Charles Manthos and his Prototype Indian Motocycle

June 19, 2018–June 30, 2019 Wood Museum of Springfield History

The late Charlie Manthos, a professional metallurgist and ardent Indian Motocycle collector, had an entrepreneurial vision of bringing a new, locally manufactured Indian Motocycle back into production. Working with two former Indian employees, Earl “Pop” Armstrong and design engineer Jimmie Hill, he created a prototype based on the 1953 Indian Chief, the last of the original Indian production line. He hoped to take it to market in 1975 but his dream was never realized.

Manthos became a lifelong enthusiast for the Springfield-made cycles when he rode his first Indian as a young man in the 1930s. After decades of assembling a personal collection of Indian motorcycles and memorabilia he and his wife Esta opened their own Indian Motocycle Museum in 1974. Manthos passed away in 1996 at the age of 79.  Knowing that Charlie wanted the Indian collection to stay intact and in Springfield, in 2007 Esta Manthos made a generous gift of the collection to the Springfield Museums.