Whats it all about ?????

Over 30 years of buying, breaking, building, cutting, welding, riding and selling greasy old mo'sickles. Bare bones bikes from the middle of nowhere!

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Chout Stripdown

Its taken me a while to get back onto the Chout project. Spent way too much time rolling it out of the barn and looking at it with different sized wheels and slight changes, but I finally decided that there was no going forward without some serious going backwards... Two weeks ago I pulled the whole bike apart over the course of a week of early morning one for shifts I had the wheels off engine and transmission out, the fork pulled off and all the bits and pieces shelved and boxed so I know where it all is. The frame got taken over to Richi at Foss Fabrication to get the final welds done around the kicker mount while I get everything else prepped ready for the final build.

The transmission got stripped down and checked over. Its had a hard life, needs new gears and bushes.The parts are now on order and I hope to have them in the next week or so ready to get it back together.

The front wheel needs some minor mods to make it work with the 101 fork. I settled on a 21" wheel laced to a Honda XL500 hub c/w twin leading shoe single side brake which should help in the stopping dept!







Monday, 29 January 2018

1920's Indian Scout Trials Special








More pics here... https://backstreetthunder.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/the-talmag-trial-3/

Monday, 1 January 2018

Indian Chout .. the story so far!

This tale starts back around 2006. In 2005 I bought my first Indian project, a 640 Sport Scout basket that gradually morphed itself into the 57cu" stroker that I still own and ride today. I was in need of a magneto and a friend of a friend, Grizzy had worked out how to convert a HD 45deg spec Fairbanks Morse mag to suit the Indian 42deg timing, I got in touch we talked Indians and I traded a twin brake front hub for him to convert a magneto that I supplied for me.. From that day on we kept in touch and Grizzy became a good friend and mentor talking me through the simple complexities of putting together an Indian special. The twin brake front wheel was to be fitted to Grizzy's Chout project, DiXiE, I had no idea what a Chout was so the concept of a 90 year old 1920's Scout chassis married to a big jugged 60 year old power plant was discussed at length and the seed was sown...

The only way to find parts for a scratch build Indian project here in the Highlands of Scotland is to trawl eBay, Vintage Cycle Bay, internet forums and phone, email and visit as many Indian enthusiasts as possible to try and source the parts that you need.. There is an element of Cosmic Supply about the whole process if you visualise what you want, it more than often turns up, sometimes in the strangest of ways!

I was on holiday in Tuscany with my family when I saw a complete..ish 1933 Chief engine for sale on eBay, being sold by Bob Clift in Nevada. I kept and eye on it and kept checking back to look at it.. It was in my view perfect for the project, first year of the recirculating oil pump type Chiefs, but still with that early vintage look about it and at a price I could just about afford! The bidding was ending just when we got home so I stayed up to some ungodly hour in the morning to make sure I got it, which I did. A few weeks lated a nicely crated engine arrived in Scotland and it wasn't long  before it was unpacked and set up to see what I had bought..



The search began to find a suitable frame, I had decided that a 101 Scout was my ideal choice. The 101 Scout has the reputation for being the finest handling of all the Indians and were built between 1928 and 1931. I bought a frame via ebay from a fella in Pensilvania and waited for the shipping, import and customs to do their worst, the frame arrived in Scotland in late autumn, it wasn't great, the rear tubes were a mess and it had suffered with some heavy rust pitting elsewhere, but I did have a 101 frame to get me started.


A bit more eBay trawling secured a suitable early 30's helical gear transmission and I was ready for the first trial fit of the engine in the frame. (apologies for the fuzzy pic)


As you can see the Chief power plant doesn't quite fit in the space provided! A lot of discussion with Grizzy on the phone later I was starting to understand the various modifications that have been used to get the motor to fit. Grizzy kindly did this sketch for me to illustrate how it can be done...


And how he did DiXiE



I managed to find a better 101 frame that I bought from Tony Carabine down in Yorkshire, and over the winter of 2010/11 I picked up a later 1940 Chief motor and the later chain driven transmission. The 1933 motor being the first year of the redesigned Chief needed a lot of rare "one year only" parts to get it to work, I was struggling to find the intermediate gear for the primary and finally frustration made me decide to use the later 1940 power plant. The 1933 power plant was traded on for a little flat track Scout and I got back on with the Chout build. Spring of 2011 I took delivery of a 101 front fork via Moen at IPE,  A pair of Honda K2 wheel hubs laced to Akron rims had the chassis rolling in no time!



