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Petersen Museum Highlights Endless Motorcycle Rivalry with ‘Harley Vs. Indian’

With its latest upcoming exhibition, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will focus on two-wheeled legends and an all-American rivalry that’s lasted decade. In fact, the Petersen’s halls might be the only place where Harley-Davidsons and Indian Motorcycles coexist peacefully.

Also: Indian Motorcycles to Rumble with Harley-Davidson on AMA Pro Flat Track

Opening March 4th, “Harley Vs. Indian” will feature the long history of America’s two oldest and most iconic motorcycle brands. A special reception will preview the exhibit on March 2nd.

The two brands have a long and storied rivalry in American motoring history and within pop culture. Each has their own claims to fame. Indian beat Harley-Davidson to market, emerging in 1901. The Harley and Davidson team didn’t hang their single in Milwaukee until 1903.

Harley-Davidson is the bigger seller of the two, remaining in business through good times and bad to this very day. While a strong presence back in the market bow, Indian closed shop entirely from 1953 to its official return under the Polaris banner in 2011.

As the motorcycle industry struggles in an era of bloodless Millennial indifference, both companies are turning to different marketing campaigns. Harley-Davidson lives behind its rebel image, while Indian pushes itself as a select alternative to the traditional Bar and Shield.

Regardless of how they do business, it’s a safe bet the brands will never get along inside or outside the Petersen.