By Carley Dangona
WESTFIELD – History and family come together with the return of the Indian Motorcycle to the Pioneer Valley.
Dennis Bolduc, a third-generation Indian Motorcycle owner and rider, is the owner of Indian Motorcycle of Springfield, 962 Southampton Road. The 3,200 square-foot shop will celebrate its grand opening on March 22, but has been in operation for the past six months during its construction.
The sales floor features the newest editions for sale as well as a vintage collection of bikes that spans 100 years from Bolduc’s personal collection. Memorabilia is also displayed throughout the shop including the jumpsuit of former Indian racer Whitey Westenberg. The outside façade is modeled after the former Springfield factory.
“I’m happy to have anybody in here no matter what they ride,” Bolduc said. “I’m tickled pink to be the guy bringing Indian Motorcycles back to the Pioneer Valley. It really means a lot – it’s hard to describe – it’s important to me.”
In 1901, the Indian Motocycle Company created “America’s first motocycle.” The original company closed a result of the difficult economic times created by World War II. After several unsuccessful attempts to bring back the brand, Polaris Industries Inc. purchased the company in April 2011. The 2014 collection features the Indian Chief Classic, Chief Vintage, or Chieftain.
“I’m sure I was still in diapers,” Bolduc said of the time he took his first ride on an Indian Motorcycle. The family history now extends to a fourth generation, with the addition of his daughter Kim as a rider.
He described the business as an “enthusiast dealership,” where he enjoys sharing stories with the customers of all ages who have taken part in the Indian motorcycle history. One lady served as a tester for the company in the 1940s and can’t wait until the warm weather returns so she can take a ride in the sidecar of a 1946 Chief that Bolduc promised her.
“If they buy a bike, great, I hope they buy, but there’s no pressure to do so. I’m enjoying a lot of new friends here. We’re offering a different kind of dealership; we offer a choice that provides a local history connection,” Bolduc said. He noted that there is a sense of camaraderie as a result of the history the area and its residents have with the Indian Motorcycle Company.
Manager Laura Lee Bertram explained that Polaris invested $100 million into the research and development of bringing the Indian Motorcycle back. She said that the Polaris designers and engineers rode vintage Indian Motorcycles to “capture the essence” of the brand in order to bring it forward with modernized flair.
Bertram described Bolduc as a “walking encyclopedia” and said Indian Motorcycles are “his love and his life.” She noted that seven of his vintage bikes are on display in the shop, including his grandfather Joseph’s 1949 Indian Arrow that comes with skis for winter driving.
Initially the store was considering a location in the former Indian Motorcycle factory in Springfield, but chose its Westfield location for its ample parking, ingress and access to multiple routes for test drives. Its services American and metric motorcycles and has riding apparel and safety equipment for sale.
Bolduc, a former Staff Sgt. in the U.S. Air Force, is also involved in charity work having participated in events such as the Brightside For Families and Children Toy Run. He said that the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke is near and dear to his heart but he “just wants to help out” however he can for anyone in need.
The dealership is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Starting April 2, the dealership will host a Bike Night every Wednesday at 6 p.m. All ages are welcome
For more information, call 642-3846 or visit www.facebook.com/IndianMotorcycleofWestfield
. A website is soon to come.