1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 149
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair
Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B

Sold for US$ 44,850 inc. premium
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair
Frame no. 3391827
Engine no. CCI1827B
• Last year of the open-fender Chiefs, first year for metallic paint
• Restored as a showpiece, zero miles since build
• World's Fair paint scheme

Think 'Indian Chief' and images of the iconic post-1940 skirt-fendered models no doubt come to mind. In fact, the Chief came into being way back in 1922 and by comparison those early versions were practically stripped-down in appearance. Charles Franklin was the man responsible for first the 1920 Scout and then that inaugural Chief in '22. Multi-talented with a fertile mind, Franklin was born in Ireland, trained as an electrical engineer and became a very good motorcycle racer with an affinity for the Isle of Man island road course. In 1911 he was a rider on the Indian team, finishing second in the Senior TT as part of an unprecedented 1-2-3 sweep for the American manufacturer.

Recognizing Franklin's usefulness, Indian hired him in 1916 to be part of the Springfield factory's engineering staff. Soon promoted to Chief Engineer, he took on the aging 61ci Powerplus V-twin and thoroughly revamped it for use in the 1922 Chief. The next year saw displacement bumped to 74ci for the Big Chief, ostensibly intended for sidecar use, but fast solo riders were soon putting to good use the extra oomph that 1200cc brings. Sadly, Franklin has just 10 more years to live as cancer took him in 1932, aged 52, but he should always be remembered as the man who put one of America's great motorcycles on solid footing.

By 1939, the last year for open fenders, the Chief was a premier road bike that had helped Indian weather the dark days of the Depression. The USA's newfound optimism was on display that year at the New York World's Fair. Indian's full-line brochure for '39 played up the prestige of having the event stateside and used renderings of the fair's pavilions as backgrounds to the new bikes. A revised paint scheme was unveiled, still employing the Chief headdress but with a contrasting band of color and different pinstriping, described simply in the copy as "streamlined tank paneling." Because of the brochure's artwork, though, this soon became known as the "World's Fair" paint job. More paint-related news was that for the first time metallic colors were available on the Chief – fitting as Indian was being run by E. Paul duPont of the famous DuPont chemical conglomerate, which included an automotive paint operation among its many endeavors.

Restored over 2 ½ years during its time in the Jalbert Collection, this matching-numbers 1939 Chief with metallic blue-and-silver World's Fair paint is unabashedly over the top, intended as a show-stopper, as if it were bound for an Indian Motocycles stand at the exposition had there been such a thing. Crankcases, floorboards and primary cover were polished, the cylinders and brake drums were nickel-plated, while wheel hubs, rims, the fork's leaf springs, the rear prop stand and sundry fasteners were all chrome-plated – though it should be pointed out that a dedicated owner in '39 could certainly have done likewise. Something not available back then was laser-etching, which was used here to transfer the design of a vintage World's Fair subway token onto the Chief's chromed air-cleaner cover. The bike has been on static display in Mr. Jalbert's climate-controlled "bike shed" since its restoration and has not been ridden.

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
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
1939 Indian 74ci Chief Worlds Fair Frame no. 3391827 Engine no. CCI1827B
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

Please Note: The Buyer's Premium is as follows:

For Motor vehicle property, the Buyer's Premium is 15% of the first $100,000 of the bid price, and 12.% on any amount exceeding $100,000.

For AUTOMOBILIA, and other non-motor vehicle property the premium is 25% of the first $250,000 of the bid price, 20% of the amount of the bid price above $150,001 up to and including $4,000,000 and 12.50% on any amount exceeding $4,000,000.

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. 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 licenses please contact [email protected].

Special Car Dealer Notices

For all registrable motorcycles, Bonhams will be working in conjunction with Nevada dealer Munari Auctions Inc., number DLR000042175