At this time I was running our shop at Achnasheen in the NW Highlands, a jewellery gallery and cafe with my wife,son and daughter. I had a little workshop set up in what had been a stock room, with a lathe pillar drill and a bench for working on engines. There was no room to work on a bike but I have always preferred working out doors so I made up a jig to keep the frame straight while I modified it to accept the power plant. This sat on a low shelf by the shop door when we were busy, when it was quiet I would take it outside and work on the project. Early spring was always a quiet time so progress was good, within a few weeks I had the engine sitting in the frame.





The set of chromed Junior Scout tanks I had bought from Christian Timmerman for my Stroker were comandeered for the Chout and various mock ups were done to get everything sitting the way I wanted. Before too long I had the frame back on its wheels and could start to pice the rest of the chassis together.


By the end of Summer 2011 I had the Chout pretty much dry built. The motor was complete bar the clutch and primary. The kicker post needed modified to get the kicker to work properly, I needed exhaust pipes made up, some linkages and a few brackets welded onto the chassis . I mocked up the piped using pipe insulation to get the pipe shape the way I wanted and got the bike bolted ad zip tied together as complete as I could ready for the next stage of the build.


The Chout was trailered down to Inverness to my friend Richi Foss who is The Man in the Highlands for custom exhausts and fabrication. He has done the pipes and fabrication work on all of my builds since I moved to the North in 1997. I left the Chout with him in December 2011 and over the winter I gradually got update pictures of what he was doing.






Richi was really busy at the time. We had agreed that he would fit in the work in between bigger jobs and did it as and when he had the time or just felt like it. It was two years before I collected the Chout from him. In the meantime I had changed jobs and we had taken on a house renovation project. Due to family and work commitments the Chout had been put to the back of my mind and it was only the intermittent photo updates and the odd visit to Richi's workshop that kept the project going. When I did collect it, it was looking so much better. Richi had re done my crossbar conversion with a new curved one that incorporated a head steady. The pipes were perfect in stainless steel, a set of bars had been made using a 101 centre and 741 bar ends, brake anchors front and rear, footboard mounts and a host of other little jobs had been completed. 




As I was still busy at my new job and free time was taken up with looking after family and our horses ,the Chout was put into storage at the farm along with the Stroker Scout and my other bikes. 
It was 2017 before I did any more work on the project. I was not happy with the stance of the bike, the bars felt too low and the front end didn't feel right. I changed the bars to a set of repo 31 Scout bars that swooped back and up a bit more, the wheel was mocked up with various sizes until I settled on the classic 18" rear 21" front set up. I bought a Honda XL500 front wheel complete with a single sided TLS brake and with a little modification it fits into the 101 fork.  



And that brings us up to date, I have just ordered all of the parts to build the primary up, a proper Indian 101 front brake brace setup and all the little bits and pieces I need to get the Chout running. I hope to get it on the road this spring.



To be continued.........











Friday, 29 September 2017

Two projects, six wheels..

My '26 Model T has been following me about waiting for a bit of TLC for the best part of 10 years! Work commitments and other projects have always come first leaving the T under a tarp or more recently tucked away in the barn for later. Just a few weeks ago I took delivery of a '26 touring front body tub which has rekindled the desire to get the car going again and at least into usable farm hack order...

The Indian Chout has been in almost complete dry built state for about 3 years now, a lack of focus and direction on my part has kept me from finishing it off. I recently pulled it out of storage and put together a shopping list of the parts I need to get it finished and on the road... not a hell of a lot, a clutch, some primary parts, plug inserts, gaskets bearings nuts and bolts..


So.. Time for an autumn sale to raise the cash to get these two up and running over the winter, I'll be posting stuff on here, Instagram and Facebook in the next week or so

Friday, 8 September 2017

Body tub for the model T




This 1926 tourer front tub was shipped over from Kansas earlier this year to Tuckett's yard down in Bucks.. hope to have it here on the Black Isle later next week to fit onto my '26 rolling chassis :)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Stroker Scout at the farm

#indiansportscout #strokerscout #57cubicinch

A post shared by Steve Plowman (@strathbranspeedshop) on

#indiansportscout #strokerscout #57cubicinch

A post shared by Steve Plowman (@strathbranspeedshop) on

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Morris 8 Special the Dunrobin Castle Vintage Rally


Belonging to Lachie Stewart,  this car was my favourite of the day! Originally a 1938 Morris 8 Van which was on loan to the Land Army during WW2 in the Portmahomack area. It was returned after the war with a trashed body but useable running gear, the present owner's father with assistance from the local blacksmith had this special body built onto the rolling chassis, he has recently pulled it from the barn and got it going and with help from the Morris owners club is trying to get it back on the road with the attached registration number. A proper post war rationing era special.