1937 Indian Chief Project

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by kallehof, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
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    Rob,

    I think I found your bike on this thread: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=18353993

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    I envy you for finding a complete bike. I've spent lots of time sourcing parts for my bike. And even more time getting them to work together. I'm looking forward to following updates on your progress.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
    #81
  2. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    From: Robert Angell <robertangell1>
    Subject: 37 Indian
    Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2012 10:18:19 +0100

    Hi Kalle

    I had posted a couple of comments on Advrider. I'm hopeless at posting pics. I have been following your blog on the 37 Chief and thought you might be interested in some pics of what I am up to over here in England. Here is the Indian that I bought in October last year. Whilst a great deal is original it is in need of total restoration. As with everyone I would have wanted an original paint 37 bike, as you will know these are virtually impossible to find. I have always wanted an Indian and spend my time riding with friends on a collection of British iron. This is where we started: Then it was time for the strip down, but not before we painted it black:

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    Engine strip:

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    You can see that it needed a good clean. It is a 39 lump but will look to most like a 37 we intend to customise the oil pump to enjoy the flow rate of a 40's pump with the appearance of a 37

    The frame with new kickstand mount and ready for strip to powder coat:

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    When we stripped the engine we found all of the bearings to be in really good condition it's now just hours of cleaning. I am having a snub nose saddle in this deep grained leather:

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    I am going to have another saddle made that will clip on the rear rack. This will be a nice change as my wife has had enough of riding on the back of the Norton and my Harley has a stick on p-pad which is ok for 40 miles max.

    I am hoping that the bile will be ready for next summer as there are a number of trips planned in Europe. You will have seen the pics on Advrider of our trip to the Arctic circle, looking at your blog you'll enjoy our choice of accommodation

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    I look forward to watching the progress of your build. Hope this is of interest to you and that you can see that we are lucky enough to ride our bikes in the most fantastic places over her in Europe. I have posted some shots of our last trip from Istanbul. We are looking forward to the end of May when we set off for Denmark, then through Germany, Czech and Austria and home. I will be on my 1969 Norton and friends will be on 3x1930's Broughs as well as Velocettes and the 59 Lambretta.

    Kind regards

    Rob
    #82
  3. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
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    Last November I took a trip to South Dakota to visit my family for Thanksgiving. Most of my family is from Minnesota (as is I) but my Uncle Duncan's house in Iroquois has become the gather point for the holidays. If you have been working on an Indian you already know that most every part of the post war Indians and almost all parts the 36-39 ridged Indians are being reproduced. If you have money you can have in Indian. There are several "Dealers". Jerry Greer Engineering (www.jerrygreersengineering.com) of Watertown, South Dakota is one of them Todd runs the show. I've met Todd a few times over the past few years and discussed the specifics of my 1937 chain guard bracket. So when I knew I was going to be in South Dakota I set him an email and scheduled a tour of his fabrication shop.

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    Here I am in front of Custom Fabricators and Jerry Greer Engineering. Todd's fabrication shop likely does 10 times the business that the Indian Parts business does. Most of the machinery I saw was all CNC. No surprise here but was quite the contrast from the machine shop I worked in over four summers when I was in High School.

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    I brought along and extra bracket I had fabricated (right) for my 1937 Chief chain guard. I actually made three. The first one got a bit butchered, the second was the best of the three and the last came out the correct shape but got a real beating to get there. Perhaps some day Todd will be offering this as a reproduction part.

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    Todd in front of some of his memorabilia.

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    If you thinking of order parts from Jerry Greer Engineering they are likely on the shelves directly behind us. Todd's shop is very clean and organized. I've ordered many parts from Jerry Greer Engineering and there has never been a mix up.

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    Here are a few of Todd's bikes. One thing I learned while visiting Todd is that unique bikes, parts, and opportunities come folks who are established in the Indian community.


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    Here's a few pictures of a 1938 Chief that was in Todd's shop when I was there. It's done now and for sale. Hard to believe that my bike will look like this some day. https://www.jerrygreersengineering.com/?p=610.Next Post: Instrument panel.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
    #83
  4. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    Most parts are being reproduced for a 1937 Indian. But as of the time of my project A dash was not. A bi-weekly check of Ebay finally came up with a dash but is wasn't in very good condition but seemed restorable. A few holes had been drilled in it and a replacement switch has been welded into it. The price was fair and I didn't have many other options after a year of searching.

