Indian Motor Works has passionately restored and refurbished Indian motorcycles for over four decades. The history of this company is inextricably linked to the life and work of the founder and owner, Jeff Grigsby as well as the history of the Indian brand itself. At the beginning of the 19th century the Hendee Manufacturing Company of Springfield, Massachusetts began manufacturing Indian motorcycles. For two decades the brand was the leading edge of racing innovation, technology and progression. Unfortunately due to poor leadership and larger economic forces the company closed its doors in 1953. But, today thanks to restoration specialists like Jeff Grigsby, the Indian name is recognized all over the world and renowned for the high performance and eclectic motorcycles no longer in production.
Jeff Grigsby knew at an early age that his calling was to be found in motorcycles. At age 17 he was offered a full time job working for Chubbuck’s Harley Davidson in Pasadena, California. Grigsby states, “I had been working at the dealership for about month, when at lunch the owner Stillman Chubbuck, “Chubby” came up to me and said I had a promising future and would make a good motorcycle mechanic. I really appreciated the encouragement he gave me, and I knew right after that conversation that motorcycles would be a life time passion…”
In 1972 Grigsby began a journey that would ultimately put him on the path of becoming an accomplished machinist and a prominent motorcycle builder. A few years later Grigsby and couple of buddies decided to move to Colorado in hopes of starting a new life in the Colorado Rockies. Grigsby landed in Boulder, and got a job in one of the most fully facilitated, privately owned machine shops in the state of Colorado. Owner and mentor, Ed Gitlin, took a liking to Grigsby and hired him on a probationary time period. Within a month Grigsby was working full time for him. Along with offering to apprentice Grigsby, Gitlin also allowed him to open his own service, “Grigsby’s Precision” in the same building where he specialized in Harley Davidson and Indian engine blueprinting.
Not long after, opportunity called. In 1977 Grigsby purchased a lot of 35 Indian motorcycles from a past Indian dealer in Fort Collins, Colorado. Grigsby knew that this would be the inventory he needed to start building his own motorcycles and his own business here in Colorado. Grigsby continued working for his mentor Ed Gitlin as he knew it was imperative to develop skills as an accomplished machinist to achieve the highest quality rebuilds and restorations possible. For years Grigsby worked eight hours a day in Gitlin’s machine shop and then would work eight more hours in his own shop restoring Indians. This diehard work ethic and ever deepening knowledge of Indian motorcycles fueled Grigsby’s passion for making engines run smoother, and restorations better and better. This would carry him through the years as his passion developed into a successful Indian restoration and refurbishing business.
It has now been over four decades since Grigsby began his journey of building quality and integretous machines that could be ridden hard and still maintain solid value. In that time IMW has continued purchasing large inventories of Indian motorcycles, parts, and memorabilia (some of these acquisitions containing more than 100 original Indian motorcycles and semi-loads of parts). Since 1972 Miles Reece, a long time friend and employee of IMW also had a passion for these classic machines and enjoyed all aspects from minor repairs to full restorations. His affiliation with IMW began part time in the late 70’s and became full time in 1995. Today, Jeff Grigsby and Indian Motor Works are renowned for their restorations and services as well as the wealth of knowledge they have amassed over the years with regards to the history, and intricacies of the Indian brand.