1953 Indian Chief
Year of manufacture1953
Engine numberCEJ 1099
1953 Indian 80ci Chief
Frame no. CS6761
Engine no. CEJ 1099
* First-year 80ci engine (see text)
* Last-of-the line model
* Dating from the final year of production
Nowadays Indian is remembered mainly for its powerful, large-capacity v-twins, which first appeared in the 1900s and lasted in production right up to the original company's demise almost half-a-century later. Based on Indian's highly successful 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) single, the twin arrived in 1907 and continued in this form until 1916 when a new 61ci (1,000cc) 'flat head' v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced. A smaller model, the 600cc Scout, joined the Powerplus in 1920 and then two years later the range was extended to encompass a new, Scout-based 1,000cc Chief model - the first of a noble line that would endure until 1953.
Constantly developed, the Chief had gained a new frame and forks, dry-sump lubrication and coil ignition by 1940, that year's models being notable as the first to feature plunger rear suspension and the deeply skirted fenders of the quintessential Chief. With war looming, Indian increasingly turned to the production of military models, the Army version of the Chief emerging stripped of its skirted fenders and chromework and finished in drab olive green. Indian's first significant post-war development was a change to girder forks for the 74ci (1,200cc) 'Big Chief', by then Indian's only model. In 1950 the Chief's engine was stretched to 80ci (1,320cc) and a telescopic front fork, left-foot gear shift and right-hand throttle twist-grip adopted, the latter for the first time on a production Indian. Changes made to the last-of-the-line 1952/53 Chiefs were relatively minor, the most obvious being a smaller front fender, an "Eighty" tank decal, a right-side engine cowl, and the adoption of a bench-type seat. Less obvious were the British-made Amal carburettor and handlebar controls. In this, its final form, the Chief weighed 520lbs and in stock form had a maximum power output of 50bhp, which was good enough for a top speed of 92mph. Most owners though, would have preferred cruising at a more gentle pace to allow onlookers greater opportunity to admire their magnificent 'Iron Redskin'.
This beautifully restored 1953 Indian Chief has been fitted with an 80ci motor dating from 1950. There are no documents with this Lot.