Monday, October 19, 2015
Cool Little Chief
This 1948 Chief was built by John Donovan of Vallejo, California He used to live right up the street from me and I'd see him riding this bike from time to time. I think you heard it first, it was pretty loud ! This was in 1999 when I met him, about the time I was desperately seeking a Chief. I had a little cash but not enough to buy a restored one. I heard about a guy named Jim Troche who had a little shop on Indian Alley in Vallejo. I called him up and he said that he had a '48 basket case which I ended up purchasing,, a long story but I did build it to a finished bike. It's the blue one I posted earlier with the Heather Leathers fringed seat.
Getting back to the Indian bobber, John pieced this bike together and Jim built the power plant. He said that the thing he would have done differently was not chrome so many parts. It wasn't too long after I met John that he died suddenly from an aneurism when he was back in the mid-west at a bike meet. He was actually pretty young when he died.
I found out that Jim was selling his bikes for the estate and went and looked at this bike but did not purchase it. I had the cash and don't remember why I passed on it because I really liked it. To my mind this is the best Indian bobber I have seen. very clean in every regard, especially the custom pipes.
I have had this bike lurking around in my mind for years and I may build my '46 Chief like this ??? I have been a custom bike guy all my life starting with my old '72 BSA chopper. I don't know, maybe it's in my blood ! My wife always says I can't leave any bike alone and have to immediately remove or modify parts as soon a s a bike hits my garage. I guess that's true.