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    I drilled out the holes to the next size larger drill bit and cut out some round slugs and fitted them.

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    A good friend of mine Steve (SFMC member) did a fine job of filling in everything and even lent me some files to finish off the work. I found it was best to start out with my Dremel to get thing generally in the right shape and then file things smooth.

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    I found the the heat from welding pulled the face of the dash down so I need to whack it from behind with a hammer and a punch so that I could file the face smooth. Not to difficult and was one of the more enjoyable projects.

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    After filing a light sanding got everything ready for paint.And unless you remove the dash and inspect the back side you'd never know it's history. Note I was careful not file away the spot welding marks. The dash came like that from the factory so to completely smooth out the face could come across as over restored. Next Post: The Seat.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
    #84
  5. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
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    A 1937 Chief seat has a shorter/stubby nose when compared to a 1938 and newer seat. It is very easy to find the later seat and they are being reproduced by several venders. Unfortunately the earlier 1937 seat and pan are hard to come by. I had been looking for a seat pan or seat for two years. But hardly ever saw one. And it is difficult to identify them in a picture without a reference. I finally got a lead on Chris of Indian Parts Europe http://www.indianpartseurope.com/. He had the seat in stock in tan or black. I've heard that Indian seats originally were never black so I ordered the tan one. Shipping From Poland was $50 (ouch) but it arrive in just two weeks and I was grateful my search for a seat was over. Both of these seats are reproduction seats. I've been told the one on the left would be for a 1938 Chief, it has the longer nose. The one on the right is the one I got from Chris of IPE and is for a 1937 chief (stubby/short nose).

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    1938 reproduction long nose seat. (15 3/4 inches long and 16 3/4 inches wide)

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    1937 short/stubby nose seat. (14 3/4 inches long and 16 inches wide)

    Next Post: Headlight.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
    #85
  6. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    Lorin Guy is helping organize The Quail Lodge Motorcycle Gathering http://www.quaillodgeevents.com/pages/home.cgi?srvgal=1&srvid=15 in Carmel, California this coming weekend which is featuring Indian Motorcycles this year. He put the word out that they were looking for some Indian motorcycles to help fill out the show. So I sent him a few pictures of my 1937 and 1948 Chiefs and offered them for the show. He said both would be appreciated. They have a ride on Friday which is sold out, $250+ per rider! But that includes lunch and a lap around Laguna Seca.

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    Lorin's toy moviing van and trailer loaded with my both of my bikes.

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    Lorin callled my 1937 Chief "The Silver Bullet".

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    Lorin put me on the guest list so I'll go to the show on Saturday and plan to take a bunch of pictures. Should be quite the contrast to "The Unfinished Projects" show, so stay tuned.


    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
    #86
  7. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    :lurk
    #87
  8. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    Here's a few pictures I took at the Quail Lodge Motorcycle Gathering. If you've drank the kool-aid there are some pictures on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150892477288436.479235.758143435. More of my pictures can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sfmc/sets/72157629975519691/

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    My 1937 Indian Chief on the Green.

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    1937 Indian "Upside-Down" Four. One overhead valve and one side valve. In 1936 and 1937 Indian reversed thier function, exhaust over intake. Good on paper but makes for a leg burner and the design was reverted in 1938 for the more ergonomically friendly lower exhaust position. http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/asp/classics/bike.asp?id=28

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    Mert Lawwill next to my 1948 Indian chief. http://www.mertlawwill.com/
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    Red Fred's Johansen 1948 Indian Chief.

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    Matt Blake's 1948 Indian Chief and Side Car. http://theironhorsecorral.com/

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    The Perfect Guest Next to Gary Kohs's Collection of MV Agustas.

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    Gary Kohs's 1953 MV Agusta 124 Ex-Works GP Racer.
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    Seems Gary will be auctioning off this collection of 71 motorcycles in August. All the bikes will go as one lot so deep pockets are needed. http://www.mecum.com/news/news_detail.cfm?NEWS_ID=2252

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    I've read about these and finally got to see one in person. Larry Friese's 2000 Harley Davidson MT 500.

