SUFFIELD, CT – It was a mix of old Indians and new ones on Saturday at the annual motorcycle show at Hilltop Farm, once owned by Indian co-founder George M. Hendee, and two vintage models belonging to Martin Hansen of Manchester, CT were among the most noticeable.
Hansen brought a black 1939 Indian Chief and an orange 1953 Indian Chief, and both have back stories.
Hansen has owned the ’39 Chief since the early 1970s. He bought it from a garage owned by Billy Gere in New Britain, CT. “I traded him a ’43 Scout and came home with most of the parts for this,” he recalled. “It was running in six months.”
However, he added, “I’m still putting it together.”
Hansen got the ’53 Chief two years ago. It was originally sold at a dealer in Willimantic, CT and then passed through two other owners. Hansen said that the first owner, Ralph Brown, lost a leg in an accident at Laconia in 1958 and it then passed on to Fred Dean. Hansen bought it from Dean.
The vintage meet is a yearly ritual at Hilltop Farm, which Hendee founded in 1913. It was staged from 2008 through 2012, and then revived in 2016. The event is a fundraiser for Friends of Hilltop Farm, the non-profit, all-volunteer organization that is preserving the 7.9-acre farmstead.
“It brings people who wouldn’t otherwise come,” explained Kacy Colston, president of the Friends of Hilltop Farm. “We raise a few hundred bucks, but more than that we raise awareness. For me, it’s getting people up to the barn.”
While attendance this year was a bit lower due to a paucity of promotion, it was nonetheless worth the trip to attend.
Mark Turkington of Bolton, CT brought his 1924 Douglas and 1902 Clement Gladiator. The Douglas is driven by a Brammer linked belt. “They’re still in use today. You can adjust the length. I had to get this one from England,” Turkington said.
Other shots from the show: