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 Indian - 1200 Big Chief Police
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Photo ou archives : M. Woollett

Capacity : 1200
Model : Big Chief Police
Production : 1931 -
Category : (R) Military


1200 Chief / Armored Police Model - 1931

Highway patrol

It was during the era of Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly that the New York Police Department unveiled their latest weapon against organized crime, an armored Indian Big Chief sidecar outfit complete with bulletproof windshields for rider and passenger.

Battling the Gangsters

A siren, spotlight and hand-held, pump-action shotgun constituted the remainder of the arsenal, but it had to be admitted that the armored Indian had little effect and photographs of it are accordingly rare. It was, in any case, already aging when it was converted – the few visible parts of the machine indicate that it was a 1928 Chief.

Robust Engine

The engine of the Indian Chief was a robust V-twin with fixed cylinder heads and large side valves. It had roller-bearing big ends, and the total-loss oil system was supplied by a mechanical pump, with an auxiliary hand pump to provide extra oil when in high-speed pursuit of gangsters (oil consumption was a thirsty 1.4 gallons every 1000 miles). Primary transmission was by three large pinions running in an oil bath, and the clutch was virtually indestructible, a serious sales point when supplying motorcycles to the police. Indian even tried to sell its "Police Chief" in England in the early 1930s: A thief-proof lock formed part of the standard specification.


Engine: 1213cc (83x113mm) air-cooled 42-degree V-twin four-stroke; Splitdorf magneto

Power Rating: 26 hp @ 3400 rpm

Valves: side

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed, d1ain final drive

Suspension: leaf-sprung Indian trailing-link (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear – standard model had rear brake only)

Wheels: 18 inch (front & rear)

Weight: 425 lb (solo)

Maximum Speed: 50 mph with armored sidecar

Complete with Clymer spotlight and armored peephole below the rider's windshield, the NYPD's armored Indian was all set to defend the law.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.