Famous Indian

Few people know her and yet, this 1200 Chief of 1948 was probably one of the most media-related Indians in the world. In front of 30 million spectators, she indeed opened the marriage procession of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly on April 19, 1956, to find her place more recently in the Principality.

Three years after the launch of the Indian brand in 1901, law enforcement is among the first important customers to recognize the potential of Springfield motorcycles. On December 10, 1904, the New York Police Department issued an inaugural order of Indian motorcycles to the Hendee Manufacturing Company. Given their great efficiency, a second batch of these monocylinders was purchased on April 22, 1905. In France, we have to wait for the end of World War I for Georges Clemenceau, then the President of the Council, to give the Gendarmerie of a long-term motorcycles, left in place by Uncle Sam’s armed forces. Also, 64% of these m Achilles used by American allies are Indian, more precisely 1000cc Powerplus models. At this time, and until his death in 1922, Prince Albert 1st of Monaco has been riding the handlebar of a British Humber-branded motorcycle for more than twenty years. He even has a number of road trivia that led him from Monte-Carlo to Paris. So it’s no surprise that early 1951, the young Prince Rainier III decides to complete his Carabiniers Corps of a future motorcycle escort squadron.
Contrary to his illustrious great-grandfather Albert 1st, he does not choose this squadron’s motorcycles over English builders, but opts for American beautiful ones. As much as on March 10, 1951, the French Army Regional Parc of the Paris Materials offered the Carabiniers eleven Harley 750 WLC 1943, rescued from the Second War. They are quickly “civilized”, fitted and painted in navy blue. However, Prince Rainier III reserves a much more prestigious model for his peloton leader, Deputy Lieutenant François Delaye. On June 10, 1951, he personally purchased an Indian 1200 Chief 1948 carrying the CDH 6420 serial number. She is also entitled to a new painting and is wearing the Prince’s crowned monogram on the tip of her front guard. All bikes are also equipped with electric sirens installed on the top of the fork, as well as elegant white flanking tires. In 1953, the Fanion of the motorcyclist Peloton was restored by Prince Rainier III and will be installed on a support arch fitted by collars at the Chief’s handlebar. In addition to the ceremonies and official escorts, the Carabiniers bikers participate in the procession of the now mythical marriage principle on April 19, 1956.

The Indian opens the march with a lot of elegance, with its generous body being seen by 30 million viewers around the world. This remarkable motorcycle, followed by the smallest 750 cc, is also featured in countless official photos, sometimes published in the past press.
But a wind of change is blowing on the Peloton from March 10, 1962, with the purchase of eight 500 cc BMW motorcycles. Little by little, these Germans are going to replace the American ones. According to the Carabiniers Register, August 16, 1966, the registered Indian “611” was sold with a major stock of spare parts to M. Marchisio, who holds a butcher shop in the city of Menton. Due to lack of space, he ended up separating from the lot in the late 60s, to give it to Edmond Joly, Nicois motorcyclist. The latter let this Chief rustle and skate for thirty years in his shop, provoking the lust of many local amateurs of fine mechanics. Despite his pitiful condition, this Chief remains incredibly attached: his chromos are stung, oxidized aluminum, his night blue paint, and cracked. As for the leather of its large double saddle, it is as dry as the GoodYear tire rubber.
Despite all the buying offers submitted to him, Mr. Joly stubbornly refuses to part ways with this Indian, on which he ended up undergoing in the early 1990s a somewhat “fantasy” first restaurant. With a bicolored beige-gold paint and a few other minor taste or anachronisms, this Chief will long be displayed in the showroom of a Jolly family Japanese motorcycle dealership. Even after Edmond passed away in 2009 Three years later, she still returns to Monaco, where she is loaned to the Carabiniers Barracks on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the motorcyclist Peloton celebrated in 2012. She will be exposed for a year.

Prince Albert II wanting to redeem the Indian acquired Jadis by his father, the heirs of Edmond Joly agree to sell it to the Palais Princier. It was restored for a second time, by Gilles Lumes, a motorcycle technician at the Carabiniers workshop. However, appearing very dark on the archives photos, it will be painted black by the body of the Palais, instead of its dark blue of the time. It is in this delivery that the former motorcycle of the head of Peloton integrates the museum that brings together the collection of cars from S.A.S. Prince of Monaco. Little bit of appreciation, she rests on her side cradle, stuck between an Imperial Chrysler and a 1950’s Cadillac. With great regret of the Carabiniers, she left their barracks that hosted her for a year and would have had a place of honor in their “Museum of Princes of Monaco and their Guards”.
In the absence of the real Indian Chief 1948 of the former motorcyclist Peloton, a model reduced to 1:10y is displayed under the window, this time around the authentic blue night of the Carabiniers!