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An editorial for our next Rocky Mountain IMRG newsletter. Thought I'd run it up the flagpole here to see if anyone shoots at it.

 

====

 

Opinion: We owe it all to Gilroy.

 

In our last Rocky Mountain IMRG meeting we finished up with the Indian Motorcycle History presentations. Presentations such as those will continue for the time being anyway, with future subjects being Burt Munro, Hollister-1947, Planning for a long motorcycle trip, and motorcycle maintenance, to name a few.

 

Before putting the history of Indian Motorcycle completely in our rear view mirror, I think it’s important to take a moment to appreciate one of the less talked about milestones. Specifically, I would like to mention the crucial importance of the Gilroy Indian Era.

 

As was mentioned in the presentation, after the factory closed in 1953 there remained keen desire to resurrect Indian Motorcycles and make them available to the public again. The iconic brand actually became more popular in spite of all the scandals and false starts.

 

What held the brand back for over four decades was the question of who owned the rights to the Indian intellectual property (IP). Without definitive proof of ownership of the Indian IP, the financing necessary to start up a new company was nearly impossible to get. From our history presentations you know that there were customers willing and even anxious to purchase a new era Indian motorcycle, but the uncertainty of ownership kept that from happening.

 

It was actually the rush among some to start up Indian again that caused the problem. Multiple startup companies, none of which had clear title to the IP but claimed they did anyway, caused the split in ownership that delayed Indian’s return to the market.

 

The fight over the IP coalesced in the mid 1990’s with the court battle between the Eller Group and Audax. With the victory of Audax, all the patents and trademarks were finally legally owned by one company. Everything was in one place, and the company could finally move forward.

 

The flaw within the Gilroy Indian startup was twofold; first the financing was weak and heavily constrained, and second was that those backing the company wanted instant profitability and success. Most new businesses aren’t actually profitable until about the three year mark, and the Gilroy operation really didn’t have even that long.

 

Additionally there were constrains on the finances that prevented slow steady growth built on a strong foundation. Due to milestone constraints built into the financing, the motorcycle engineering and design which is the foundation of the company, was flawed. Building a company on a defective foundation is a recipe for disaster.

 

When the three year mark was reached the company was struggling under the weight of warranty and overhead costs. If the financing could have been extended a year or two longer I believe that Gilroy Indian would be a strong and viable company today.

 

The Gilroy Indian era remains significant because these were the first new Indian motorcycles to roll off the assembly line in 46 years. This brought Indian back into the forefront of the consumer’s consciousness. We could finally buy new Indians, and we did so even though we knew that the bikes were defective. We bought them because we love Indians and because we wanted to be a part of the dawn of Indian’s return.

 

Even after short sided investors closed the factory in 2003, and no dealerships remained, those Indian owners kept their bikes and rode them proudly. “We don’t need no stinking dealers, and we don’t need no stinking factory either”, became their war cry. But even in those dark times and even though things seemed uncertain, the future of Indian was actually assured.

 

The Indian brand, if not the motorcycle itself, had proven itself profitable. That there was a market for these beautiful machines was now certain. All that was needed was the right owner with the foresight to see the brand through to profitability.

 

After the Gilroy Indian factory closed, rumor had it that Polaris was one of the interested parties in purchasing the intellectual property. At that time though Polaris was banking on their Victory brand to go head to head and possibly knock Harley-Davidson from their top spot in the sale of heavy cruiser motorcycles.

 

It’s my opinion that Polaris did not purchase the Indian IP because they believed their Victory brand would succeed. As it turned out, they were wrong about that. Victory became a niche brand and never made major inroads into the American cruiser motorcycle market because it lacks the history and culture to do so.

 

Stellican Ltd. then stepped in and purchased the Indian IP; they fixed the engineering issues with the motorcycle design, and kept the brand alive until Polaris realized their error and purchased the IP from Stellican.

 

Regardless of the veracity of the Polaris rumor, the Indian brand was resurrected during the Gilroy era, and kept alive during the Kings Mountain era. Without these two major milestones, it’s my belief that there would be no new Indian motorcycles available to us today.

 

In the opinion of many Gilroy and Kings Mountain Era Indian owners, Polaris is attempting to forget these important eras of Indian history. These days many of the new Indian dealers won’t service or work on any of the Indian motorcycles made prior to 2014. This leaves the owners of Gilroy and Kings Mountain Indians feeling ignored and marginalized.

