10 quick facts about the Indian Larry

Motorcycles looked their best to us until a man showed they were pretty basic. This man was none other than the incredible metal sculptor, skilled machinist and legendary motorcycle mechanic commonly known as Indian Larry. Taking inspiration from the motorcycle clubs of the 50s and 60s, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and the great Von Dutch, Larry built the most iconic bikes ever seen in his time, adopting a style that perfectly fuses classic choppers with hotrod racing bikes.

Indian Larry’s fan base was huge. His eccentric nature fused with a unique and colorful appeal has drawn many people to the enigmatic man. He stayed true to his style, re-popularizing the tall, stripped-down handlebars, no front brakes or fenders, the rake choppers that dominated the ’60s. But at the height of his craft, Larry tragically lost his life. Larry can never be replaced, and although he’s gone, his legacy of amazingly built helicopters lives on. We tell you more about this icon of the making of choppers.

ten Influenced by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth

FaceBook 4
via: FaceBook

The eldest of three children, Larry was born into the family of Augustine and Dorothy DeSmedt on April 28, 1949 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. Larry’s father, Augustine, was pretty strict and wanted his son to resume his carpentry trade.

via: Iron Merchant

However, as a young boy growing up in Newburgh, New York, Larry became extremely fascinated with motorcycles. It was influenced by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, an iconic California artist and hot rod builder whose style would become quite evident in Larry’s motorcycle designs.

RELATED: These Are The Sickest Custom Cars Ed Roth Built

9 Named after the Indian brand

via: Pinterest

Notably, the “Indian” named Larry was born out of his early days in building and riding Indian motorcycles. Although he had several nicknames growing up, Indian Larry seems to be the one who stuck. Larry was completely happy with the nickname, as one of his interviews revealed, as he wasn’t too excited about his other nicknames.

via: Timothy White

He was born Lawrence DeSmedt but became widely known with his nickname in the 1980s as he often rode the streets of New York on a chopped Indian motorcycle.

8 Abuse suffered

via: Reddit

Larry had a troubled childhood. He was reported to have suffered ill-treatment while studying at a Catholic elementary school. At school, the nuns would punch Larry on his fingers until they bled, then isolate him in dark locked cupboards. Too terrified, Larry kept these ordeals to himself, never telling his family.

via: FaceBook

However, his mother was observant enough to see the bruises on his knuckles, and when she asked him, Larry would tell her that he had injured himself during the fighting. However, the family later learned of Larry’s ordeal.

seven Bought his first bike as a teenager

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Larry bought his first motorcycle as a teenager. Precisely, it was a 1939 Harley Knucklehead that he bought for around $ 200 at the time. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Larry revealed how he dismantled the bike within hours of owning it, but that it would take him about nine months to figure out how to reassemble it.

Indian Larry
via: Born to Ride

Larry would later travel to California to learn motorcycle making from his idol, hot rod builder Ed (Big Daddy) Roth.

RELATED: Here’s Why A Harley-Davidson Inspired Electric Chopper Bike May Be Right For You

6 lost his little finger

via: National Motorcycle Museum

Larry didn’t grow up with full fingers. A popular version of the story behind the loss of the finger claimed that Larry built a bomb as a child in his parents’ basement, intending to blow up the Catholic school he had been in. mistreated. Unfortunately, the device detonated prematurely, severing the little finger of Larry’s left hand.

via: Timothy White

However, another side of the story claims that Larry lost his finger while building a rocket for July 4th. Asked about it during an event, Larry did not provide direct answers.

5 was a perfectionist

via: New York Times

Huge fame came in the 80’s for Larry for his incredible skills in making motorcycles. As a child, he honed his manufacturing skills by learning to weld at Conrad Stenglein in the Newburgh area of ​​New York.

via: Timmothy White

While learning the trade, Larry showed incredible attention to fine detail, an attribute that was far above normal for a teenager. It has been reported that whenever Larry was not happy with the job, he would take it apart or cut it off, just to start the process all over again. An obsessive perfectionist.

4 Went to jail

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Larry’s sister, Diane, was murdered in 1971. The event and the heartache that followed exhausted Larry emotionally, leading him to become so addicted to drugs that he became addicted. He also had problems funding the drugs, which is why he resorted to store robberies.

Indian Larry
via: Timothy White

In 1972, a cop undercover operation led to Larry’s arrest as he left a bank he had just robbed. As a result, Larry was sentenced to three years in prison. He was sent to Sing Sing Prison at the age of 23.

3 changed his life

Indian Larry
via: Motorcycle Specifications

Surprisingly, Larry’s time in jail turned out to be a life-changing moment. While incarcerated, Larry passed his General Education Developmental (GED) tests. He also read a lot, asking for books on philosophy and other subjects, as well as a dictionary from his mother.

via: Roadside gallery

Additionally, while in prison, Larry took courses in welding and mechanics, and it is widely believed that he honed all of his best mechanical skills while serving his sentence. Notably, Larry was released from prison in September 1976.

RELATED: 9 of the Most Beautiful Custom Choppers We’ve Ever Seen (1 That’s Hideous)

2 Winner of the Serial Build-Off

Chain mystery
via: Mecum

Larry’s motorcycle manufacturing prowess is unmistakable. Her very first creation of a helicopter was built from her sister’s little tricycle. He added an engine from an old mower and a set of monkey-to-tricycle suspension handlebars, eliciting a big stare as he drove him around his neighborhood.

Chain mystery
via: Mecum

However, after learning the ropes of motorcycle building from the best hands in the industry, Larry would later cement his name as a master chopper builder by winning construction competitions with the production of Daddy-O (Rat Fink), ” Wild Child “and the incredible” Chain of Mystery “motorcycles.

1 Died in 2004

via: FaceBook

Among Larry’s highlights are bicycle stunts. A great performer, Larry also sadly died from head injuries sustained during one of his stunts. Larry fell off his motorbike while performing a stunt in front of some 8,000 excited spectators in an arena outside of Charlotte.

via: Indian Larry

He was pronounced dead on August 30, 2004 at the age of 55 at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Indian Larry was cremated and his ashes were kept by his family.

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