Indian 1946 Chief 1200cc Frame # 346 6902 Engine # CDF66902
Is there a more iconic shape in American motorcycling than a skirted Indian Chief? Those big valanced fenders are unmistakable; then, as now, they set the bike apart from anything else on the road.
For a style so associated with a brand, it’s surprising that the fenders didn’t make their appearance until 1940, some 39 years after the company’s founding.
Indian went all-in on the design, outfitting Scouts, Chief and Fours with the new tin ware.
For many, the pre-’50 girder-fork Chiefs offer the best styling. After that date, telescopic forks were fitted, which threw off the aesthetics a bit in many people’s opinion.
The 1946 brochure’s opening sentences are surely tempting: ”Drop into the saddle of this newest of Indian motorcycles … spin the engine into action…and enjoy the motorcycling thrills that wait you as you ride this great new Chief! Performance, amazing handling qualities, and a smoothness and comfort new to motorcycling are yours with this first 1946 Indian presented for your inspection.
Most notable is the new front fork…of Indian truss design with dual soft-action coil springs, hydraulic shock absorber controlled.
New fork action holds the front wheel to the road…results in handling qualities proven most satisfactory under severe testing.
Then, Indian’s Spring Frame has been further developed with more flexible springing allowing the rear wheel to “float” over rough surfaces.”
This 1946 example has matching frame and engine numbers.
The former owner has restored it to his own personal taste: note the high-quality paintwork with Indian head images airbrushed on the petrol tanks and the many accessories and luxurious add-ons such as the chummy seat and extra lights.