 

Yet had the Indian IP not been unified, had there been no new Indians built, had there been no public fervor stirred up, an Indian motorcycle company would not exist today.

 

If we ignore our past, we forget ourselves.

 

There often seems a compulsion to re-write history. Historians tend to gloss over or marginalize what they feel are negative events and highlight only the positive. In my opinion the new Indian owners want to forget the Gilroy era because those bikes were known to be of low quality. It almost seems they consider the Gilroy and KM eras to be a stain on the Indian brand, and so they want to pretend that it never existed.

 

Ignoring our past is like forgetting who our parents were; the people who brought us into this world and made us who we are. Yes, more than likely they were flawed human beings and they made mistakes, sometimes bad ones. But every lesson taught should be a lesson learned, and if we forget the lessons we didn’t like we will at best only learn half as much.

 

The next time you see a Gilroy Indian on the road, even if it’s leaking oil and not running well, try to appreciate that that old motorcycle made the shiny new Indian you ride possible. If you have the opportunity, give a word of thanks.

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Audax came in much later. They were not in the battle with Eller at all.

 

It was a Canadian group that went after Eller bid on the Indian IP.

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Nothing wrong with the early Gilroy that an additional $15,000- 20,000 couldn't fix.

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Nothing wrong with the early Gilroy that an additional $15,000- 20,000 couldn't fix.

depression is now setting in doc .

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Audax came in much later. They were not in the battle with Eller at all.

 

It was a Canadian group that went after Eller bid on the Indian IP.

 

Didn't Audax come out of that group? Do you have a name I can research?

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Nothing wrong with the early Gilroy that an additional $15,000- 20,000 couldn't fix.

 

So essentially the fix is to buy a new Polaris Indian model... :rotfl:

My fix was to buy a KM... so I'm the dumb one here!

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The next time you see a Gilroy Indian on the road, even if it’s leaking oil and not running well, try to appreciate that that old motorcycle made the shiny new Indian you ride possible. If you have the opportunity, give a word of thanks.

 

O thanks for the good laugh on that one. :grin:

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Kinda condescending and not entirely accurate, but a good effort. I think just as much credit goes to KM and The Steve's. Agree or disagree with their business plan, they brought a big steaming stinking bankrupt turd out of the toilet and made it a viable brand. Struggling and small, but viable. Polaris had multiple opportunities to buy the brand. But they still had hope for the Victory brand. When they heard BMW was courting the Steve's they figured it was now or never and pounced. Their hand was forced. Those are the facts.

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An editorial for our next Rocky Mountain IMRG newsletter. Thought I'd run it up the flagpole here to see if anyone shoots at it.

 

====

 

Opinion: We owe it all to Gilroy.

 

In our last Rocky Mountain IMRG meeting we finished up with the Indian Motorcycle History presentations. Presentations such as those will continue for the time being anyway, with future subjects being Burt Munro, Hollister-1947, Planning for a long motorcycle trip, and motorcycle maintenance, to name a few.

 

Before putting the history of Indian Motorcycle completely in our rear view mirror, I think it’s important to take a moment to appreciate one of the less talked about milestones. Specifically, I would like to mention the crucial importance of the Gilroy Indian Era.

 

As was mentioned in the presentation, after the factory closed in 1953 there remained keen desire to resurrect Indian Motorcycles and make them available to the public again. The iconic brand actually became more popular in spite of all the scandals and false starts.

 

What held the brand back for over four decades was the question of who owned the rights to the Indian intellectual property (IP). Without definitive proof of ownership of the Indian IP, the financing necessary to start up a new company was nearly impossible to get. From our history presentations you know that there were customers willing and even anxious to purchase a new era Indian motorcycle, but the uncertainty of ownership kept that from happening.

 

It was actually the rush among some to start up Indian again that caused the problem. Multiple startup companies, none of which had clear title to the IP but claimed they did anyway, caused the split in ownership that delayed Indian’s return to the market.

 

The fight over the IP coalesced in the mid 1990’s with the court battle between the Eller Group and Audax. With the victory of Audax, all the patents and trademarks were finally legally owned by one company. Everything was in one place, and the company could finally move forward.

