The model displayed in 2005 was a working replica of the 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle as modified by Burt Munro for his 1962 record attempt at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, United States. It became known as the 'Munro Special'.
Two replicas were made in 2004 by a small team led by Wayne Alexander at the Britten Motorcycle Company factory in Christchurch. This one has an engine displacement of 860cc (the original had a displacement of 55 cubic inches or 883 cc); 96mm stroke, 74mm bore; overhead valve 42½º V-twin; heads manufactured off Burt Munro’s patterns and castings; and rocker gear machined from high tensile aircraft aluminium alloy.
There are some other minor variations between the replica and the original. The bike at Te Papa has a streamliner made of carbon fibre, while the original was made of fibreglass. In the replica, the major stroke of the engine is a little longer because proprietary con rods have been used. As well, the replica engine is slightly taller (the muffler is one inch longer) with marginally smaller pistons.
The replica displayed at Te Papa was on loan from Roger Donaldson and Gary Hannam, who with Roger Donaldson, co-produced the film The World's Fastest Indian."
Incidentally, John Britten (1950-1995), creator of the record-breaking Britten bike, had an early encounter with an Indian Scout - at the age of 13, he found an abandoned Scout partly buried in an irrigation ditch near Gore. With a mate, he fixed it up and rode it around Christchurch. A Britten bike is on display on Level 4, by the Espresso café.