Return from WWII – 1946 Indian Chief

In America, Cruiser by Tom WackerLeave a Comment

Share Button

In 1946 Indian resumed production after the war with exactly one model: the Chief. The Duponts were actively trying to sell the company and decided that just marketing their most popular model was the economic choice for the company. Turns out that was another decision that contributed to the demise of Indian.

The 1946 Chief wasn’t just a redone 1941. Though some ‘46s were sold with the old leaf spring front suspension (the example at Barber Museum has a leaf set up) a brand new girder and spring front suspension was standard. Coupled with the softening of the rear plunger springs made it notably smoother riding. The standard three speed transmission could have an optional reverse added or replaced with a four speed option.

The 1946 Indian Chief used a 73.83 CID (1210 CC) air cooled four stroke side valve V-Twin motor that made an estimated 40 HP with a standard three speed hand shifted toe clutch transmission and would go 85 MPH. A girder and spring front suspension with over 5 inches of travel and a plunger rear suspension, drum brakes front and back, and a weight of 550 LBS completed the package. Here’s a gratuitous photo of Jay Leno looking at the bike on a run. The owner has the ball cap on.

This 1946 Indian Chief is located in Burbank, California and is listed as a completely sorted survivor. The motor has been changed, so numbers do not match. It is obviously a rider that the owner has owned for near 25 years. One cool feature is the original battery has been cleaned out to accept a modern battery with the original look. The bike is currently priced at $12,105 with reserve not met

Indian Timeline
Motorcycle Classics – Barber’s Best
How Stuff Works

Share Button