It's no secret that the Indian Motorcycle Company has had some struggles in its nearly 110 years of history. But for as much turmoil and reincarnations the company has gone through, there are many highlights shining through its storied past. Probably the most notable of which is the Chief. Since its inception in 1922 the Indian Chief evolved and flourished into an iconic motorcycle model with its classic full figured and swept body style. With its elegant stance and fine details the Chief can easily be appreciated as much by a die-hard motorcycle lover as it can by a non-motorcycle enthusiast who may just catch a glance of one sitting in the local grocery store parking lot. This pristine Indian Chief you see here might not have had a chance to wow on-lookers and still putt the streets if it wasn't for Paul Doucher.
Heel-toe foot clutch.
Up front these two springs help smooth out the ride, while at the back of the sidecar a leaf spring setup handles the heavier loads.
Up front these two springs help smooth out the ride, while at the back of the sidecar a le
While Harley was utilizing a rigid frame, Indian had this plunger style rear frame suspension.
While Harley was utilizing a rigid frame, Indian had this plunger style rear frame suspens
It's funny how sometimes life seems to put people in the right place at the right time. Such was the case with Paul and his 1948 Indian Chief. If it wasn't for Paul this beauty of a machine might have just been another unfortunate notch in Indian Motorcycle history. You see Paul stumbled across the bike in an old barn in the Louisiana area. And while the bike was in parts and boxed up, everything was there to make it a complete rebuild. Paul made the purchase, and had all the parts shipped to Ohio-just after the parts were shipped hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on Louisiana-like we said, right place right time.
Once he had all the parts in his possession Paul worked with Fowler Engineering on the complete rebuild of the 74ci Flathead engine, Linkert carb, and three-speed transmission with hand shifter. The plunger style frame (Indian procured the first American motorcycle with spring rear suspension) was thrown in a frame rack and straightened up a bit. The girder/spring frontend was completely rebuilt, so were the 16-inch front and rear spoked wheels. Since he had the complete bike in parts, everything was given a nice shine and show-like appearance before reassembly, the frame and girder received a fresh coat of black. Paul says the Gouding sidecar is an all-steel body from the early '40s and when it was stripped for fresh paint, he found a faded coat of army green underneath, making him think that it was possibly an Army surplus unit. All the original sheetmetal and the sidecar were given a flawless two-tone Mustang Yellow and Bright White paint scheme courtesy of Lou George of Lou George Hot Rods.
When it came to reassembly, the only re-popped accessories Paul used were the mirrors. Other than that the stock bars with internal throttle, stock foot controls and foot clutch, split gas tanks with the oil tank in the right half, and of course the most distinguishable pieces-the full skirted fenders-were used. Even when re-wring the bike Paul kept with the original style electrical system with a six-volt generator setup.
After two-and-a-half months of hard work and restoration, Paul had a complete matching number, road worthy masterpiece. The kick-only Chief fires to life reliably and gets lots of road time as Paul uses it as a daily rider. Paul is proud to have one of the most sought after and recognizable classic motorcycles not only amongst Indian fans, but among general motorcycle and antique collectors as well. Right place, right time.