Black Beauty! 1946 Indian Chief

The Indian “Chief” motorcycle is one of those rare designs that just looks “right” to almost everyone that sees it. This restored (no, it’s not a “barn find”, but we thought you’d like it anyway) 1946 beauty in gloss black is listed for sale here on eBay, where early bidding is over $13,000 but has not yet met the reserve. The seller, who lives in Plattsburgh, New York, is giving up the bike reluctantly due to their age.

Although the original Chief was produced from 1922 until 1953, there were many incremental changes made during that time period. One of the most interesting improvements debuted on the 1946 model when all 3,621 Chiefs built featured front girder forks.  This was a substantial ride and suspension travel upgrade over the pre-war leaf-sprung trailing link design. The new suspension was first used on the wartime 340-B military Indian.

As far as this gorgeous bike goes, we’re told it was restored (reportedly by Starklite Cycles, a Californian parts and restoration shop specializing in 1933-1953 Indians) in 2007. The seller purchased it a mere 10 miles (but 10 years!) later and has run the odometer up to 1549 miles since.

The bike has matching numbers and is obviously in beautiful condition–and the ad states that it starts and runs as well as it looks. The only modifications from the original specification are the addition of a generator/alternator and a lithium battery (the original generator and regulator come with the sale).

There’s also a “buddy seat” included with the sale that is similar to the current single seat but larger. While I was researching this post, I found similar bikes that have sold for around $50,000; where do you think this one will end up, Barn Finds readers? Have you ever owned or ridden a classic Indian? How do you feel about the newer (1999-on) Indians? I look forward to your comments!


  1. SMS

    Oh man, give me this on a warm Sunday morning and my face would hurt from smiling.

    Like 13
  2. geezerglide85

    Harleys had buddy seats Indians had chummee seats. Same thing though, both were pretty tight with a passenger. A lot of today’s newer seats are almost like a couch, good thing as people today are a little “wider” than they used to be. That said this is one nice looking rig and is going to make somebody smile. I just hope they ride it and keep the shiny side up.

    Like 14
  3. Jeffrey Dunn

    None of the glass look to have the Indian Imprint

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Another one that can come to my place without objection. Sure makes me sad to think that I can only dream of a bike like this one. It also makes me sad that Indian couldn’t keep going back in the 50s. They were great bikes…

    Like 4
  5. douglas hunt

    this one would be a blast to ride for sure …..

    Like 2
  6. Les Reed

    very nice.
    My only involvement with the name – here in the UK – was owing a “Brockhouse Brave” Indian: a puny 250cc side valve, made in the UK.
    OK bike, but so gutless.

    Like 1
  7. AL Kinney

    Great looking bike I’m going on 65 alot of new Indians here in Charleston SC . People I know that have them love them I’m a die hard Harley Davidson guy . Seeing this bike tells me it’s time to restore my 68 FLH .✌ Ride safe rubber down paint up happy 4th

    Like 1
  8. Stugdum

    I could never figure why early Indians we worth much more on the open market than their H-D counterpart. I took over 2 years to fully restore a 1942 H-D WL and it looked just as good, if not better than this Indian. Sold it 10 years or so ago for AUD$12,000. Should have kept it me thinks now!

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for 25K.

    Like 1

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