The Story of How This Indian Chief Chopper Slipped Through My Fingers

Of the almost 400 motorcycles right here Inside Wheels Through Time Museum there Are some absolute show stopper customs And this is one of them take a listen This thing sounds incredible So as you can see we're right here in Front of the chopper graveyard here at The Museum one of the visitor favorite Exhibits here at Wheels Through Time now The last video we did we were firing up The 1912 Excelsior and a lot of you guys Noticed we were right here in front of The graveyard we got a ton of comments About tell us about the Choppers so That's exactly what we're doing today we Decided to pull out my 1942 Indian chief Chopper so absolutely one of my favorite Bikes in the exhibit one of my favorite Bikes that I've ever built period now I'm a Harley guy I don't build a ton of Indian stuff so this actually first Indian I've ever built was something Totally off the wall for me I'm into old Bikes you know teens era stuff 20s eras 30s era uh so building choppers really Isn't my thing so I had some great Inspiration all these years looking at The chopper graveyard some of the ultra Cool machines right here in the exhibit We've got the Coke machine a lot of you Guys probably heard of Ron Finch built Bike some Ultra Cool XL CH Choppers the Dual carb vard knuckle my 51 pan over Here girder bike Ultra Cool Club bike

From the 60s right here with the hype of Trumpet pipes and of course Purple Haze Another one of my favorites we're going To be doing a show on this one really Soon super famous bike from the 70s that We've had here at Wheels Through Time For almost 20 years now so back to the Chopper the Indian Um super cool bike is one of my Favorites I've built and actually this Bike started off pretty much as a frame At a swap meet so a pretty neat story My Pal John the painter and I we're at the Davenport amca swap Davenport thousands Of vendors uh one of the best and Biggest Antique motorcycle shows period So 2014 John and I are roaming around we See this Frame and we just oogled over It and drooled over it for a few minutes And decided to keep on walking so two Three aisles later we're sitting there Talking it's like you know what we gotta Go back and get that frame so peel back Right through the swap cut across a Couple aisles go talk to the guy and the Frame is gone uh couldn't believe it was Completely bummed about it you never see Custom Indian stuff you know and this Thing was like period modified molded All sorts of crazy stuff and we went to Talk the guy and the thing is gone so I Kind of bummed about it all weekend Actually uh had a good rest of the meat But one of those things that you always

Think about God I missed that part I Missed that frame I missed that motor This was one of those scenarios so I Actually made it all the way back to Maggie Valley And I was over at my father-in-law's Place uh and he's an old bike guy you Know he goes to the swap meets too and Uh Indian guy so I'm telling him I'm Like oh man it was so cool Thursday I Ended up seeing this Indian chopper Frame and I wanted it so bad I should Have bought it I don't know what I was Thinking I passed it up and went back And it was gone so he's looking at me The whole time and he's like uh-huh he's Listening to the story and we're walking Through his his driveway and he flips Open his trailer door and there's the Frame sitting there so he ended up Buying it uh dangled it over my head Like a carrot of course the price went Up a little bit but I was able to talk Him out of it and that was how this bike Started for me anyway so the frame Molded back in the 70s out of Southern California uh Tom ended up buying it Bringing it back home and sold it to me So right then I knew that we had something special I Knew that I was going to jump on uh Building something different so as it Would be about a month after I got the Frame I got invited to the Born Free

Show in Southern California now born Free uh one of the biggest custom shows In the country one of the biggest custom Shows in the world uh put on by uh Mike Davis and Grant Peterson two good Buddies of mine so I got invited to Born Free in 2014 and thought you know what This is a really high level custom show I don't know that I'm going to be able To build anything even worthy but if I'm Going to try I'm going to do something Different a lot of guys build Harley's a Lot of guys dabble into the British Stuff at those sorts of shows not a ton Of Indian stuff so I set straight away Building this Indian chief Chopper so 1942 Bonneville Chief engine so Indian Chief engines at this time of course They're all flatheads every Chief was It's a three-speed transmission A 74 cubic inches this particular one is A Bonneville engine so the Bonneville Chiefs we're kind of like the high Performance Chief so uh best thing I can Compare it to It's like having a Mustang and a Mustang GT the Bonneville Chiefs it was just High performance Different higher compression heads uh Different Pistons that were actually Pop-up Pistons beefier cams better valve Springs and a different carburetor so Bonneville Chief very rare today you Don't see a ton of them so I had a great

