To the untrained eye, the image depicted in the Antique Motorcycle Foundation logo appears to be a generic motorcycle. In fact, it is inspired by a rare, one-of-a-kind historical artifact that is owned by the Foundation. It is the Torque Four, a prototype motorcycle that was the subject of development beginning in 1943, and that Indian was still developing when it ceased production in 1953. In addition to its historical significance and rarity, the Torque Four is unique in that, since the mid-20th century collapse of Indian, stewardship of this machine has been shared by only three individuals, all of whom are members of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America family. They include AMCA founders Ted Hodgdon and Henry Wing, Jr., along with AMCA Past President and longtime Chief Judge Dr. John Patt. Upon Dr. Patt's death in 2006, the machine was acquired by the AMCA, then transferred to the Antique Motorcycle Foundation.
Following World War II, Indian was seeking a new direction in order to keep pace with Harley-Davidson and hold off the onslaught of the British imports. This experimental motorcycle, designed by Briggs Weaver in 1943 for the Torque Manufacturing Company, was one of two four-cylinder designs under consideration to become the flagship of a whole new line of Indian motorcycles. In the end, however, neither Four was put into production.
To develop its new line of motorcycles, which would be more like the imported lightweights than traditional American V-twins, Indian acquired Torque in 1947. That acquisition created the opportunity for a “modular” engine concept, wherein many of the same parts could be used in a 220cc single and a 440cc twin. It was only logical to extend this concept to an 880cc four-cylinder model. The new 220 Arrow and 440 Scout were introduced in 1949, but the venture was a disaster. After spending heavily on a new factory, Indian rushed the bikes into production without adequate development and testing. Initial production models failed with such regularity that the reputation of the line never recovered. The Torque Four represented an ambitious vision that would have brought Indian into the modern era. But the dream ended when the company ceased production in 1953.