Friday, April 3, 2020

'58 Indian Patrol Car with Royal Enfield Interceptor motor

Custom Indian Patrol Car with Royal Enfield Interceptor motor.
Once purely a utility vehicle, this 1958 Indian Patrol Car became a Royal Enfield hot rod.
Hatfield Powersports of Phoenix, Ariz. has for sale on eBay a customized 1958 Indian Patrol Car powered by a 1964 Royal Enfield Interceptor motor.

Dubbed "The Royal Rickshaw," this custom tricycle motorcycle was featured in the February, 1973 edition of Custom Chopper magazine.

According to the eBay ad it "is a one-off work of art from Southern California in the early '70s."

"Buy It Now" price is $6,995.

Custom Indian Patrol Car with Royal Enfield Interceptor motor.
The big Royal Enfield Interceptor motor dominates the look of this custom tricycle. 
The Royal Enfield tricycle comes with the trophies it won, and even the Indian Patrol Car tow hitch that let garages pick-up and return customers' cars. The mechanic would ride the trike to the customer, pick up the car, and tow the trike back to the dealer. After the oil change, lube job, and tune-up, he'd tow the trike back to the customer, deliver the car, and ride back to work.

Patrol Cars were also used by traffic police officers and meter maids.

Close-up of "Coors beer" on shift knob.
Hand-shift quadrant puts Neutral all the way back. There is no reverse.
This customized Patrol Car still has its foot throttle and tank shift, but the gearbox is the four-speeds-forward box of the Interceptor instead of the original, which would have had first gear replaced with a reverse gear.

(Overall gearing would have been reduced to compensate for the loss of first gear, making the Patrol Car — originally powered by a 350cc Royal Enfield single — very slow. The 750cc twin-cylinder Interceptor motor must be quite an improvement.)

Shiny Royal Enfield Interceptor motor and gearbox.
1964 Royal Enfield Interceptor motor gleams.
The complicated history of this tricycle motorcycle is detailed in the 1973 Custom Chopper article. The magazine explains that from 1955-1960, Royal-Enfield motorcycles from Britain were marketed in the United States, badged as Indian motorcycles and sold through Indian dealerships.

At the time, in Britain, a company named Pashley used Royal Enfield front-ends and motors to build tricycles for business use. One of these hybrids ended up, badged as an Indian Patrol Car, at an Indian dealership in San Diego, Calif.

Photo of the Indian Patrol Car as it was found.
The Patrol Car in as-found condition.
It didn't sell. Dealer George Beseler eventually began using it as a mini-pick-up truck.

It ended up in the back of the lot, and decay set in. It wasn't sold until Ed Thompson spotted it beneath a pile of junk, and become its first registered owner. Restoration and customization took four years.

As a custom with a highly polished motor, it started winning awards, and it comes with quite a collection of trophies.

Advertisement for "Completely New" Indian Patrol Car.
Indian had a Patrol Car of its own to compete with the Harley-Davidson Servi-Car.
What was "Completely New" was that now it would be a Royal Enfield at heart.
Period Indian and Pashley ads tell us what the original Indian Patrol Car looked like, but they would  have been very rarely seen in the United States.

The frame number BR015 on this Patrol Car "is a Pashley chassis number," according to Graham Scarth, chairman of the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK.

"Their records do not appear to have survived, so we don't know how many they made."

Rear of custom Indian Patrol Car.
Royal Enfield enthusiasts will appreciate the "Shell Motors" license plate surround.
Shell was a famous California distributor for Royal Enfield back in the day.
It's not clear to me how practical this custom Patrol Car may be, with three times its original horsepower and no reverse gear (be careful how you park it, and don't plan on any three-point turns in traffic).

But it sure is a looker. Hatfield Powersports can be reached at 480-848-1769. Here's a video of the custom Indian Patrol Car running. Note the operation of the foot throttle.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow royalenfields on Twitter