1940 Indian Chief with a sidecar

I would like to introduce you to a fine example of North American engineering. This is a 1940 Indian Chief motorcycle. Following will be photos and documents related to this time machine. I will post the information on an ongoing basis, if you want to see updates please drop back. BTW, 1940, wow, that is ~72 years ago. . . we have an obligation to be the best caretakers we can be and to pass these on for future generations to enjoy.

Bob - 2012


2017.05.21 - I let way to much time slide between posting pictures. The Chief is complete for all intents, I still will be installing a correct speedometer and have some saddlebags coming my way. Briefly, the color was one of the hardest decissions, I posted photos of the "Fallon Brown" colour and so many people felt it was the right choice, I bought some paint, laied it onto one of my gas tanks and the stewed for over a week, (I hated that color), after I came to terms with it I decided on the Fallon Green color which you can see in the photos. I chose to not two-tone the bike. In 1940 I onlty had a handful of colors to choose from, my initial choice was red, BUT everyone has a red chief and I wanted to be a little different, so there you have it. The bike is assembled, it runs like a swiss watch, I am very happy with its performance, its taking me a bit to get use to the tank shift on the right and the Throttle on the left handlegrip as well as heal-to-go all of which is exactly oposite to the Harly's of the same era. I am practicing and feel very confident that my muscels are starting to take on the "msustle-memory" to make it a asafe rid. The bike has been to Nanaimo and back a couple times and its had its first oil change, I am looking forward to the upcoming summer riding season.

BTW, I find if you right-click and image and select "View Image" you get a full size version.

b c

Bobs 1940 Indian Chief Video (On the Trailer)


2014.01.16 - The bike is completely disassembled. I am about to paint up the frame, it was not powder coated as some thought it was, so I am not going to powered coat it either. The engine has been interesting, I went to torque the heads and they were at 35'lbs, the engine has a meer 450miles, so recent rebuild, it looks great., I have them up to 50'lbs now, will bring up to 55 after a few more miles are put on the engine.. When i went to tighten the cylinder base nuts I found one was stripped, I pulled that cylinder and can see the gasket was leaking in this location, I drilled out the case and put in a sleeve, re assembled the cylinder and its is good as day 1. The engine has been given a nice bath and sparkles. My friend Don Doody was over and mentioned he feels the front forks are bent, it was not obvious to me, but after I pulled the forked and layed them beside a new OEM set Don has it is obvious that I do have a small bend in the tubes, The forks and handlebar has been sent to a fellow in town that specializes in straightening and frame restoration. I expect to get those parts back in a few weeks then I will paint them. I have decided to paint the fenders and sheet metal the same black as was available in the day. I am hoping to put the engine back into the bike maybe next week as aI have a few days off work. Pictures to come.

2013.10.23 - Well its obvious I did virtually nothing to the bike this year, so many other things popped up. I do have the engine removed from the frame. After speaking to my friend (DonD its obvious the front fork is ever so slightly bent (I could not even see it but, its there). I have the front fork assembly and the handlebars ready to go to a local shop down the road, I have access to a correct fork and bars so they can get the shape spot-on. The frame is now bare and I have been toying with whether I should repaint it entirely or just fix a few of the chips, I am going to attempt a chip repair first.

Engine and tranny came out easily, I first though the engine would need extensive cleaning and re-painting but when I spent a couple hours washing it I was amazed, it actually sparkles, I am now totally confident it only has the ~600miles on it that the speedo reads, I had been advised the speedo was set to match the re-build. On another note, I went to torque the heads, they were at 35'lbs, I know some say they should be more like 50'lbs (a few schools of thought), I took them to 45 for now. When I went to tighten the cylinder to base nuts, they were all good except one was very loose, as my worst fears came to light I realized I had a stripped stud on my hands. I pulled it out and its full of aluminum in the threads. My next task will be to look at sleeving the hole or maybe heli-coil, I have some research to do first.

2012.11.01 - During the course of the winter this bike will be entirely dismantled, (not opening eng or trans), cleaned, new fasteners from "Beard Machine" installed and finally at the end started!

2012.08.01 - Today I finally got around to organizing the garage to a point where I could begin the process. I laid out the parts and items I received when I purchased the bike. The only thing I did not photo is the military fenders and the sidecar wheel. If you look closely you will see the sidecar has been hoisted to the ceiling of my garage, it will be the last thing I work on so now its out of the way.

Did you know that this indian head is actually not correct for the 1940 Chief, it was not introduced until 1947. However, it is such a recognizable symbol that it will be staying on this bike.
There are many aftermarket inserts, most of which are very poor quality. One of the important details to look for is the "seam" which would be where the 2 half's are joined together, over time the glue turns black and you have a black line up through the castings. if one looks on the inside there are also marking which aid in authenticating the light insert.