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    Jim Carducci's 2003 Harley Davidson 1250 Sportster "Dual Sport".

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    Vincent

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    Honda CB350 Cafe Racer from " The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" http://www.bikeexif.com/motorcycle-movie
    http://www.bikeexif.com/motorcycle-movie

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    Robbie Cadwallader's Bultaco's. The red bike is a 1971 Bultaco Pursang, the blue bike is a 1975 250cc Pursang, and the red and yellow bike is a 1975 360cc Pursang.

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    Crocker. http://www.crockermotorcycleco.com/

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    BUB Seven Streamliner - 367.382 mph. http://www.seven-streamliner.com/

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    Jarvis Gross's 1969 Honda SL 90.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
    #88
  9. Dorzok

    Dorzok Long timer

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    Build thread in case somebody doesn't know about it.
    #89
  10. loflyn71

    loflyn71 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    24
    http://photobucket.com/37chief

    I've been following along this post with much admiration. My mom and dad have passed, but my aunt gave me these photos and said it was the the bike that my dad had when he met my mom. It was their only means of transport when they got married in 1940. I was told that they thought it was a 1937. I realize these photos may not bear enough evidence, but could anyone verify this from these photos?
    #90
  11. miepiechief

    miepiechief Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Holland
    Hi Loflyn71.
    Nice photos, it is '37 or older. I suspect Kalle knows more about this than I do :deal.
    #91
  12. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Hi loflyn71,
    Thanks for the link to the great vintage photos of your father ... I posted one here, if that's OK ...
    -- SFMCjohn
    #92
  13. scootskipper

    scootskipper Motographer

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    Richmond, VA
    Hi Michael, Your project sounds very interesting. Do you have a blog or a thread?
    #93
  14. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    San Francisco, CA
    Here are the other three.

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    Thanks for posting these pictures. I have been wondering if the cable from the right side of the handlebars to the magneto went down the right side of the frame or wrapped around the to the left side. Looks like it goes down the right side.

    The headlight on a Chief was on the handlebars up to 1937. Then in 1938 and 1939 the headlight was mounted to the fork. So that dates the bike to pre '38. In 1937 the hub and brake drum were attached via lug nuts and the spokes were all attached to the hub.In the first picture the spokes attach to the brake drum which makes the front hub a pre '37. Lastly the shifter was moved form a jockey shift to the tank shift in 1937. Hard to tell from the photos but I don't see the mount for the tank shift (not that it's not there). If there was a picture of the right side of the bike I would be able to tell more. With all this I would say from the parts on the bike in the pictures it is either a 1935 or 1936 Indian Chief. Could it be a 1937 chief? Maybe, someone could have replace the front wheel/hub with an earlier hub and wheel, they are 100% interchangeable.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
    #94
  15. loflyn71

    loflyn71 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    24
    Thanks for the information and for posting the pictures (As you can tell, I still haven't figured that one out yet). These are the only photos that I have of this bike, so it will remain somewhat of a mystery. On the back of one of the photos, it is dated 1939. Good luck to all on their projects. T
    #95
  16. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    #96
  17. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Helped Kalle load up the '37 for a trip to the CHP and DMV this morning ...

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    So, I'd say a running and registered bike is finished ... (I'm told it runs, anyway) ... that makes two basket-case Indian projects finished in the last three or so years for Kalle, pretty remarkable! :ricky

    There's a few more pics here:
    http://caryandjohn.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/kalles-1937-indian-chief/

    see you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjohn
    #97
  18. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    PROGRESS!!!

    :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap
    #98
  19. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Congrats! Hope you have better luck at the CHP and DMV than I've have recently.:cry
    #99
  20. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

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    Kalle taking his 1937 Indian Chief for a first spin ... Guess he's been working on the bike for about eighteen months ...

    He says he will put 500 miles on the engine and then take the bike apart and paint it ...

    The '37 will join the '48 Chief in Kalle's garage and is the second early
    20th century Indian that Kalle has added to California's registered
    vehicle roll in the past five years ...

    Great job, Kalle!