Clawson, Royal OakJuly 23, 2013
Two local men show off vehicles at annual Concours d’Elegance
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
CLAWSON/ROYAL OAK — Gordon Rinschler’s Clawson workshop is lined with seven Indian motorcycles.
The oldest was built in 1928 and the most modern built in 1950 — just years before the company stopped manufacturing them.
But the retired Chrysler engineer and current Birmingham City Commissioner says his eighth Indian motorcycle project is different from the rest.
“This one found me,” he said, beginning the story of how he obtained the 1940 Indian motorcycle that will be on display at the 35th annual Concours d’Elegance at the grounds of St. John’s in Plymouth July 28. The event is labeled as an opportunity to showcase the “finest classic autos and motorcycles,” according to a press release.
Royal Oak resident Frank Markus will also be at the show with his 1967 Maserati Ghibli coupe.
For as far back as he can remember, cars have fascinated Markus.
“I could tell all my parents’ friends what kind of cars they had when I was just a toddler,” recalled Markus, now a technical director at Motor Trend magazine.
Markus said he fell in love with the Maserati while working at Car and Driver Magazine. Back in the 1990s, Markus said the staff was doing a poll on what each person thought was the most beautiful car. After doing some research, Markus picked the ’67 Maserati coupe and knew that he wanted to buy one of his own.
In 2000, he found one at a local dealership and bought it the weekend of the Woodward Dream Cruise that summer.
“I actually had to drive through the Woodward Dream Cruise to get home,” Markus said.
This August will be his 13th year with the coupe, a move he’s glad he made because of the sports car’s affordability and low maintenance.
“It’s a car that you do feel comfortable driving to Chicago or driving to Atlanta,” he said.
Unlike the rest of his motorcycles, Rinschler is building the 1940 Indian in the style of a “bobber,” a mid-20th century term to describe a racer bike.
“The whole thing is just stripped down, light, lean and just a basic motorcycle,” he said.
Rinschler said more than three years ago, a woman came to his shop, noticed his several Indian motorcycles and told him her father had one sitting in his basement not being used.
Rinschler had his doubts.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, they don’t pan out, but I was just like, ‘What the heck,’” he said.
He checked it out and discovered that it was indeed an Indian motorcycle.
“The thing was just left to pieces,” he said.
He bought it in February 2010 and brought it to his shop. A couple of fabricated parts, several paint jobs and a mix of period-correct parts later, his motorcycle is ready for its debut — at least he hopes.
“I’m just finishing just in time now,” he said.
At the time of the interview, he was still waiting for his gas tank’s paint job to be completed before he could test ride it.
“And if everything goes well, it should be ready for the 28th,” he said.