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Friday, March 12, 2010

Indian Patrol Car for sale on eBay offers
rare look at 3-wheeled Royal Enfield

A very rare sight, a 1950s three-wheeled Royal Enfield badged as an Indian Patrol Car, is for sale on eBay in Richmond, Ind.

Perhaps best of all for gawkers like me, the pictures included in the ad really show how this curious machine was built.

The Patrol Car style was popular with police departments in some U.S. cities. The Chicago Police Department had many Harley-Davidson three-wheelers when I was in college there, in the 1970s.

When demonstrators descended on the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, the police famously bounced their three wheelers up onto sidewalks and used them to disperse crowds. They functioned somewhat like (horse) mounted police.

More typically, you'd see an officer stationed at a busy intersection lounging against the motorcycle, everything he needed for directing and diverting traffic carried in the box.

Royal Enfield built motorcycles for Indian only from 1955 to 1959. The Patrol Car had the 346cc Bullet motor with a hand gear change on the right side of the tank. In the pictures, you see where it would have been attached.

As best I can tell from the pictures, there is no rear suspension whatsoever! I don't know if the rear axle provided any differential for going around corners. What a ride this must have been.

This Patrol Car will need a lot of work, and it will always be slow, but you'd never have to worry about where to put the luggage.

The frame of the Indian Patrol Car appears similar but not identical to the three-wheeled Pashley that was sold in England and appears in the publication below. The copy mentions that the Pashley had leaf springs at the rear.

The Pashley also had shaft drive and a car back axle (with differential, for sure). All in all, it was far more sophisticated, but that's still a Royal Enfield Bullet up front.

The Patrol Car on eBay has many of the features typical of the Royal Enfields made for Indian, including the separate headlight and ram's horn handlebars, while the Pashley got the nacelle and a somewhat sleeker appearance.

1 comment:

  1. I have an original tow bar for the Indian patrol car, it attaches to the front forks. If anyone wants to buy it email me,
    Jerry email is hwjbuffalo@aol.com

    ReplyDelete

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