Lil’ Miss Red

Article By: Matt Reel

Photos By: Chris Callen

Originally Published In The September 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Father and son projects are some of the greatest things gearheads can do together. I will always remember working with my dad on my first car and I’m sure a lot of you share the same fond memories. The Indian you see here is kind of a long term, somewhat father/son project. I know, sounds confusing. Let’s see if I can make it a little clearer. Around about 2000-2001 when the chopper reality TV hit the screens across the country Steve Rinker decided he wanted to build a little Hot Rod bike for himself. Now, don’t get the idea that Steve is one of those guys that saw it on TV and decided he could be a bike builder. You see, Steve has restored and modified numerous Indian motorcycles. He also has an amazing Indian Museum that he graciously opens up to the Cycle Source crew during the Big Mountain Run. Another reason you must attend. Anyway, back to the Indian. Steve took a 30 c.i. Military 741 engine he had and bored and stroked it to 52 c.i. He then had a set of tanks made and found some original WWII Pin Up art that was reproduced on them. Then, like with a lot of us, other things took over and the engine was stuck in the corner and the tanks hung on the wall of the museum.

Now, one of Steve’s twin sons, Justin, was about 15 years old during this time and would go in the museum, look at the tanks hanging on the wall and tell his dad he would build a bike around them one day. Over the next several years Justin and his brother would work on projects together and with their dad learning their way around Indian motorcycles. They even had a pair of Indian Scouts that they rode to high school their junior year, literally every day. Now let’s jump to just a couple years ago. Justin has graduated high school and then college and is living in Illinois. While home visiting his family he mentions to his dad that he is looking for a project. Steve begins loading Justin up with parts, including the stroker 741 and those painted custom tanks he always looked at. Also included in the parts was on original 1927 front fork that had spent part of its life on a Wall of Death bike, a piece with some pretty cool history. With everything back home Justin began the tedious process of mocking up to get the fit and finish just right. Something I learned from Steve about the assembly process of these bikes is that due to the frame and engine design many of the parts have a specific order that they must be put together. All this making the mock up process very time consuming. With everything fit up the way he wanted Justin then took to making the exhaust and painting the rest of the bike to go with the gas tanks that started it all. Then back together one last time. Or was it?

Once everything was together it was realized that when then engine was originally built it was never properly timed. Since the engine was built with a different crank to create the stroker the timing marks could not be used for timing. The head would have to come off and the piston height measured, with the piston set at a specific height the ignition could be set up. With this being the only method of timing, Justin decided to bring the Indian back to his dad and let him set it up since he had the experience. This was lucky for us and you since the Indian was at Steve’s museum while we were there during this year’s Big Mountain Run. While it may have taken 15 years to build and covered multiple states you can see now how this was a father son build. So, get out there with your father, son, daughter, mother, whatever it may be and make something cool and create some really great memories. You’ll be glad you did. I know I will always treasure the projects I shared.

Lil Miss Red Tech Sheet

Owner: Buck’s Indian

Fabrication By: Justin Rinker

City/State: Romney, WV

Year: 1941

Model: Military Scout




Year: 1941

Model: 741

Builder: Steve Rinker

Ignition: Joe Hunt Magneto

Displacement: 863cc/52ci

Pistons: Honda

Heads: Indian

Carb: 741 Linkert

Cam: Indian – Stock

Air Cleaner: Indian – Stock

Exhaust: Indian – Stock

Primary: Indian – Stock


Year: 1941

Make: Indian

Shifting: 3 Speed, Jockey


Year: 1941

Make: Indian

Rake: Stock

Front end

Year: 1927

Make: Indian

Model: Leaf Spring


Front Wheel: Honda 305 Scrambler

Size: 19”

Front tire: Dunlop

Front brake: Stock

Rear Wheel: Indian

Size: 18”

Rear tire: Dunlop

Rear brake:


Painter: Justin Rinker

Color: Red & White

Type: PPG

Graphics: Frostburg Sign & Graphics



Hand Controls: Front Brake

Risers: Flanders – Original

Fuel tank: Iron Hourse Corrall

Oil tank:

Front Fender:

Rear Fender: Custom

Seat: Healters Leathers

Foot Controls: Clutch & Rear Brake

Headlight: 1928 101 Indian

Taillight: 1940 Indian

Speedo: None

Photographer: Chris Callen

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