It must have been about 5 or 6 years ago that I was looking at Chopper Dave's website. I noticed an old ad for Linkert Carburetors. I knew that Linkerts were the OEM carbs for old HD bikes but I never gave them much more thought. At the time I was busy with my newly purchased BSA and its Amals. What caught my eye about the ad was the address of the Linkert Factory.
It was right in the heart of Fountain Square, a neighborhood I knew well, on the south side of Indianapolis. The location corresponded to Bud's Supermarket. That small ad started a quest for more insight into how a couple square block area manufactured, refurbished or supplied hundreds of thousands of carburetors for Harley Davidson, Indian, Ford and who knows what else.
Linkert and Langenkamp and Wheeler-Shebler both had foundries cranking out pallets full of carburetors to be sent all around the world. Carburetor Exchange had a very sizeable operation employing close to 100 people as drivers and technicians. Without carburetion internal combustion engines are just a lump of cold metal. The corner of Sanders and Shelby in Fountain Square was an epicenter of carburetor manufacturing. Shamefully no historic marker exists, even in a city such as Indianapolis renowned for its 500 mile race and auto manufacturing history which at one time outpaced Detroit.
I pitched an idea to my friend Guy Bolton for a piece about the Linkert factory and its neighbors. Due to my procrastination it took me several months to pull it all together. But it is finally done and will be appearing in Greasy Kuluture #8. Look for it on your local newstand.
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