1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523

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Lot 143
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief
Engine no. BH 1523

Sold for US$ 41,400 inc. premium
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief
Engine no. BH 1523
• Fully restored example
• Fitted with the desirable 74 CI engine

When contemporary motorcyclists think of the Indian Chief, they envision the postwar models featuring full skirted fenders. However the Chief goes back into the 1920's and was actually the twinning of two earlier motorcycles from the iconic Springfield company. As Indian's Powerplus of 1916 was beginning to get old by 1920, it became apparent it was time for an upgrade. The Powerplus, Indian's first venture into the sidevalve motor, had a single cam actuating the valves for its 61 inch engine and the chassis featured a pair of leaf springs for rear suspension as well as a leaf spring front fork . With the introduction of the Chief for 1922, the new 61 ci. motor retained a sidevalve configuration but from the diminutive 37 ci. Scout came two cam shafts to work the valves and an enclosed primary drive using helical gears to transmit the power from the crankshaft to the transmission. And gone was the unconventional rear spring assembly. The Chief was essentially a bigger Scout. And in the following year, 1923, the Big Chief became available with a 74 ci motor to remain competitive against Harley-Davidson.

The Chief and Big Chief soldiered on the next few years with incremental improvements however both models had to compete not only with rival competitors Harley-Davidson, Henderson and Excelsior but with Indian's own Scout and the new four cylinder Indian Ace where corporate development funds were funneled. Perhaps Indian was the Chief's own worst enemy as the company promoted the Scout where the Chief was supposed to shine.

The Indian Chief was advertised primarily as a sidecar machine and for police departments across the globe. Despite the company's infatuation with the Scout, the mighty Chief represented the majority of sales.

This 1927 Indian Big Chief features the 74 cubic inch displacement that would become the standard for decades to come from the Wigwam and its 30 bhp could power the motorcycle to an estimated 70 mph. It's a stunning restoration that will surely please the next owner. Finished in Packard Blue with a white fuel tank and set off with gold pin striping, the motorcycle is an absolute jewel. It's the first year for detachable cylinder heads. Indian Chiefs had a double front down tube on their cradle frame, a feature not found on the company's competitors and added to the secure feeling on the road. Also retained was the aluminum, oil bath primary case, linking the engine to the transmission. Included is a speedometer with 28,716 miles indicated and an Indian ammeter mounted on the upper frame rail. This is an exquisite motorcycle sure to become a favorite in any collection.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • The title is in transit.
Contacts
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
1927 Indian 74ci Big Chief Engine no. BH 1523
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