Some bikes are built to be unique, some for speed, some for eye appeal. This one of a kind has all three qualities.
Francis Clifford raced Indians in the 1940’s. After his racing years were over, he went to the workbench to apply his experience to building motors and bikes. His bikes were never “show quality” in looks but his motors were the finest built. Twelve years before his death, he and his godson, William Coffman, spent weeks building his “fastest chief” motor. It took weeks to create the one of a kind motor. Then the motor sat in William’s living room for 12 years
William knew an Indian collector in Florida. He had sold Richard Gaudio another motor of Cliff’s and knew he appreciated the man’s work. So the motor made its way to Florida.
Richard wanted a “chout”, a chief motor in a scout frame. Working with machinist, welder friend Roger DuPois, Richard spent months modifying various original Indian parts to create this champion.
The bike retains most of the original Indian features. An Indian was always foot clutch, LEFT hand throttle and right hand distributor advance. A jockey shifter is located behind the rider.
The 1928 Indian 101 frame was stretched 4 inches and lowered 2 inches to create a low profile and also allowed the tank tube to be exposed. The 1937 Indian Junior scout tanks have the best profile of any gas tanks. The small capacity was enlarged by removing the internal oil reservoir and installing the early style screw-in caps.
The oil tank was designed to be a 3 quart capacity tank that matched the frame lines. This was the second design, since the first didn’t allow room for generator adjustment. Trial and error fitting happened a lot in this bike.
The 1932 Indian fork stem is longer than the 101 frame neck. A spacer was made to fill the space. This provided a spot for the Indian logo, it looks like it was supposed to be there!
The dash is an enlarged copy of the original Indian dash. This holds the brass military ignition switch, tach, genny light and starter button. Starter? Yes, this 1937 Indian has an electric start.
There are three non- Indian features on this bike. One is the HD wheels. This concession was to provide adequate braking power since this bike was made to be ridden. The second is the Model A taillight. But it is cool. Third is the head light. A 1920’s Auto Electric spot light converted to accept a sealed beam fits the profile very nicely.
The leather work was custom to create a simple yet elegant look.
The heart of the beast is the 74 cubic inch Indian chief motor. Cliff spent a week hand profiling the cams. When the chout idles you know they are not stock. He believed Indians did not breathe enough so he installed HD intake nipples to provide more mixture. An S&S carb feeds it. The pipes were built from NAPA exhaust parts
The electric power is provided by a 12 volt CE generator. This genny is made to fit Indian and HD with no modifications.
The 4”longer frame obviously needs a longer chain. To take up the slack an idler gear was installed.
All in all a stunning example of the Breed