  This first selection of photos are those I received when I first started investigating this bike to see if I wanted something other than a Harley, (not likely as I was hooked on H-D from back in 1979), in the back of my mind I was certain I would just have a look and pass this opportunity up, however, when I laid eyes on it and spent some time discussing the history with the owner I was fascinated and had to look closer. Not long after doing some further reading and research, I went back again, sat my butt down on the seat and.... well, it fit so nice and the view from behind the headlight was really extraordinary! As a friend high up in the rockies noted, I have been bitten by the bug.. Its all fun from here on.      

1940 Indian Chief
74 cubic inch

With the purchase would come the original "army" style fenders, lots of reading material, a few boxes of nuts bolts and other items, the side car, the bike and a few posters


Click a picture to see a larger view. Initial photos provided by Maureen.

Few more.


  Here is an original photo of the same bike before it was converted to the civilian model you see before you. This is the way it looked when Cam bought it back in 1973.  
I asked Maureen if she would jot down some of the highlights concerning the bike over the years.
She very kindly obliged.

Cam bought the Chief and sidecar in 1973 from Ted Hector, in Winnipeg. Bob, you have the paperwork on that sale. Don Doody knows Ted, and says that he still has a shop in Winnipeg. I googled him today, and discovered his shop is called Thunder Road Motorcycles Inc. But couldn't find an email address for him. I'm wondering if he and Cam knew each other back in the day, because Cam grew up in Winnipeg.

I believe Cam worked on restoring the bike for years and years, puttering away a bit at a time.

Don D thinks he sold Cam the fenders that are on the bike now. They would see each other at different swap meets over the years.

Sometime between 1997 and 2001, the bike went to someone in Port Alberni for a short time to have some work done to it. I don't know what was done, but Don D also knows this guy,  (I don't know his name). I believe Don spoke to him recently to find out what was done, and if I remember correctly, Don said this fella in Port Alberni had just done some minor adjustments to the engine. I had thought that this might be where he took it to get the handlebars repaired, but I certainly could be mistaken about that.

Don also thought  it may have gone to Gary ? some fella in the states, but then after looking closer at some things on the bike, I believe Don may have changed his mind about that.

In 2001, we took the bike to the "Pig & Fin" at Coombs Fairgrounds. This was a huge weekend campout benefiting the Vancouver Island Injured Motorcyclists Association. They had a bunch of goofy biker games, a huge pork and salmon bbq, a dance, and prizes were given out for different categories. Cam's bike won second prize in the three-wheel division. He was pretty pleased!

A funny thing happened on the way to the Pig & Fin . . . At that time, Cam was driving an old 1966 (I think) Chevy pickup which had wooden boards for the bed of the truck. (the bike and sidecar just baaaarely fit in the back of the truck!) He was smoking then, and tossed a burning cigarette butt out the window. Unknown to him it landed in the back of the truck. After a little while he noticed smoke coming from the back of the truck so of course he pulled over. I was driving my own car separately and was about thirty minutes behind him.

By the time I came on the scene, he was busy shaking up diet coke and spraying it on the wooden floorboards to douse the smoke. Fortunately, no harm was done, but I think he was very lucky the whole truck, bike, and sidecar didn't go up in flames!

A few weeks later, someone we had met at the Pig & Fin borrowed the frame for the sidecar, I believe he was making his own frame for himself. Of course, he returned everything when he was done, but that may be why the sidecar wheel wasn't bolted to whatever it was supposed to be bolted to. (Don noticed that), or maybe it was just that it was partially disassembled for the move to Victoria.

Over a ten year time period, Cam had six different serious leg operations, two of them were amputations. (smoking and diabetes . . . Such a deadly combination). These eventually took quite a toll on him, and he really didn't seem to have any energy left for fixing motors.

I think that is why the bike was not quite all together, I think at one time over the last few years, he was probably in the middle of a project of some kind, and just ran out of steam.

Well, that's all I remember for now, if anything else comes to mind, I will let you know.
Bye for now,

2012.July.13 - I purchased the 1940 Indian CAV

Moving Day
Next I transferred the sidecar, I did not get any moving photos of that though.

1973.May - Cam purchased the bike and sidecar from Ted Hector, in Winnipeg Manitoba, it was in very nice condition with the military fenders.
History - The story gets a little murky now, I called Ted Hector, he remembered Cam and the bike. He was only 24 back then (65 today 2013), and he would ride that bike all over up and down the hwy's into the prairies, he even carried his kids in the sidecar. He said he bought it back in 1969 or 1970 for no more than $1000.  The guy he bought it off of had put the sidecar on it, it was purchased from Don Hall (or John Hall) Indian motorcycles in Winnipeg, the sidecar was never used and still in a box, it was mint but the seats appolstory was aged.  I guess that's why it's in such good shape. (mint). As he went on he told me there was an abundance of indian in those days, the motor ran good and you could cruise no problem with that sidecar 80 mile an hour all day.



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