1946 Indian Chief

The 1946 Indian Chief became the company's only model after the war. This fine example is equipped with the factory sidecar. See more motorcycle pictures.

The now-legendary V-twin 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle emerged as Indian's flagship model after World War II, and the popular design relegated the American company's four-cylinder and smaller V-twin models to history.

The 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle was similar to prewar big Indians; the engine remained a 74-cubic-inch flathead and tank graphics were unchanged. As always, "Indian Red" was a popular color choice, though others, including two-tones, were available.

New for the 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle however were girder-style could-spring forks adopted from Indian's radical 841 model that had been designed for desert use by the U.S. military during the war.

These new forks provided a full five inches of wheel travel versus the meager two inches allowed by the previous leaf-spring design.

Though the rear still featured the same plunger-type suspension, spring rates were softened. These changes resulted in an even smoother ride than before, a notable selling feature of the postwar models.

Another accessory was a spring-mounted sidecar, first offered in 1940, which carried fancy chrome speedlines and trim.

Go to the next page to see more pictures of the legendary 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle.

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