Remembering Indian Larry

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December 27, 2011 | By: James Simonelli

Editor’s Note: Indian Larry was the legendary machinist, metal-sculptor and motorcycle mechanical genius out of New York who built a style of bike that was a cross between a classic chopper and a hot-rod racebike. He won dozens of custom bike show competitions, and raced and performed in movies and television productions. This guest blog post is written for J&P Cycles by James Simonelli of BAKER Drivetrain, who is a frequent contributor to IronWorks Magazine. Here’s his take on Indian Larry.

I took this picture of Indian Larry back in June of 2003 at the Laconia Rally in Laconia, NH. Larry was a pretty cool guy, and he was really gaining in popularity, receiving his well-deserved place in the spotlight. They were filming a Hugh King live Biker Buildoff show between Larry and Paul Yaffe.

I was worked with Larry a lot at that time, helping him out with motor stuff for special projects. Larry never got a big head, and he was never too proud to stop whatever he was doing to give a fan an autograph or just shoot the shit, no matter what his schedule was. Me and Opee (John Olson) got to hang out with him a lot that weekend. I invited him to take a test ride on my 140-inch 170-horsepower Superglide and at first he said he was reluctant because it had shocks and wasn’t really his style. But he finally agreed and split for about 20 minutes, coming back with an ear-to-ear grin like a kid in a candy store. Later that day, I watched him autograph a girl’s hoo ha on a picnic table with a Sharpie marker. Yeah, those pens really will actually write on anything! That was my favorite Indian Larry moment. We miss you Larry, you were one of the greatest. Rest in Peace, Bro.

Any other Indian Larry fans out there? Tell us about your experience with this bike-building legend by leaving a comment below

Comments: 33 Comments | Categorized Under: Guest Blog Post, Uncategorized

Comments (33)

I also met Indian Larry at Rally in Poteet the year before his departure to biker heaven and he was a totally amazing guy! Down to eart and fun and knew no stranger! My girlfriend and I have an amazing pic taken with him and I cherish it very much! Also have a signed T-shirt from that rally that I have never worn and was so thankful that I kept it as a memory and have his autograph to remember what a fabulous guy he was! His bikes are so amazing and I would give my right arm to own one but guess I will have to hang with my Sporty for now!! One day we will all see him and his Gasoline Ally in the sky of diamonds in which he makes them shine that much brighter!! God Bless You My Friend and all who knew and loved you!!! RIDE HARD!!

I met Indian Larry when he and Billy Lane were riding for the discovery channel Biker Build Off. the club i ride with was providing security for the evening. They were two of the clssiest guys i have dealt with in a long time.Obviously the crowd was pretty aggresive and all wanted to be a part of the party.
As the evening wound down they both picked up our tabs and singned autographs for us in appreciation, I now have the vest that they both signed in a display case.
I would never sell such a memory,,,,,,,,,,,,

You had to love Larry’s Shovel / Pan Head. Forever In The Wind………

That’s an ingenious way of tkhining about it.

The thread about Larry is consitant.Genuine that would be.Took time for the unheralded little guy.Met him in Sturgis at Biker Build-Off comp and very down to earth fellow.Can’t say enough positive accolades!

Larry was one of the best. He Loved INDIANS & Harleys !! I have an Indian 74 Chopper for 27 years and have had many Harleys. Indian Larry never forgot how he got that name plus his talent with HDs was incredable. He is missed and loved by many. Whitey 1%er

They don’t make people like Larry anymore one of kind old school. at a bike meet Larry seen Tats on my arms of Princess Bev Larvie a Rosebud sioux and the other arm of Crazy Horse. I told him i was half breed Sioux and white and that i was a basterd among Indian and white men Larry looked in my eyes and called me brother with a big smile. that ment a lot to me at age 19 Iam 54 now i know Larry is with Great Spirt and rideing his iron horse God Bless you my Brother. You are Missed – Wally White Feather.

Met Indian Larry back in the late 80′s at his shop, well before TV. He had purchased my old 1955-45 Trike that was wrecked and he repaired it and had it for sale at hi shop, I just happened to be coming out of NYC that day and saw it parked in the street by his shop, so I proceded to truck on over and mention to Larry that the Trike was mine, and he replied “the heck it is !” I said yea I built her from a basket then had to sell it, ran short on cash to live on, that guy wrecked it and how it ended up in Brooklyn NY was beyond me.. Larry was an awesome person, very knowledgable about ALL HDs plus.. Really was bummed when he passed…
Miss you Man RIP ‘?’ Wolfman Cycles NC

larry was a great biker and motocycle builder .loved his work ride on indian larry r.i.p one day ill be rideing nexts to you .

Larry was and is an inspiration for me. Rest in peace brother.

I met Indian Larry IN Tennessee at a Bike Show. I bought a shirt from Him and He signed a poster for me. it is hanging right in front of me behind my Desk where it has been since 2004. Larry talked to me like he had known me all of my life. He was a Genuine Nice Guy and the Best Bike Builder .