 

The flaw within the Gilroy Indian startup was twofold; first the financing was weak and heavily constrained, and second was that those backing the company wanted instant profitability and success. Most new businesses aren’t actually profitable until about the three year mark, and the Gilroy operation really didn’t have even that long.

 

Additionally there were constrains on the finances that prevented slow steady growth built on a strong foundation. Due to milestone constraints built into the financing, the motorcycle engineering and design which is the foundation of the company, was flawed. Building a company on a defective foundation is a recipe for disaster.

 

When the three year mark was reached the company was struggling under the weight of warranty and overhead costs. If the financing could have been extended a year or two longer I believe that Gilroy Indian would be a strong and viable company today.

 

The Gilroy Indian era remains significant because these were the first new Indian motorcycles to roll off the assembly line in 46 years. This brought Indian back into the forefront of the consumer’s consciousness. We could finally buy new Indians, and we did so even though we knew that the bikes were defective. We bought them because we love Indians and because we wanted to be a part of the dawn of Indian’s return.

 

Even after short sided investors closed the factory in 2003, and no dealerships remained, those Indian owners kept their bikes and rode them proudly. “We don’t need no stinking dealers, and we don’t need no stinking factory either”, became their war cry. But even in those dark times and even though things seemed uncertain, the future of Indian was actually assured.

 

The Indian brand, if not the motorcycle itself, had proven itself profitable. That there was a market for these beautiful machines was now certain. All that was needed was the right owner with the foresight to see the brand through to profitability.

 

After the Gilroy Indian factory closed, rumor had it that Polaris was one of the interested parties in purchasing the intellectual property. At that time though Polaris was banking on their Victory brand to go head to head and possibly knock Harley-Davidson from their top spot in the sale of heavy cruiser motorcycles.

 

It’s my opinion that Polaris did not purchase the Indian IP because they believed their Victory brand would succeed. As it turned out, they were wrong about that. Victory became a niche brand and never made major inroads into the American cruiser motorcycle market because it lacks the history and culture to do so.

 

Stellican Ltd. then stepped in and purchased the Indian IP; they fixed the engineering issues with the motorcycle design, and kept the brand alive until Polaris realized their error and purchased the IP from Stellican.

 

Regardless of the veracity of the Polaris rumor, the Indian brand was resurrected during the Gilroy era, and kept alive during the Kings Mountain era. Without these two major milestones, it’s my belief that there would be no new Indian motorcycles available to us today.

 

In the opinion of many Gilroy and Kings Mountain Era Indian owners, Polaris is attempting to forget these important eras of Indian history. These days many of the new Indian dealers won’t service or work on any of the Indian motorcycles made prior to 2014. This leaves the owners of Gilroy and Kings Mountain Indians feeling ignored and marginalized.

 

Yet had the Indian IP not been unified, had there been no new Indians built, had there been no public fervor stirred up, an Indian motorcycle company would not exist today.

 

If we ignore our past, we forget ourselves.

 

There often seems a compulsion to re-write history. Historians tend to gloss over or marginalize what they feel are negative events and highlight only the positive. In my opinion the new Indian owners want to forget the Gilroy era because those bikes were known to be of low quality. It almost seems they consider the Gilroy and KM eras to be a stain on the Indian brand, and so they want to pretend that it never existed.

 

Ignoring our past is like forgetting who our parents were; the people who brought us into this world and made us who we are. Yes, more than likely they were flawed human beings and they made mistakes, sometimes bad ones. But every lesson taught should be a lesson learned, and if we forget the lessons we didn’t like we will at best only learn half as much.

 

The next time you see a Gilroy Indian on the road, even if it’s leaking oil and not running well, try to appreciate that that old motorcycle made the shiny new Indian you ride possible. If you have the opportunity, give a word of thanks.

ken to me the gilroys will never be dated or out of style ,they get all the attention anywhere you ride ,i love that bike no matter how much money i throw at it , its my hobby i guess, cheaper than bass fishing i know for a fact LOL

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Kinda condescending and not entirely accurate, but a good effort. I think just as much credit goes to KM and The Steve's. Agree or disagree with their business plan, they brought a big steaming stinking bankrupt turd out of the toilet and made it a viable brand. Struggling and small, but viable. Polaris had multiple opportunities to buy the brand. But they still had hope for the Victory brand. When they heard BMW was courting the Steve's they figured it was now or never and pounced. Their hand was forced. Those are the facts.

