This video is about a 1935 Indian Big Chief now fitted with a 1948 year 1210cc or 74cubic inch engine. The Indian Big Chief was a popular and good selling motorcycle that Indian first introduced in 1923,and continued with its production right up to 1953 when Indian ceased production.
Experience the exhaust sound, a brief road run and great selection of close up detail .
Born in 1901 the Indian name quickly grew as their motorbikes gained in both reputation and popularity, and by 1910 were the biggest motorbike manufacturer in the world. Indian were serious about racing and featured well in both track and board racing, in 1905 manufactured their own ‘factory’ racer and in 1911 at the famous Isle Of Man came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Indian’s two most popular models were the Scout, 1920 to 1946 which was the favoured motorbike in both world wars, and the Indian Chief 1922 to 1953. Indian also made a 4 cylinder bike http://www.americanmotorcyclenews.com/indian-four-1940/ which was really in a class of its own.
The Indian Chiefwhen first released 1922 had a 1000cc [61 cub in] engine, replaced in 1923 with a 1200cc [73 cub in] engine and named the Indian Big Chief. Intended more for sidecar use it was popular as a solo motorbike aas even in the early days there wasnt any substitute for more power. This engine continued right up to 1948 when it was upgraded with capacity now at approx 1215cc [84 cub in]. In 1950 the Chief was redesigned including telescopic forks, rear suspension and a 1300cc [79 cub in] engine. Although still a desirable bike Indian had made the costly mistake of ceasing domestic production during WW2 manufacturing solely for the military.
This move might have been good for cash flow during that period but problem was when the war ended Indian’s dealer network had virtually disappeared, its domestic market now non-existent, consequently it struggled big time trying to survive and ended in bankruptcy in 1953. Had the company hierarchy put their brains into gear and thought of what their plans post-war should be it would be obvious they needed to keep some domestic production going. It may have meant rationing supplies going to their dealers, but as sales would be much slower most dealers would have stuck with Indian as the war effort was of number one importance.
All is not lost however, anyone wanting a pre 1953 Indian motorbike Kiwi Indian manufactures replicas of the Indian Chief, and other models. Kiwi has a large catalogue of replica spares, plus some original parts.
Special thanks to Bigflat41 for this video, and photos which are screen shots. Also thanks to Wikipedia, a never ending source of detail information.