Acquired from Clem Murdough
1952 Indian 80ci Big Chief
Frame no. C961108
Nowadays Indian is remembered mainly for its powerful, large-capacity v-twins, which first appeared in the 1900s and lasted in production right up to the original company's demise almost half-a-century later. First seen in 1907, the twin was based on Indian's highly successful single and, like the latter's, its rear cylinder continued to form part of the frame until 1909 when Indian adopted a loop frame of the type favored by rivals Harley-Davidson. In 1911 Indian broke new ground yet again with their ohv four-valves-per-cylinder racers and then in 1916 a new 61ci (1,000cc) sidevalve v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced to replace the original 'F-head' type. A smaller model, the 600cc Scout, joined the Powerplus in 1920 and then two years later the range was extended to encompass a new, Scout-based 1,000cc model - the Chief - the first of a noble line that would endure until 1953.
Constantly developed, the Chief had gained a new frame and forks, dry-sump lubrication and coil ignition by 1940, that year's models being notable as the first to have plunger rear suspension and the deeply skirted fenders of the quintessential Chief. With war looming, Indian increasingly turned to the production of military models, the Army version of the Chief emerging stripped of its skirted fenders and chromework and finished in drab olive green. Indian's first significant post-war development was a change to girder forks for the 74ci (1,200cc) Big Chief, by then Indian's only model. In 1950 the Chief's engine was stretched to 80ci (1,320cc) and a telescopic front fork, left-foot gear shift and right-hand throttle twist-grip adopted, the latter for the first time on a production Indian. Changes made to the last-of-the-line 1952/53 Chiefs were relatively minor, the most obvious being a smaller front fender and the adoption of a bench-type seat.
This late-model Indian Chief was acquired from Clem Murdough, former AMA Champion Class C Racer, who had bought the motorcycle from Eddie Fisher, a Triumph dealer in Cottesville, PA.
- Please note, the number listed in the printed catalog as the Frame no. is actually the Engine no.
Please note, that the title for this motorcycle is in transit, and that this bike is titled under its engine number
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