Indian - Big Chief Police
 Back to brands list

Indian D2-492-84-06
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.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

Accueil - Motos NOUGIER - Motos insolites - Motos japonaises - Unusual Motorcycles - Scooters du Monde - Motos Passion - Motos GILLET - Liens - Contact

Moto Collection - François-Marie Dumas

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional CSS Valide !

Mentions légales