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Engine on 1948 Indian Chief Fires Up for the First Time in a Decade, Ready for the Road

Together with Harley-Davidson, Indian was the only other bike maker here in the U.S. to have survived the Great Depression, and the two still go head to head, even more than a century after they were born. Yet, there seem to be fewer old Indians out there than Harley-Davidsons. And that makes Indians even more special.
1948 Indian Chief 9 photos
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We stumbled across this one on Bring a Trailer, where it is the subject of an online auction. And it’s not a simple Chief, but one with quite a story to it.

The motorcycle was manufactured all the way back in 1948, and it probably went through a number of hands. In 1982 though, it was purchased by its current owner, meaning it’s been in their possession for the past 39 years.

During all this time, some changes of course were made to it. Back in 2010, it went through a refurbishment process that saw it refinished in two-tone red over a black frame. Various servicing conducted over the years saw aftermarket parts being fitted on it, including a King clutch and a Cycle Electric generator.

The factory-made fuel tank, front crash bar, wheels, flywheels, connecting rods, and pistons have been replaced as well, but they are also included in the sale. The motorcycle currently rides on 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Avon Speedmaster tires that were barely used.

Despite owning the motorcycle for decades, the owner did not properly enjoy it over the past years. The Chief’s 74ci V-Twin engine for instance was fired up for the first time in ten years in earlier in 2021, in preparation for the sale.

Overall, the odometer on the motorcycle reads some 5,000 miles (8,000 km), but the true mileage is unknown. The auction still has five days left, and at the time of writing the biggest bid is of just $11,000.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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