I probably should have mentioned, that what's written here is my opinion based on three history presentations I made previously. In the final presentation I talked about the Steves and gave them credit for creating a viable business plan in the face of the recession. Heck, I owned a Gilroy, and currently own a KM and a new Vintage, and loved and love all three.

 

The opinion here was to give credit to what the Gilroy and the KM eras accomplished and to point out that we would not have these new bikes had it not been for them.

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The Gilroy's kept the door open, and brought the Indian name back into the fore front.

When you count to 10 you don't start @ 4 :grin:

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I probably should have mentioned, that what's written here is my opinion based on three history presentations I made previously. In the final presentation I talked about the Steves and gave them credit for creating a viable business plan in the face of the recession. Heck, I owned a Gilroy, and currently own a KM and a new Vintage, and loved and love all three.

 

The opinion here was to give credit to what the Gilroy and the KM eras accomplished and to point out that we would not have these new bikes had it not been for them.

When Gilroy got the brand, it was an old Iconic motorcycle name. A name that was nostalgic and very revered. Time had erased (as it usually does) all the bad stuff from the late 40's and 50's. Memories of failed business plans, poor quality and plant closings were long gone. All that was left was the good stuff. When Gilroy acquired the it, they brought the brand from a memory to reality. Gilroy made Indian a modern motorcycle again. Not just a t-shirt or a cool antique. Gilroy made some terrible decisions. They took what was a virginal iconic brand and did a lot of damage. This is why I think KM and the Steve's deserve a lot of credit. There were dozens of entities that looked at the brand and most were more monied than the Steve's and had more experience in the motorcycle business that COULD have stepped up...but didn't because of the damage that Gilroy did.

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http://www.starklite.com/nov98pr.htm

 

 

Murray Smith owned the Indian clothing trademark in Canada.

 

Smith put together a consortium of 6 entities that formed Indian Motorcycle Company of America Inc.

 

which bribed the federal official overseeing the recievership litigations.

 

The Eller investor group got fucked in a due process quagmire tainted by corruption pure *&* simple.

 

 

http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/protecting-american-indian-intellectual-property-twenty-first-century-th

 

 

http://www.powersportsnetwork.com/motorcyclenewsdetail/id=1058/newsarticle1058.htm

 

 

 

The Stellican effort was one of those elite efforts to field a $40,000 machine to an exclusive clientele.

 

Stellican will be a miniscule footnote in Indian Motorcycle history when the amount of machines

 

produced during their 7 year reign is taken into consideration.

Edited by CHIEF DOC 99
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Ken, nothing you write will please everyone. I am one dumb fuck for selling my Gilroy. I see one on ebay right now that is as nice as mine was, and I am thinking-he's gonna be sorry! If I was in the position at the moment I would buy it, but I am saving for my 2015 at the moment.

I for one am thankful you posted your missive here for all to see. I not only think your Rocky Mountain Group will benefit.I believe you have helped many of the FNG's on here who are experts on the Indian Brand. Perhaps you would consider posting your other presentations on here for us to peruse? Polaris not only has forgotten the Gilroy era, they have forgotten the several hundred souls such as myself who bought KM' style Polaris bikes in their particular version of history. Anytime we can be historical, perhaps it is beneficial to all.

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When Stephen M. Julius got the rights to Indian I was 90% convinced that he will do what he has done (sold Indian to Polaris) ... just didn't know to whom he would sell to ...... I am not judging his actions - business is business and that's how he made his fortune.

And when the first Indian dealer opened in Switzerland I was sure 99% sure that he will sell Indian to the highest bidder ..... because that dealer was and still is selling Chris-Craft luxurious boats ..... Indian was only a side kick there ...... and funny thing is Indian is growing big in Europe.

Polaris is thinking making some products in Europe/Poland ..... the question is - for European market only or ........ the time will show.

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Isn't the IMRG the "official" Polaris/Indian group? If so, you may want to be careful about how you present the Gilroy and King's Mountain years....especially if your version of history conflicts with theirs. Just sayin'.......

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Isn't the IMRG the "official" Polaris/Indian group? If so, you may want to be careful about how you present the Gilroy and King's Mountain years....especially if your version of history conflicts with theirs. Just sayin'.......

