It’s perfect timing for the unveiling of the new Harley versus Indian exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum. In two weeks, the two storied marques will be squaring off once again at the Daytona TT, resurrecting an over 100-year-old rivalry. Petersen’s provides an intimate look at that rivalry with its pairings of period pieces, from the board tracks to hill climbs, Harley punch met by Indian counterpunch. Checking out the 1912 Indian board tracker on display pitched at an angle as if it was once again raging around the high banked wooden planks , the Indian taking the low line under a 1920 Harley board tracker, you can almost hear the roar of the crowd. A few steps over and you’re in front of a 1925 Indian Altoona squared off against a 1930 Harley Peashooter, the hill climbers chained up and ready to rip as the history lesson continues.
It was a full house for the reception party for Petersen’s Harley versus Indian exhibit Thursday night, a blend of industry heavyweights in the antique motorcycle world rubbing elbows with the new guard of industry influencers. Cycle World Editor Mark Hoyer led a discussion panel with guests Don Emde, MotoAmerica CFO Richard Varner and Deus Ex Machina’s Creative Director Nevin Pontius on topics ranging from who fielded the first Wrecking Crew to the symbiotic relationship between the two companies, from the sales floor to the flat track.
“All of us at the museum share a great passion for motorcycles,” said Terry Karges, Executive Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in the official press release. “It’s our great pleasure to be able to showcase the history of these two incredible American manufacturers and to educate the public on their contributions to American culture throughout the last century.”
In addition to the Harley versus Indian displays is a special room dedicated to the accomplishments of Dan Gurney. Titled “The Eagles Have Landed: Dan Gurney’s All American Racers,” beauties like his 1993 Eagle MK III GTP #99 and 1971 AAR Indy Olsonite Eagle #2 form a semi-circle around the room, while one of Gurney’s Alligator bikes sits center stage.
Petersen’s new Harley versus Indian exhibit in the Richard Varner Family Gallery opens to the public Saturday, March 4, 2017 and will run through early February 2018. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Peterson’s Automotive Museum)