Harley-Davidson and Indian’s rivalry has to be one of the greatest of all time. These two brands competed on the racetrack, in combat, in dealer showrooms, and out on the road from the time Harley was able to put up a fight in the first decade of the 20th century all the way to Indian’s demise in the mid-1950s. The Harley-Davidson and Indian Wars by Allan Girdler is an excellent addition to any gearhead’s library because it tracks this famed rivalry from beginning to end.
I think that the pictures and captions are the strongest parts of the book. Every page is filled with excellent, original imagery from back in the day, as well as beautiful color pictures of the bikes in their restored state. Every aspect of this famous rivalry is covered in a well-written way that seamlessly carries the reader through the decades. Girdler gives wonderful insight into what was happening behind the scenes at corporate headquarters in both Milwaukee and Springfield, as well as what was happening in the public eye.
One thing I feel the book lacks is more of the very early competition stuff. It certainly covers it, but not to the extent that I would have liked. Girdler’s first chapter does give an excellent account of the making of the motorcycle and how it came about. One more thing, and I could be completely wrong here, but it seems as though the author favors Indian just a wee bit. After you read the book, let me know if you get the same impression.
Note: AIM’s parent company, TAM Communications, recently purchased the last 400 copies of this book and is offering them at www.GreaseRag.com. AIM