The beginning of my 37 Chief Project starts at the end of my 1948 Chief project in late 2009. I kept a photo history of my progress while I was building my 48. And when I finished my bike I sent emails to the people who sold me parts or helped me out. It's hard for people to let go of parts for vintage bikes so seeing that the parts went to good use always fun. Several of the people and collectors I traded with I also shared thoughts of future ideas and projects.
To be honest I'm really not a big fan of the skirted Chief Post war look. I never felt like I could trust a bike I couldn't see through. Same goes for modern bikes. When I bought this 48 chief I always envied the prewar rigid Chiefs and British bikes (i.e. Arial's and Matchless). There is something about the simplicity and lines of bike with minimal suspension. Plus I prefer the profile of an 18" wheel over the 16" balloon tire. This being said I have grown to appreciate Art Deco lines on my 48 Chief so back to the story. One of the follow up emails and follow up emails included my interest in starting another project but this time a rigid Chief. 1936-1939 Chiefs are very similar at first glance. 1936 and 1937 Chiefs both share a Speedometer that looks to be an after thought and possibly was since it was not standard equipment but an $15 (or so) option. These years also shared a strangely located headlight above the handlebars. 1937 was the first year of interchangeable rims which make it slightly more of a rider than the 1936 (but not much), 1938 the Speedometer was dropped between the gas tanks and 1939 has the best Oil Pump of all the ridge Chief and by far the most kick ass color scheme of any chief. The "1939 World's Fair paint scheme".
. So I preferred the high mounted headlight, interchangable wheels, after thought Speedometer and of course Nickle plating. And shared that with people I had traded with.
Low an behold one of my emails reached out to someone who had a 1937 Chief Project at the right time when he was willing to let it go. So I bought it based on a few pictures emailed to me, a description of the parts and the reputation of the seller as being an Honest Injun.
Oh. Another thing about a 1937 Chief is that the first civilian to drive/ride across the Golden Gate bridge in 1937 Was Hap Jones of San Francisco. And he rode a 1937 Indian Chief, he was the local Indian Dealer and he was an active member of the San Francisco Motorcycle Club. Next year the Golden Gate Bridge is celebrating it's 75th anniversary and wouldn't it be neat to ride a 1937 chief over the bridge that day? If I finish it by then that is. Next Posting: "Homework"
San Francisco, Ca