1946 Indian Chief
Year of manufacture1946
Indian built motorcycles in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1901 until 1953. Founded as the Hendee Motorcycle Co. in 1897 as a bicycle manufacturer by George M. Hendee, the company name was changed to the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Co. in 1923. Indian built its first V-Twin in 1905, quickly proving its mettle in racing competition. During the 1910’s the company became the largest motorcycle manufacture in the world. The first Chief model was introduced in 1922; remaining in production until the company was forced to close due to bankruptcy.
The Chief was literally the backbone of Indian motorcycles. First introduced in 1922, it was launched with a 1,000 cc motor; enlarged to 1,200 cc the following year. In 1940, all models received the trademark skirted front fenders and the Chief received a new sprung frame that was deemed superior to rival Harley-Davidson enhancing both ride and handling. After WWII, the V-twin Chief remained the sole offering in the company line-up. When it comes to style, few bikes could match the Indian Chief which continued to influence motorcycle styling for years to come.
This beautiful Model 346 Roadmaster is finished in a striking deep Indian Red (the firm’s trademark color beginning in 1904) and tipped by chrome trim on the front and rear fenders. It is powered by a 40 bhp 1,200 cc air-cooled side valve V-twin engine and shifted via a three-speed manual transmission. It was acquired by its previous owner in 1984 who treated the motorcycle to a comprehensive restoration to original condition. Restoration was completed in 1986 following which it received its AACA First Junior, Senior, and Grand National Awards.
Equipped with chrome-plated driving lights, a distinctive fringed saddle-seat, dazzling chrome trim and period-correct white wall tires, it makes for quite a memorable appearance. It was sold to the consigner in 2017. It has been used sparingly while in his possession and it continues to present beautifully. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo20.