1928 Indian Chief  Frame no. CH152
Lot 287
1928 Indian Chief Engine no. CH152
Sold for US$ 46,800 inc. premium

Lot Details
1928 Indian Chief  Frame no. CH152 1928 Indian Chief  Frame no. CH152
1928 Indian Chief
Engine no. CH152
Entering the 1920's, Indian was the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. The company's most successful motorcycle to date was the diminutive 37 cubic inch Scout. The Scout shared a similar side-valve engine configuration to the existing 61ci Powerplus but included numerous refinements to the engine and chassis.

The first Indian Chief was introduced for the 1922 model year and was designed to compete against the larger motorcycles offered by several of the competitors, and provide an able sidecar machine. The most important advancement of the new 61ci Chief was the motor used a separate cam to operate both intake and exhaust valves for each cylinder. The new Chief utilized one-piece cylinders and heads but gained separate cylinders and heads for 1927. Like the Scout, the new Chief joined the three speed sliding gear transmission with the engine through an aluminum cast primary case. Helical cut gears transmitted the power from the crankshaft to the transmission and were lubricated by oil common to the transmission case. Although the helical gears were more expensive to manufacture and emitted more noise than a chain primary drive, they were oil tight and absolutely bullet proof.

The new Chief engine was placed into a double tube cradle frame and rigidly secured by two points at the front of the frame and a single point at the rear of the transmission, an advancement that would last until the end of Chief production some 30 years later. Front suspension used a robust form of Indian's leaf spring forks originally debuted in 1910.

Feeling competition from upstart rival Harley-Davidson who were already marketing a 74ci overhead valve engine, Indian decided to up the ante for the following year. The Big Chief of 1923 boasted a new 74ci engine through increases in both bore and stroke of the engine. The boost in engine size increased top speed to about 70mph. The plan worked. The new Big Chief quickly became the best seller of the Indian offerings for both private riders and for the lucrative police force contracts.

This Indian features front brakes, a mid-year refinement. It has a full electrical system, with head and tail lights, tank mounted ammeter, and a Splitdorf DU-7 generator. It also has a period rear luggage carrier, mirror and handlebar mounted horn.

This motorcycle is believed to be from the collection of the late actor, Steve McQueen. McQueen was an enthusiastic motorcyclist and competitor, and became an ardent collector during the 1970's. This is an opportunity to own a piece of American culture as well as part of American motorcycle history.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this bike is titled under its engine number
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from tax

Zero rated for VAT, no VAT will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.

Contacts
  1. Motor Cars (US)
    Auction Administration - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 415 391 4000
    FaxFax: +1 415 391 4040
Similar Items