Engine to start with now I have my Friend Sportster Gary Who is no longer with us uh sports for Gary actually polished this thing to the Nines if you can imagine getting at These heads with all these fins and Polishing these things to a mirror Polish Polish the cases polish the Primary cover polish the transmission This thing is as shiny as I could have Made it at the time and Gary absolutely Fixed me up so some of the really cool Features about this bike that that I Really dug was you know all this crazy Stuff hanging off the front of the the Frame so this frame has actually been Stretched up here It hasn't really been brought out any But it's been stretched up and then they Molded In These Wings right out front The back was completely just like this When I got it so what they've done is They've welded in a big piece of sheet Metal here blended it all in now the Indian rear suspension in 1940 Indian Came out with this plunger style rear End so they ran this right up till 1950 1953 So actually has rear suspension uh Really smooth ride the Indians were this Time so Um The fork was actually another crazy Story too long to get into now but uh I

Was stretching out a fork and we Actually narrowed this this is a 46 to 48 Indian chief girder Fork that what we Did is there's a shock in the middle Normally so we modified these trees I Had some great help from buddies uh Shortened the lower tree made this top Custom tree all all basically from a Beat up original one took the shock out Brought the Springs together narrowed The fork itself an absolute ton of work Went into this Fork I'd have never been Able to do it by myself so we actually Made like two three versions of these The first one I tried getting chromed And there were stress cracks everywhere Uh this is like three weeks before the Show I couldn't get the four Chrome uh Saw the cracks that got exposed once They put the thing in the tank junk that Fork went out another one and uh We were welding that up and blending it After stretching it pulled it out of The Jig and it folded all up so this Fork I Found on eBay like three weeks before The show uh and it happened to be the Perfect length it was already narrowed Uh so we painted it up to match so my Pal John Dills did the paint absolutely Killer uh white pearl and then Mark Peters who you guys have heard us talk About a lot he's been our pinstriper for Years and years Mark did the killer Pinstriping Silver Leaf uh edged in that

Kind of gray silver paint so really set This thing off so tons of Chrome Tons of polishing I wanted to make this thing the reason It's white like this I wanted to make it So bright in the California sunlight That guys couldn't pick apart my shoddy Work so Um The thing runs incredible guys one of The things you hear right off the bat is The sound of these pipes so when we're Making this we're like how are we gonna Do the exhaust and we ran the pipes Underneath the fender and they come out On both sides of the tire so you've got Like back here you've got like less than A quarter inch on each side of the tire It's super tight clearances but it just Worked out incredible so ton of welding Uh filing sanding to make these pipes as Slick as they are so over on the other Side guys standard Linker carburetor so I wanted to build this bike with nothing Crazy modern I wanted to look like a Real 1970s uh Chopper something that was Built back in the day and uh might have Survived all these years so standard Linker carburetor standard Indian chief Rocker clutch of course this is a heel To go rocker clutch belt driven Generator back here like all the Indians Had Um you know silver painted cylinders

Polished up cases 21 up front With a skinny little 275 tire and then a 19 in back so turned out really great I Need to ride it more it's been sitting Here in the chopper graveyard for a Couple years now and we haven't even Started it until today so uh pretty easy Starting procedure guys Magneto ignition So there's no battery uh turn the gas on We had it running a minute ago for you So I think it's probably going to fire Up on one kick Keep your fingers crossed [Music] [Music] Ah that thing sounds good You can see it's circulating oil seed Line here goes down into the engine Return line here now we cut some mold of These tanks in narrow the set of Indian Sheep tanks weld it under the frame John Molded it all in perfectly made the look Or the made them look like the whole Rest of the frame was already gone so Tons of attention to detail Gotta love the sound of an Indian chief With straight pipes 1942 Indian Bonneville Chief Chopper guys so thanks For tuning in make sure you like the Videos if you're digging what you see it Helps us out a ton make sure we're Getting to more people telling them all About the history right here at Wheels Through Time make sure you subscribe to

The channel check out wheels through support the museum today get a Raffle ticket on that 37 knucklehead and Uh thanks for tuning in guys I'm going For a ride Foreign [Music]