The rivalry between Indian and Harley-Davidson in the 2017 American Flat Track Series is intense, and it goes back a long way to when the two brands regularly fought it out on the racetrack from the dawn of motorcycle racing up until Indian went out of business in 1953. While Tom White recently took possession of one of the 50 Indian FTR Scout 750s that will be produced this year, his love for the Indian brand was already evident in the Early Years collection, as he owns an example of the last factory flat-tracker that Indian produced, the Model 648 Scout.

One of approximately 50 produced – and only in 1948 – the Model 648 was a cut above the standard Scout engine. Its “Big Base” crankcase-equipped 45 cubic-inch, side-valve, 42-degree V-Twin was capable of making over 50 horsepower, and that made it a thorn in the side of the Harley-Davidson camp and their factory WRs.

Right off the bat, Floyd Emde proved the 648 Big Base’s worth when he won the 1948 Daytona 200, while factory Indian Wrecking Crew riders Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman used an even more-specialized four-cam (lobe) versions to wrestle the AMA National Flat Track Championship away from Harley-Davidson for three consecutive years (Hill, 1951-52, and Tuman, 1953).

White’s Model 648 occupies a separate wing of the Early Years of Motocross Museum, which is located on the property of White’s Southern California home. The “flat track room” is actually the family rec room adjacent to the tennis court!