I've bought two Indian basket cases. The first was a 1948 Indian Chief and the second is this 1937 Indian Chief. In both cases the frames were not in the best condition. In both cases the frames likely came from a bike that was totaled in an accident. Additionally the 1937 Chief had been modified over the years.
John Bivins of Indian Engineering (Stanton, CA) fixed my 1948 chief's frame. The best testimony of his work is that I can ride my bike down the road and take my hands off the handlebars and the bike tracks straight as an arrow. So when I bought my 37 chief I had the frame, forks, and handlebars shipped directly to him.
So the handlebars that showed up weren't the same as the one in the orginal pictures. Actually they were much more desiable. Sportbars. More narrow than the standard bars. Recall my comments about rare factory options. These handlebars aren't very common and along with a magneto the bike was on it's way to being unique.
At some point someone had cut off the seat post, cut off the shifter tube, and drilled wholes in several parts of the frame to mount foot pegs. I was fortunate that the bike came with an extra frame section that could be used to repair cast shifter tube. Hard to say where this chunk of frame came from but it did have the correct casting to repair my frame.
You can expect 74 year old bike to be worn past all serviceable limits. This bike didn't fail me on this respect. Everything bushed need rebushing. Most things threaded needed rethreading. Note the shiny lower rear frame tubes. At some point the bike was hit very hard and the rear of the frame was pushed to the right side. At times tubes are beyond repair and need to be replaced. But if the original material can be salvaged and repaired it seems that very thing related to that area goes smoother. John made a few fixtures to persuade the frame tube back into alignment. Over all the frame was rough but in the end it came out straight and narrow.
When you are searching for parts or searching for people who can repair your parts a pleasant bonus is the opportunity to see lots of very cool shops and bikes. Note the Indian Rigid Indian Four in the to left. To me a ridge four is the pinnacle of desirable Indians. I suspect I'll ever have one. They are very rare, expensive.
Many of the motorcycle people I've work with getting my bike back on the road are dog people too. John is no exception. I'm not a dog person but I like dogs, I like cats too. Birds, not so much. Next Post: Heat and Beat.
San Francisco, CA