I loved Indian Larry’s bikes. Clean simple lines, infinitely rideable, and just damn good looking. The weren’t like the pieces of shit that the Tuetuls crank out. Liked the way the oil filter was hung on the side of the frame. Totally badass.

Larry was one of a kind guy. Someone with a caring heart. Had time for everyone. Great smile. Came to Spooner, Wi. for a bike show. Was so polite to everyone. We will always have Larry in our Hearts.

Met him at a bike show in boston and he loved the people no matter who you were but he didnt need the wings added to his logo because thats what made him fly away,he definitly went to heaven.hope to ride with him someday.

My 9 year old son and I met Larry in Daytona back in 2003 (Bike week). He stopped and talked to us for quite a while. He was real cool guy. Larry took the time to talk to my son and include him in the conversation.

My son got his autograph and I took a picture of Larry. The picture now hangs over my work bench in the garage. Larry you are missed.

R.I.P. Larry alway’s enjoyed watching you on T.V. you left us doing what you Loved see ya on the other side.

My 1st meeting with Indian Larry was in 1991 @ an upstate NY M/C ralley.At that time he owned Psyco Cycles in the east village.I am a native new yorker and we discussed his builds & the neighborhood.He was very open & friendly.Over the years, we met many times in Coney Island.He rode his Hardtale over the many bumps on the Belt Parkway like he was riding on clouds.{Full out & enjoying the journey,Dam he could fly !}I participated in his many Blockparties in Brooklyn.They are not the same with him gone.
Miss you bro !

I don’t know if am fortunate or unfortunate,I was at the event where Indian Larry was killed could not believe it was happening right in front of us.

larry was a class act and in my opinion the best bike builder there was RIP you are sadly missed

Thanks for keeping larry’s memory alive!

Moog is out of line!

Thanks for keeping Larry’s memory alive!

@moog. I’m sure it makes you feel smart to leave such a comment but in my opinion you are way out of line. Larry started riding way before helmet laws existed and was the norm to ride a harley without one.

As far as the article goes thanks for keeping Larry’s memory alive by continuing to praise his genuis and his kindness.

RIP Larry
the great ones go too soon!

He is one legend I would have loved to meet and shake his hand. He was one of a kind and I always enjoy everything I ever see or hear or read about “Indian Larry” Thanks for taking me back to the Man the Legend.

I was looking forward to riding to Ocean City Maryland Bike Week for one reason….to meet Indian Larry. I watched him on TV and loved his bikes. I couldn’t wait to get to his vendor booth and as I got closer and saw the bikes sitting there I was so excited. It took a few minutes for the news to register….he had died and wasn’t there. I stood there for a little while hoping it was a bad dream. It wasn’t. Very Sad day for me. Rest in peace Indian Larry. I missed you and miss you still. Love, Wheeler

A couple years ago I was riding my 02 Buell X1W on Interstate 29 between KC and St Joe Missouri when I pulled up along side Indian Larry’s shop truck pulling their trailer. Paul Cox was in the passenger seat and I reached over and handed him one of my “WILLIE G’S BASTARD STEPCHILDREN” Buell owner tired of the BS patches. When the episode of Biker Buildoff aired, I saw the patch on Larry’s office wall.
I always thought that was pretty cool

Indian Larry was a true biker, a dying breed of man, he is missed. He was and is a role model for anyone who has the ability to wrench on there own iron, and feel the satisfaction that it brings to be truly independent and free!!! R.I.P. Bro. (I wish I had the opportunity to meet the man)

Enjoy the rides in the heavens. We will all be there one day riding the skys.

JOHN “DOG” LOFTIN
TYLER TEXAS TREASURE
SONS OF TEXAS MC.

I got to meet Indian Larry at a bike rally in Poteet Texas the year before his death. He was the type of guy you could walk up and talk to like he knew you his whole life, and never too busy to shake hands with a fan.

That year I rode to Poteet with a friend on his custom chopper that he had built. Both Indian Larry and Paul Cox saw his custom and came over to peruse his creation, commend, share suggestions and ideas. Not many guys of his experience would even take the time to acknowledge a home builder, much less take the time to check out his work.. .. Indian Larry was in a class of his own.. and he is missed.

Thanks for brining back the memories.

paul

I doubt there will ever be another bike builder like Indian Larry. Truly a man who perfected functionality and beauty in rolling steel form .I hope Paul Cox and his crew at Gasoline Alley are still keeping Larry’s dream and legacy alive .

we were at sturgis 2004 and my buddy’s bike lost the electronic ignition , and we were behine the h-d shop tearing it apart when indian larry comes out of nowhere and said we needed a small screw driver and off he goes and comes back with one and we got it out and he said there was a guy under the tent there that has a basket of them that h-d was way to expensive so we went and bought one and i found him later to return his screw driver and ended up buying one of hes frames and i have been offered a lot of money for it but will never sell it because of him.

Please refer to article on helmets.

Please refer to helmet law

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