The eponymous Harley-Davidson excepted, surely no American motorcycle is as fondly regarded as the Indian. Built in Springfield, Massachusetts, initially by the Hendee Manufacturing Company, the first Indians arrived in 1901. In 1911, the factory team made a 1-2-3 finish in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race. During that decade, the company was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.
Introduced in 1922, the Indian Chief became the company’s principal model, a vee-twin of 1,200 cc. A front brake was added in 1928, the year the company was renamed Indian Motocycle Company [sic]. A new Easy-On gasoline cap became a very popular feature. Later additions were skirted fenders and a new sprung frame that predated Harley-Davidson’s rear suspension by two full decades. By 1950, however, the company was in dire straits and production ended in 1953.
This 1936 Indian Chief is attractive in Indian’s archetypal brilliant red with a fringed black leather seat. Correct Indian-head decals proudly accent the fuel tank and the iconic Indian script is cast into the aluminum foot rests. Expertly restored, it is an excellent example of an iconic, vintage Indian, and is bound to give a new owner much satisfaction. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/am19.