Indian purchased the failing Ace Motor Co. in 1927 and immediately moved production to Springfield MA, originally marketing the first model as the Indian Ace. In 1928, the Indian Ace was replaced by the Indian 401, a development of the Ace designed by Arthur O. Lemon, former Chief Engineer at Ace. When the 402 model was introduced in 1929 it had the stronger twin-downtube frame based on that of the 101 Scout and a sturdier five-bearing crankshaft than the Ace, which had a three-bearing crankshaft.
Indian not only continued production of the Four, but continued to develop the motorcycle. One of the less popular versions of the Four was the “upside down” engine on the 1936-1937 models. While earlier and later model had inlet-over-exhaust (IOE) cylinder heads with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves, the 1936-1937 Indian Four had a unique EOI cylinder head, with the positions reversed. In theory, this would improve fuel vaporization, the new engine was more powerful but did not sell particularly well as it generated a lot of heat. The addition of dual carburetors in 1937 did not revive interest, and the design was returned to the original configuration in 1938.
This 1931 Indian 402 was purchased in the UK in 2001 and although complete was in need of a total restoration. This meticulous work was carried out over a five / six year period, the engine and gearbox were completely stripped and rebuild by a mark specialist in South East England at a cost of over £6,000.
The frame was repainted and the original body work repaired where necessary and also painted. The bike still retains the original John W. Brown MFG. Co. headlamp and glass and has the engine number EA 1853 clearly stamped on right hand engine case.Having only covered a few miles since the rebuild the bike remains in fantastic cosmetic and excellent mechanical order however the engine will continue to need running in, it has had a recent tune up and is reported to be in fine working order.
The 402 is the rarest and arguably the best of all the Indian four cylinder motorcycles, this truly exceptional example is supplied with UK registration documents and a file of photos detailing the engine rebuild. Rarely seen this is a highly collectable and valuable motorcycle.