Thanks to the 2005 release of the movie The World's Fastest Indian, much of the general public knows the story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years building and rebuilding a 1920 Indian Scout to run at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Old Burt eventually set the land-speed world record for "streamlined motorcycles under 1,000 cc" on that bike, dubbed the Munro Special, in 1967, topping out at 190.07 mph on a qualifying run -- the fastest officially recorded speed on an Indian.
You'll recall that Indian/Polaris unveiled its all-metal tribute machine, the Spirit of Munro, at Daytona Bike Week earlier this year, in order to showcase its brand-new Thunder Stroke 111 engine and honor to Burt and his earlier machine. Jeb Scolman of Jeb's Metal and Speed in Long Beach California was tapped to build the new rig around a prototype Thunder Stroke 111, and the man managed to create a stunner of a tribute bike in just 3 months. While the new Spirit bike and engine were fired up for Daytona, most folks just assumed it was a beautifully crafted, carefully curated show pony -- a bike designed to pimp Indian's wares around the show circuit, and to sound really, really good doing it.
But you know what happens when you assume. As if to make the point , Indian has just released a short film capturing the glory and full running prowess of the Spirit of Munro. There are knowing nods to some scenes from the feature movie, but this isn't just a marketing project (which of course, it is partly); it's a beautifully shot, impeccably crafted, edited and scored piece of film that not only does right by Burt Munro, but showcases the commitment and tireless work that Scolman put into building the Spirit of Munro, as well as the efforts of others to run it and document it.
Todd Eagan took on the challenge of piloting the heretofore untested rig on a dry lake bed; it should come as no surprise that the bike tracked perfectly straight for filming. And Indian spokesman Robert Pandya estimates speeds on subsequent runs were somewhere north of 100 miles per hour, with plenty left to give. Will we see a reenactment of Burt Munro's world-record quest in Bonneville in the future?
Adam Brummond and a crew from The Factory created a masterful visual celebration of the new Indian, shooting it all in only two days, and no matter what brand you affiliate with, this film is worth a look. As a new steward of the brand, Polaris seems to be treading very carefully (rightfully so) while preserving the legacy of the Indian brand, and in this latest effort shows they're not doing it by halves.
Below are links to the film as well as a behind the scenes mini documentary that tells the whole story.
The Spirit of Munro will be on display in Sturgis this summer during the launch of the new Indian Chief.
Indian Motorcycle: The Spirit of Munro
Indian Motorcycle: Spirit of Munro, Behind The Scenes