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.
For more great motorcycle articles and pictures, check out:
1946 Indian Chief pictures
Though similar to to prewar versions, the 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle included upgrades such as new girder-style front forks and softer spring rates on the plunger-type rear suspension.