1953 Indian Chief
Frame no. CS61041
Engine no. CS61041
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. Based on Indian's highly successful 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) single, the twin arrived in 1907 and continued in this form until 1916 when a new 61ci (1,000cc) 'flat head' v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced. 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 Chief model - 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 feature 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.
One of relatively few Chiefs completed in 1953, the final year of production, the example offered here was purchased at a Chicago auction in September 1999. At that time it was stated that the Indian has been restored and painted by Bollenbach Engineering, whose proprietor Pete Bollenbach had sold the machine to the then owner, Schaumburg Toyota Inc of Schaumburg, Illinois in November 1993. Since acquisition by the current vendor the Chief has been kept on display in his private museum in the UK and will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. The machine is offered with an old State of Illinois Certificate of Title, assorted auction paperwork (including the Bill of Sale), shipping/importation documents and an ignition key.
- Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit