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AMCA Pioneer - Nils-Erik Ost, Member #527

Keith Kizer | Published on 5/2/2021

Below is the unedited version of Keith Kizer's story on Nils-Erik Öst as previously published in The Antique Motorcycle. This version includes all the original text and photos which most ended up on the editor's floor for the magazine version. This also includes many side notes from the author and Nils-Erik himself. Enjoy 

Do not let the “of America” part of our club name make you think this is a club exclusive to Americans. That has never has been the case. From the very beginning years of the club, Australians and Europeans have been part of the founding blocks that make up the AMCA.

Of the 25 active AMCA members who have been members for 50 years or more, two of those gentlemen are Swede’s. Nils-Erik Öst has been a member since 1965 and is one of those members who is the proud owner of all Antique Motorcycle issues since five years after the publication was launched. 
Born in Stockholm, Sweden and for as long as he can remember, motoring has been a big interest of Nils-Erik. As a young kid he often attended speedway and ice-racing events. At the age of 14 he got his first moped and at age 16 his first motorcycle, a Husqvarna Silverpil (Silverarrow) 175cc. Nils-Erik also had an equal interest in American bikes and cars, so at the age of 18 he bought a 1946 Harley-Davidson 750 and 1928 Indian Scout.

Nils-Erik on his first moped

Nils-Erik said, “My cousin’s grandfather bought a brand new 1947 Indian Big Chief with a sidecar, which I bought from him in 1964. That one is now repainted in an Indian red color and is currently disassembled for total renovation.”
In 1965 Nils-Erik purchased the entire stock of Indian parts from a Swedish dealer called Ostermans who imported parts from the United States. Over a ten-year period, he sold Indian-parts and renovated Indian motorcycles to sell. (see pictures) One example was a 1921 Indian with a sidecar. This bike was sold to a motor history museum for their exhibition. 

Above and here is Nils-Erik and his family in 1964 with his 1947 Indian Big Chief with sidecar. This bike is under restoration today.
On of many Indians Nils-Erik has restored. This chrome model is still on the road today in Sweden
Another one of Nils-Eriks restorations.

In addition to Indian motorcycles, Nils-Erik also renovated older American cars, including a 1956´s Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. That was before American cars was enormously popular in Sweden.

Nils-Erik discovered the AMCA in 1964 through the article Art Sigal submitted to Cycle World magazine. His interest in old American bikes has kept him in the club all these years. He is also a member in the Swedish Indian club called “The Swedish Indian Society”.
When Art Sigal made a visit to Stockholm in 1968, Nils-Erik contacted the Motorcycle History Club in Sweden, of which he was a member, and took Art to different interesting places of motor history. Prior to Art’s trip, Nils-Erik supplied him with a list of 24 AMCA members from Sweden including a list of all their motorcycles. 96 bikes in all including at least 16 Harleys, 2 Indians, 1 Excelsior, 2 Henderson’s and 1 Pierce. They were able to visit XX members during that trip. 
Nils-Erik said, “I have been in the United States three times. The first time in 1976 to watch the Hambletonian trotting race that took place in Du Quoin (Trotting races and horses is a big hobby of mine too). I have named several of my horses after Indian bikes. On this trip I also visited some relatives outside Kansas City and drove around in some of the states.”
The second time in USA was in 1979, after being in contact with Bob Stark in Orange County, CA. This time he ordered a 1948 Indian Roadmaster (see pictures) which he still rides today.
Nils-Erik continued saying, “I was invited to AMCA´s meeting outside Los Angeles which my son (who was with me on this trip) and I attended. We also visited Las Vegas, Seattle and Chicago on that trip.

The third trip to the states was in 1980, to visit Bob Stark and to see the Indian that he ordered the year prior and now in finished condition.  
Nils-Erik said he knows it’s hard to believe but he has never attended the AMCA meet in the Netherlands. Even though Sweden and the Netherlands are only separated by Denmark, the event is over one thousand miles away. 
On a parting note, Nils-Erik wanted to mention that one of the connections of Swedes to the Indian motorcycle is that the father of the first 1901 Indian motorcycle, Oscar Hedström was from Sweden.

Bob Stark on the Roadmaster in Orange County, CA in 1980. Nils-Erik is standing.

Here is Nils-Erik at his home in 2019 on his Roadmaster which Bob Stark built for him in 1980. The image below is his second membership card from the club, circa 1966.

This is a collage of photos from a club meeting in Storvik, about 120 miles north of Stockholm.

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