Buying Indian number 2

The powerplant is basic and rebuilt to within an inch of its life – which is just what I wanted.

Not sure how this happened, but I am in the throes of buying Indian number 2 (I already have a Gilroy Chief Vintage). It’s a 1947 Chief.

The process started at the 2012 Great Race, when I borrowed Black Bastard (RIP) from webmaster Pilgrim and had a great weekend. Though tempted to make an offer at the time, it wasn’t going to happen.

What led me into the latest folly was I just loved Black Bastard, a 1948 Chief in solid if not perfect condition. It was comfortable (more so than the vast majority of modern cruisers) and, unlike many bikes its age, would hold modest highway speeds without stress.

It could get a little unruly at times, but that’s fine – it’s just a matter of keeping your nerve.

Okay, it was also a little quirky to ride and was in no danger of setting lap records. But it felt damn near unburstable.

Some months down the track, I’ve agreed to buy a 1947 model. Phil Pilgrim is putting it together for me – which is both game and kind, given he knows I have the attention span of a rat on speed and absolutely no patience when it comes to coping with mechanically ‘challenged’ motorcycles.

The decision has led to me selling many bikes from a hopelessly over-grown fleet, which is not a bad thing. (And, in an attempt at rank commercialism, if anyone out there wants an exceptional GSX1100SXZ, aka a wire-wheel Katana, now is a good time to shoot me an email.)

In the meantime, I’ve booked in to the next Great Race. Hopefully this time I’ll feel less like an imposter, if I’m riding my own bike.

Despite all sorts of recommendations and offers, I’ve stayed with a basic 74ci (1200cc) powerplant in stock trim, with the standard three-speed transmission and kick start. The poverty pack. (Though it’s a definition of poverty that was previously unfamiliar…) That’s enough for a reliable 60mph, which is fine. If I want to go fast, I have an expertly modified 220hp Hayabusa. Or a few other modern rockets from Italy and England.

The only issue so far has been selling enough motorcycles to pay for this one – but it looks like we’re getting there. Wish me luck…

In the meantime, here’s a pic of the ‘new’ engine.

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen