From the collection of AMCA Technical Advisor "Red" Fred Johansen
1947 Indian Chief
Engine no. CDG 6947B
During 1947, Americans were reveling in the post-war era, enjoying sport riding along the vast highways and byways of the nation. Indian offered the Chief as their sole product, its 74 cubic inches offering brute power in this reliable and time-tested power plant. Coupled with extreme good looks, the Chief became an instant American motorcycling icon.
Instantly recognizable as the epitome of Americana, these post-war era Chiefs are still eminently usable on modern roads. It is perhaps the best blend of style and usability in vintage motorcycling. 1947 was the final year of the amp gauge, before the cheaper warning light appeared on the '48. 1947 also marked the final year of the virtually indestructable iron oil pump, far superior to the aluminum replacement that surfaced the following year. The 1947 style needle bearings have been converted over to the improved bushing in the forks however. An indistinquishable improvement from view.
This is a matching numbers example, restored to its original guise as obtained by Indian expert "Red" Fred some twenty years ago. "Red" Fred kept the bike as the rare Clubman version of the mark, Sportsman and Roadmaster trim-lines being more common. The Clubman features black wheels, handlebars, and spill bars, plus the comfortable solo saddle. These details lend to the subtle, yet striking presentation of the Seafoam Blue paint work, done in Centari.
Starting with an excellent example, "Red" Fred sympathetically restored this very complete bike to show standards. Many parts were replaced with NOS components, including the front fender light, amp gauge, and ignition switch. The exhaust, wiring, fender trim, and saddle were also replaced. The fender tip is an extremely rare NOS unit. Everything else on the bike is original.
Noted Indian guru Francis "Cliff" Clifford, known for his work with San Francisco Indian dealer Hap Jones, assisted in the engine rebuild. All new Indian parts were used, as well as Oley Cams and an improved Greer clutch.
All the sheet metal is original, with the tanks being rebuilt and sealed. It is very exceptional to find a Chief with all original sheet metal, handle bars and spill bars. NOS tank emblems were sourced to complete the visual presentation. The bike comes complete with the rare illuminated license bracket, and a period 1947 plate.
As a testament to the thoroughness of the restoration, this bike was judged at 99 ¾ points. The ¼ point deduction was due to a slightly weathered, though original, speedometer face, which "Red Fred" refused to discard for a new reproduction. Since retiring from the show circuit, the bike has been used on various AMCA Road Runs and performs very well. Period accessory matching grips and kicker pedal have been added since the bike was judged.
Even after returning to road use, this bike was featured in the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d'Elegance for display only, where it received countless compliments on its presentation. Perhaps the finest post war Chief available, this bike would be equally suitable for touring or show duty.
US$ 35,000 - 40,000
£23,000 - 27,000
27,000 - 31,000
- The frame number for this motorcycle is 3476947 and the correct engine number is CDG6947.
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