The Story of Big Red
My Nearly First Indian
By BOB STARK
Bob Stark started riding US motorbikes and Cushman scooters at the age of 10. This was in 1944. His son Gary has the edge on him since he got his first Indian at age 4 (a 50cc Mini-Mini).The following story of “BIG RED” is how BOB obtained his second INDIAN. It would have been his first one, but fate stepped in and…well, just read the story to see what happened.
THE STORY OF BIG RED
I was born in Springfield, Mass. in the Spring of 1948. I was delivered to BOB STARK’S father, CHARLES STARK who was the Akron Ohio Indian dealer, for my initial sale. He sold me to a nice Young gentleman who was my companion for only a few short weeks. We covered only 1,760 miles together, when Uncle Sam stepped in and drafted him into the Army for a two year duration. I patiently awaited his return for those two long years while residing in his mother’s garage. Suddenly there was an unexpected turn of events. A letter arrived from him dating that he had signed up for another enlistment and would be gone for another four years. He was worried about my well being and figured another four years of setting alone would not be good for me. He told his mother to dispose of me in the method she determined beat. She decided she needed a new car! so she traded me in at the Dodge dealer on East Market Street in Akron. This gave me a terrible feeling of being unwanted.
I was now alone sitting on a used car lot and not liking it much. On my fourth day there, a young high school kid rode in on his Cushman Motorscooter. We immediately had a feeling for each other and I hoped that he might
become my new companion. I heard him talking to the salesman end learned that he was BOB STARK the son of the dealer who initially sold me. My sale price was $450.00, but BOB did not have this much and the salesmen did not wish his scooter on trade. BOB told him he would return soon. BOB talked to his father who said he could buy me if he saved up his own money, but could borrow none from him.
During the next four weeks BOB visited me nearly every day. We had developed a good feeling for each other by then. The salesman was getting tired of being bothered by BOB, until he was notified that BOB was saving money for me and was up to $425.00. I was really looking forward to the final $25.00. Then another disappointment entered my life. The next day an elderly (by comparison then) gentleman, about 32 years old, walked in and laid down the $450.00 required for my purchase. He filled my tank with gas and rode me home.
The next year was again quite lonely. My new owner and I went for only two rides, and he never even had to add any more gas to my tanks. I heard him talking to his brother one day from my obscure location in the back of his garage. He had called The Akron Beacon Journal and listed me for sale – this time for $325.00. The next day the garage door opened and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There stood that same kid again. BOB came running to me in the same state of disbelief. He looked at my odometer and asked my owner if I was sick since he had ridden me only 65 miles in slightly over a year. It seems that my owner had ridden the 500cc Model 741 Scout during the war, and the power of my larger engine had frightened him. I knew BOB figured he had just found a long lost friend. You never saw $325.00 change hands so fast, and my dream of becoming a companion to the kid on the scooter finally happened.
Bob confided in me that he had looked for me so hard, and wanted me so bad, that he never intended to sell me. This incident happened Forty four years ago and we have been life long companions since then. When BOB obtained me I had 1,825 miles on my odometer and I now show 231,000 plus miles. I have never been restored, but have had whatever care has been necessary to keep me healthy. We still attend all of the large western meets together, and have had a lot of fun and all types of adventures. We have aged together but I believe that BOB shows the wear and tear a bit more than I.
In June 2015 Bob Passed away and his son rode Big Red Leading the funeral processional and continues to ride Big Red to this day on many of the local road runs.