Summer 2002 Editorial
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The Virtual Indian Connection
or Old meets New
 By Lyle Landstrom

Many years ago, a man by the name of Columbus dared to cross the unexplored seas to try and establish a shorter trade route to the Indies. At the time, it was no small undertaking. When Columbus finally reached the Antilles islands he thought he had reached the Indies and therefore called the natives Indians. The name stuck. The term was originally meant for native people from the Old World but has since been used for people from the New World. Although he died never knowing the significance of what he did, he connected the Old World with the New and linked the Indian name to this connection.

About 400 years later, two European migrants to the New World got together and founded a motorcycle company. They wanted a name which epitomized its American roots, and chose the name Indian. Everyone who saw the name Indian knew it was manufactured in America, the New World.

Around the turn of the next century, another European living in the Old World started the Virtual Indian website and dedicated it to the manufacture of improved Indian parts. Not just stock replacement parts but hot-rod go fast items to make that old machine roadworthy well into the twenty first century. New parts for old bikes. 

I really can't remember the first time I surfed onto the Virtual Indian website. I do remember the theme of making an Indian from totally aftermarket parts, an idea I found intriguing. At the time, there were some pretty cool ideas presented on the site. Some guy in Ohio was experimenting with what he called the Motovalve. Another was working with a Harley after-market supplier on a generator made to fit the Indian bracket. And someone else was working on oil pump internals. I had a few projects of my own and decided to send a letter with some pictures of some castings I make, and these in turn were posted on the site. 

Around this same time, I discovered there was an email message list associated with the site. People from all over the world with the common interest of Indian Motocycles were engaged in daily discussion, not just about the bikes themselves but working on them and riding them. These people had a wide range of experience. I could learn a lot from them and decided to join the List. 

Now when I was a kid, I never had any pen-pals. But when I joined the List I had an instant couple of hundred. Many were from overseas. The Virtual Indian is truly an international consortium of people with a common interest. It doesn't matter what politics their native country follows. The only thing that matters is the common interest of Indian Motocycles.

Since it's inception, the Virtual Indian has been a springboard of new parts from both the Old World and the New World. These parts benefit riders on both sides of the ocean. But just as with the explorers, journeys, and past history of the Indian factory, there have been some setbacks. Making new parts isn't easy. Nor is publishing regular issues on the web of the best all-Indian magazine ever. 

One thing is for sure, there have been many exciting things happening and there are more to come. Read about them here. Because the Virtual Indian Magazine is very much alive. 

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Lyle had an article about pattern making and casting on the VI, is the main power behind the Warpath Project and has just taken over coordinating the Blueprint Project.
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