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Surprise: Rocky's '41 Four

by Beverly Corsmeier

Meet our newest member of the Four Club. I secretively purchased this beauty from Rocky & Tony at the Four Meet in August of 2004. Many of you will remember this gem. Red tanks, blue fenders, torn seat, a tractor magneto but, all in all, a pretty complete bike.

1941 Indian 4 -Original Condition

Here's the story behind "The Deal":

Rocky is an absolute nut for the Indians. His love for them began at the age 5 when his dad took him on his first ride. He has an old 110 camera picture which is now very yellowed of the Four Club Meet at Doc Cleveland's sometime back in the late 1960's or early 70's of a 1941 black Four. Since Rocky and I met 9 years ago, he has always said that his favorite Four is the 1941 and it was a dream of his to own one. When this bike showed up at the meet, everyone clamored around it. I enjoyed standing back and watching all these grown men crawling on their hands and knees looking over every inch and arguing which nuts and bolts were correct. Rocky was sick that we didn't have the money to buy it. He knew he could restore her. I listened to him say "I wish" "I wish" "I wish" for the rest of the weekend and pretty much the next month. So far, I've been pretty damn good at finding ways to make his wishes come true (within reason of course). So without his knowledge, I approached his parents for a 30 day loan. Rocky had a court settlement coming in from a company he worked for which was sold and the owners ran off with the pensions. It took 10 years in a class action lawsuit but the settlement finally came. His mom was completely supportive of the idea and dad consented. I made the deal and secretly bought the bike on the condition that no one knew it was me or surely someone would let it slip that weekend.

Dave Holzerland acted as if he bought it and wheeled it to his motor home to store it. Oh, Rocky was disappointed - said Dave had enough bikes. He whined for the next month about how bad he wanted that bike. Meanwhile, the week after Tiffin, I made arrangements to rent a trailer and sneak out of town in the middle of the week to meet Tony in Athens, Ohio - a 3 hour drive, just to rendezvous in a restaurant parking lot to get the bike. Then drove back to Cincinnati as fast as I could to deposit the bike in his best friend's garage, all before my dear husband got home from work.

The 17th of September was Rocky's 48th birthday and we had planned a huge surprise party with a major twist which all the guests were in on. The party was not a surprise celebration of Rocky's birthday but the unveiling and presenting the 1938 Four that he had been restoring for the past 5 years for his dad. (This happened to be the bike that started Rocky's obsession with Indian motorcycles at the age 5.)

His dad thought he of course was coming to a surprise party for his son.

 

1938 Indian 41938 Indian 4
Now comes the FUN part!! The day before the party, I went over to his best friend's garage, loaded up the surprise present and carefully took it over to our next door neighbor's garage. The party had a huge turn out and fantastic weather. Rocky's dad was so excited about his bike and Rocky of course was so proud of finally finishing the bike and giving it to his dad. Everyone was having a great time. Part II of the party was about to begin. One of Rocky's best friends and his 3 brothers walked next door and pushed the 41 Four into our driveway. The trick was to get everyone from the backyard to the front. We began to orchestrate a group photo on the driveway in the front of the house.
friends

Everyone stood in front of the bike so that you could not see it. Rocky of course was still in conversation about his dad's bike in the back of the house and we had to drag him around front for the "picture". When he got around front and started to head for the group to take his place for the photo, the group parted and there stood the bike he had wanted so bad.

Man, this was a great surprise party!!!

 

 

'41 Indian

 

Then the work began!

Most of the bike was complete and the engine would turn over. I begged him to paint it black and to put organ pipes on it. The organ pipes are yet to be created but I am hopeful that they will be done this fall. Here are a couple of pictures with an original set in too poor of shape to repair,

but they will make for a great pattern.

The first ride on the 3 year restoration was Christmas Day 2007.  We were lucky it was beautiful weather and a balmy 50 degrees.

 

I don't think he could have had a better Christmas than taking that bike for its first spin around the block. After that, a little tweaking here and there and of course a few bugs - If you know Rocky, nothing is ever good enough. He is a perfectionist to a fault. He has been slowly breaking the engine in with short rides on cool mornings or evenings without the chance of getting stuck in traffic and overheating the engine. The bike was presented to the public for the first time at the Cincinnati Ault Park Concours D'Elegance, He won Best of Class.

We will be going to Wauseon for official judging and possibly Davenport to get the official points for his work. Of course, we will bring her to Tiffin for the clubs approval of his restoration. Tiffin is my favorite event. It took a few years to feel like we were part of the club, but now I wouldn't miss it for anything. Always wonderful seeing everyone and listening to all the stories.

What's the next project? I've had my license for awhile and it is time for me to have my own Indian! So the search is on for a Scout for me.

 

Beverly Corsmeier