ELIDA — The 40s was not a good decade for the Indian Motorcycle Company. The company spent the first part of the decade making bikes for the war and making and repairing bikes for numerous police departments that used Indian motorcycles. After the war though, the company began experiencing trouble. It wasn’t the bikes, it was business decisions that put the company in a tailspin. The company was sold in 1945, and became part of the Torque Engineering Company. In 1940, the Chief underwent a major transformation, from mere motorcycle to American icon. The frame was completely revised to include a sprung rear suspension that was said to be superior to Harley-Davidson’s rigid rear end. But more importantly, all the motorcycles in Indian’s line were also fitted with valanced front and rear wheels and huge skirts that made the bikes unmistakable on the road. The 1948 Indian Chief motorcycle remains a classic American chopper. The skirted fenders was new for this year. With the throttle on the right side, a foot clutch and a left hand shifter, one had to be a master of coordination to maneuver this bike. However, it was promised that once you gained skill at driving it, it gave an amazing ride. Though Indian went out of business in 1953, the 1948 Chief had style, power, and technology to be the finest motorcycle in the world for the time.
Darren Chafin, of Elida, brought his 1948 Indian Chief motorcycle to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. He has owned this gem for eight years. It is said that collectors won’t sell their vintage Indian motorcycle for any price, out of devotion to the brand. It is further said that anyone who owns a vintage Indian motorcycle in good shape needs to have it included in a last will and testament because it is probably very valuable to collectors and to museums.