 

 

.... What I can see no one is judging them here only people would like to know at least little bit about the company when they are buying their product ..... caring about the client - that's another story :)

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Isn't the IMRG the "official" Polaris/Indian group? If so, you may want to be careful about how you present the Gilroy and King's Mountain years....especially if your version of history conflicts with theirs. Just sayin'.......

 

Yes it is... and I actually don't give a rats ass about what Polaris thinks about how I present Indian history. It's true that I'm no where near as knowledgeable as many are here, but I'm all they got so I tell what I know and give a list of books they can read to get the full story. Anyway - the history is the history - Polaris may want to re-write it to make it somehow more PC in their view, but I've never been about PC. I say what I'm going to say, and if they don't like it tough - they can find someone else to play president of their local IMRG.

 

I have a personality trait that is often self defeating... it's mine though so there you go. If everyone is "trending" in one direction - even if it's a good direction in my view, I will usually find myself turning around and going against the tide. I have to admit that one of the things that drew me to Indian was that it was NOT a harley... everyone has a harley.. everyone seemed to think that only harleys are cool... when I was younger (before Gilroy) I bought a Honda in response to this "trend"... now I have Indians. It's sort of my "fuck you" to the establishment. As I said, this is frequently a self defeating personality trait.

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Hey Ken,

Did you have a Beta VCR Player? I did. :grin: I always use APPLE/MAC products as well :blush:

I bet we ain't alone in our individualism.

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Ken, you are making a good effort to educate new Indian riders.

 

Be prepared though for maybe 1 in 10 to actually appreciate the history info.

 

For all that Stellican did over 7 years, they could have ressurected the Eller machine given the time spent on the 105s.

 

Remember the Garlix versions were produced over a 4 1/2 year period.

 

 

As far as being a contrarian....

 

Alotta HD guys won't let go of the Shovels, Pans & Knucks for pretty much the same reasons ~ swimmin' against the tide

 

And riding against the wind.

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Ken, nothing you write will please everyone. I am one dumb fuck for selling my Gilroy. I see one on ebay right now that is as nice as mine was, and I am thinking-he's gonna be sorry! If I was in the position at the moment I would buy it, but I am saving for my 2015 at the moment.

I for one am thankful you posted your missive here for all to see. I not only think your Rocky Mountain Group will benefit.I believe you have helped many of the FNG's on here who are experts on the Indian Brand. Perhaps you would consider posting your other presentations on here for us to peruse? Polaris not only has forgotten the Gilroy era, they have forgotten the several hundred souls such as myself who bought KM' style Polaris bikes in their particular version of history. Anytime we can be historical, perhaps it is beneficial to all.

 

 

.... Pete, I will let you touch my Indian (Gilroy) next time when you will be in Geneva :)

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Yes it is... and I actually don't give a rats ass about what Polaris thinks about how I present Indian history. It's true that I'm no where near as knowledgeable as many are here, but I'm all they got so I tell what I know and give a list of books they can read to get the full story. Anyway - the history is the history - Polaris may want to re-write it to make it somehow more PC in their view, but I've never been about PC. I say what I'm going to say, and if they don't like it tough - they can find someone else to play president of their local IMRG.

 

I have a personality trait that is often self defeating... it's mine though so there you go. If everyone is "trending" in one direction - even if it's a good direction in my view, I will usually find myself turning around and going against the tide. I have to admit that one of the things that drew me to Indian was that it was NOT a harley... everyone has a harley.. everyone seemed to think that only harleys are cool... when I was younger (before Gilroy) I bought a Honda in response to this "trend"... now I have Indians. It's sort of my "fuck you" to the establishment. As I said, this is frequently a self defeating personality trait.

 

I heard about your last job interview:

 

Interviewer: "What is your biggest weakness?"

 

Ken: "My honesty".

 

Interviewer: "What? I think honesty is a strength ...?"

 

Ken: "I don't give a fuck what you think"

 

Hey Ken,

Did you have a Beta VCR Player? I did. :grin: I always use APPLE/MAC products as well :blush:

I bet we ain't alone in our individualism.

 

Pete: My black and red might want to come home to the Southern U.S., if you're interested ...

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Even if I'm not riding my Y2K, I just like to look at it.

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