Dozens gather in Springfield for a glimpse at vintage Indian motorcycles

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“The heritage is right here in the Connecticut Valley and I think that it’s very important to preserve that and pass it along,” said Michael Bear of Easthampton. 

Sunday, Indian Motorcycle lovers gathered for the 9th annual Indian Motorcycle Day, at the Springfield museums. 

The long standing tradition honors the Indian Motorcycle, which was manufactured in Springfield from 1901-1953. 

“Love my Harley, probably keep it for a while, but this is just different. I like something old,” said Priscilla Leveille of New Hampshire.  

Riders got to show off their vintage motorcycles. Some dating back to the 1920’s.

“My grandparents actually met in the Indian factory, on a photo shoot for the 1948 catalog. For a lot people it’s a trip down memory lane for them,” said Bear.

But finding parts for these classic Springfield developed bikes, is no easy task.

Don Skarp of Trailers of New England Palmer told 22News, “Really just 2 or 3 suppliers for the Springfield built Indians, in the country.” 

This year’s event paid tribute to Charlie Manthos, a lifelong enthusiast & collector of the Springfield-made cycles. 

In 1974, he and his wife opened their own museum. It was in the same building Indian Motorcycle co-founder George Hendee once operated out of.

22News also caught up with Friendly’s co-founder Prestley Blake. The spunky 103-year-old was at the museum, signing copies of his autobiography, “A Friendly Life.”

He told 22News, “Because I realized I’ve done quite a few unusual things and I aught to put it down.”

Blake, who still drives, turns 104 in November.

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