Here's my current project. It's a 1937 Indian Chief. The engine is 74" and the transmission is a three speed. I've been working on it for a year and have been blogging on my personal site but thought I'ld share my trials and tribulations with ADV'ers. You may have seen my 1948 chief on SFMCJohn's posts from our ride to Yosemite for Gary Stark's Harley Vs. Indian Race this past spring and in Death Valley last fall for a AMCA ride. My 1948 Chief was built to be a rider. This project is being built to be a beauty queen. Don't get me wrong it will get ridden but unlike my 48 ($50 flat black rattle can paint job) it will start it it's second (possibly third or fourth) life just as it did in 1937.
So I'm starting this bikes story the middle as the bike sits as of July 2011. It's almost on the road. Most of the hard to fine (not all that hard to fine) parts have been acquired and bolted up to the frame or case. A few parts either are truly hard to find (pre-38 seat pan stubby nose for those in the know) or just down right expensive ( 100mph or 120mph Indian branded Corbin Speedometer).
A few things struck my about a 1937 Indian Chief. The first was nickle plating. Before chrome was ubiquitous, Indian and many Motorcycle manufactures protected everything with nickle. The majority of the hardware in 1937 on a Chief was nickle. Later they turned to cadmium plating which is more of a chalky silver finish. Unfortunately, my understanding is that neither Nickle nor Cad hold up very well over time. Several shops in the Bay Area and in Sacramento can Nickle plate. And there is two process. Electro and Electroless plating. Electricity following the path of least resistance so on hardware and such as bolts, screws and nuts electroplating works well. But for more complex shapes like cylinders with cooling fins electroless is the only way to go if you want total coverage deep between the cooling fins. I can't wait until modern manufactures rediscover nickle.
One thing to be aware of if you have you stuff nickle plated is that even thought you may be paying for prep and cleaning you will get much better results if you clean and prep your hardware yourself too. Really nobody will put the time and energy into your parts the way you would. Another thing I learned is that some of acids and cleaning solutions that are used to prep the hardware can severely etch your parts. Not much you can do about it. Although I suspect that some of the hardware and parts I had nickle plated may have been left in the cleaning solution longer then absolutely necessary. No whining here just a bit of learning. So more pictures and thoughts to come while I wait for parts I've ordered. Next posting: "The beginning"
San Francisco, CA