Military Chief – 1940 Indian Chief 340B

In America, Cruiser by Abhi4 Comments

I’ve featured a few Harleys that were built for the military, but the Indian Chief 340B is the first military Indian I’ve been able to find for sale. Essentially a civilian model that was slightly modified for armed service duty, this was a rare bike – as far as I can tell, only about 5,000 were produced.

Indian Chief 340B - Gauges

The French army ordered a large number of these 5,000 in 1939, and they were being shipped over in stages. When France surrendered to the Germans, the British decided to take over the contracts from any American companies selling war-related items to the French, avoiding the sticky issue of military equipment produced in the US being utilized against the Americans by the French. Different countries had slightly varying specifications on their 340B orders – the French bikes captured and utilized by the Wehrmacht had passenger seat equipment and the base model air cleaner and tail-light. This also means it was one of, if the not the only, motorcycle used by both sides in appreciable numbers in WWII. The best source of information I’ve been able to find, if you want more, is a thread in the Antique Motorcycle forum. Other 340Bs (like ones later ordered by the Canadians and Brits, as seen here), had military grade air cleaners and no passenger seat.

Indian Chief 340B - Right Rear

This specific Indian Chief 340B (VIN: CDO929) is a matching numbers example that was restored by Robin Markey. It comes with the gun scabbard and leather saddlebags.

Indian Chief 340B - Front Right

Find this Indian Chief 340B for sale in Butler, Pennsylvlania with a BIN of $41,999