1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster

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

Lot 179
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster

US$ 30,000 - 40,000
£ 25,000 - 33,000
Amended
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
· Indian Motor Works restoration
· Hidden electric starter
· Top-of-the-line Roadmaster trim
· Windscreen and leather saddlebags

No motorcycle is as easily identifiable as a skirted Indian Chief. Penned by Indian designer G. Briggs Weaver, the streamlined art-deco fenders gave the Chief the most distinctive silhouette in motorcycling. For a style so associated with the brand it's surprising that the outrageously valanced fenders didn't make their first appearance until 1940, some 39 years after the company's founding. Indian went all-in on the design, outfitting Scouts, Chief and Fours with the new tinware. With WWII looming and Indian increasingly turning to production of stripped-down military bikes, though, all civilian models was phased out. Following hostilities, only the Chief made a return, as did those fenders, but the 1948 Model 348 was intended to be the last of the breed, supposedly a stopgap until the company's advanced Dyna-Torque ohv vertical singles and twins came on line. These were meant to blunt a postwar invasion of highly competent lightweights from England, and hopes were high at the bikes' rollout in 1949. "The world's most modern motorcycles!" brashly claimed the advertisements.

Unfortunately, when the new models hit showrooms there were niggly quality-control issues—ignition was faulty, fork seals leaked, primary chains stretched, some bikes left the factory without grease in their wheel bearings. Financially strapped, with millions of dollars plowed into R&D, Indian had rushed the Arrow 220 and Scout 440 into production, and paid the price. And while the problems were all relatively easy to fix, when the British government devalued the pound sterling by 30% in late '49, effectively cutting the purchase price of Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons, etc. by one-third, it spelled the end for the new lightweights. That left the venerable Chief to soldier on, a flathead design in an increasingly overhead-valve world. Even a bump in displacement and switch to modern hydraulic telescopic forks could not stave off the inevitable. Chiefs were still being sold when the Springfield, Massachusetts factory shut its doors in 1953.

For many, the pre-1950 girder-fork Chiefs offer the best styling, as the later tele-forks, trimmed front fender and bench-style seat threw off the aesthetics a bit. This 1948 Chief Roadmaster, in a classy two-tone Indian Red-and-black, certainly illustrates the point. A matching-numbers machine, it was recipient of a fame-up restoration in 1996 by highly respected Indian specialist Jeff Grigsby at his Indian Motor Works shop in Colorado. Typical of the shop's 'no stone unturned' approach to rebuilds, Grigsby kept the original fenders, gauges and headlight, but added rideability via welded aftermarket gas tanks, new rims with stainless-steel spokes and, best of all, a nicely hidden electric-starter kit. Useful period accessories include twin driving lights, a windscreen, fringed leather saddlebags and a rear-fender luggage rack.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is 3488871. The engine number is CDH3871B. Please note, the title will be in transit.
Contacts
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
1948 Indian 73.6ci Chief Model 348 Roadmaster
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 FOR THIS AUCTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

For MOTORCYCLE property (Lots 101-211) the premium is 15% on the first $100,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the hammer price exceeding $100,000. Buyers are required to pay any applicable import duty, sales or use tax, as the case may be.

For MEMORABILIA property (Lots 1-16) the premium is 27.5% on the first $3,000 of the bid price, 25% on the amount above $3,000 up to and including $400,000, 20% on the amount above $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000, and 13.9% of any amount which exceeds $4,000,000.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, or (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact: [email protected]

App