
Did you know that a half-Harley, half-Indian motorcycle was ever made, though? To Walksler’s knowledge, this is once again the only such motorcycle known to exist in the world in 2023, and may have been the only one ever built. It’s from the 1920s, and watching Walksler explain all the different Indian and Harley parts used to make this machine come together is where that moto archaeology magic comes into play. Some people might just see an old motorcycle, and not know what they’re looking at—but Walksler can tell you almost everything.
Starting with the engine, the bottom end comes from an Indian PowerPlus unit, as does the transmission. They took what was a V-twin design, tilted it, lopped off a cylinder, and added an extremely tall Harley cylinder in its place. There’s also a Harley peashooter cylinder head up top. No one knows what displacement this machine is, because it really could be just about anything.
There are all kinds of interesting bits on this bike, from a Carter carburetor that Walksler says he’s actually had zero experience with in the past (he knows of them, but this will be a learning experience even for him) to a Harley front end so rare, he’s only ever seen one of them in person (and he has it in the WTT museum already).
However, Dale’s Wheels Through Time’s tagline is “the museum that runs.” So, will this one-of-a-kind example of dogs and cats living together run, with or without mass hysteria? Watch this video to find out. We won’t spoil it for you, but we will suggest you wear headphones, because we always suggest you wear headphones when watching bike videos. They’re just better that way.