OK , I know a lotta you have been struggling along with my cause and it has been an inspiration ,and I finally made a purchase from a reputable dealer for a bunch of other things (shameless plug , it was Domi-Racer , they always get me quality parts in really unbeilievable time )being as I called from the worksite , and I didnt hav my VIN numbers with me , I requested a '58 manual as that is what I have been told this is , even though the titles says '59 so this lands me a service manual good for twins to '58(not the Chief models ) andI am told there is another manual that picks up with the '58 model ??? The available parts manual seems to exclude the chief model // WTF???? At this point I just wanna get the thing tore down and spec'd out ,not a high priority , but I am making an effort to make this my most correct bike yet(An RE twin has long been my white whale / high water mark for Britbikes )The way I see it , the "chief" model is just a US variant gone wrong , should the '59 and later manual shed more light on this model ?? At this point I have two options ,oneis an obscure 500twin '56-ish model . and the othe a later 700 twin chief model ?? As luck would have t , these are two of the most hard to find models , and stock parts should be available, but ????
I just wanna now if I have the right workshop manual ? Was there some big change for '59???
There was indeed a manual specific to the Indian models, replete with a red leatherette covering with an embossed Indian Head logo on it. The one I saw covered all models from the Lance two-cycle on up to the 700cc models, each model with it's own section that was the same as any single model R-E manual. It included parts and service books. I don't remember what year(s) it covered, and the owner of it wasn't willing to part with it.
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152550 06/23/075:04 pm06/23/075:04 pm
Hello! I second Carlo's info about the red leatherette Indian manual... They are highly coveted but still out there. I have photocopies of some very poor copies of sections of such a manual & the info is not all that accurate to begin with... I say just go with what you have since the info is close enough. Example: I have seen an original Indian woodsman (single) manual from Shell Motors in CA that had sections that refered to twin specific items! To date I have yet to see any RE/Indian workshop or parts manuals that are not full of errors or info that is not correct to model. The 500 tomahawk models are certainly rare, but the Chief may be easier to deal with parts-wise. Here is some Info I gained working on a previous Chief project several years ago: Front Hub/brake/axle & triple trees & cover were unique to Chief & Police Models, likewise, wheel rims, spokes, fenders, rear rack, seat & transmission cover. I never did figure out if the bike used footboard or pegs originally... Front & rear crashbars, windscreen, & sidestand were factory options to all models. I have never seen a Chief with any other clutch release system than the scissor mechanism found on some year models of twins. Police models had a different (possibly 2nd?) wiring harness from the Chief... Mine seemed to have the same basic harness as other Twins, including the SR-2 magneto...No doubt incorrect, but it certainly worked. I hate to admit it, but I used alot of Harley FLH parts ( rims/tires, fenders, rack, seat, stand, etc) & found that much of it bolted right up!!!! Anyway, I had to part with the bike for health reasons at the time. Its was about 90% finished, missing final paint, the windscreen, crashbars, footrests, & saddlebags & Fla titled as a 59... Have not seen or heard of the bike since! Maybe you found it!?! Good luck on your project...hope this info helps!
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152551 06/23/078:16 pm06/23/078:16 pm
Thanks for the info guys , I can see already thatthis is gonna be tricky . The manual I have is a photocopy of what I presume is the factory manual . The cover says 'Royal enfield Indian manual 1955-58 Trailblazer&Apache " and has a part number 56-00181, butthis may be the vendors stock number ? It looks fairly comprehensive , but I'll keep an eye out for errors , not being familiar with these bikes , I have a feeling I wont spot many .I was hoping there might be a supplement to the parts manual that accounts for the chief model . Big twin , the info you laid down aboutthe Chief seems to mtch what I have , I am missing some key parts though . I am gonna look at that trans cover again , I know it is differentthan the tomahawk , but I figured that was a model year change. Also , I understand this thing should have the same speedometer as the later Springfield Indians rather than the RE Smiths? Just one of the many parts that are misisng on this bike .
I'm not sure if Brockhouse ever did make a workshop manual specific for the Chief models. The Chief was a last ditch effort to try and sell bikes to police departements. By late 1960 the RE Indians were history. Only the ones remaining in the showrooms were to be had. My workshop information is for the 55 to 60 Trailblazer & Apache and makes no mention of the Chief. My parts manual does mention the Chief but only had a typed "Parts Supplement" labled 1959 & 60 Chief parts list Supplement for use with 1955-8 Trailblazer parts list. It has to be used with the Trailblazer parts book since there are no pictures or drawings just lists of added parts with descriptions for each page that is affected. There are only 12 pages to this list but as was mentioned earlier there was not much difference between the Blazer & Chief except the battery tray, the fenders, wheels, and front tripple tree/nacelle. The headlight was more like a Harley unit. They had a battery/coil ignition and some had a small tool box on the left side. All the Traiblazers and Cheifs used a Stewart Warner speedometer 0 to 120 mph from 55 thru 57 and 150 mph from 58 to 60. They are similar to the Harley units but have different mounting ear locations. They had springs holding them into the necelle with a rubber grommet. You might check with or call the Royal Enfield USA folks up in Fairbault MN. Their web site has a listing for early RE manuals and they say they have some for Indians too. I've never checked with them to see if they have the Cheif, Trailblazer/Apache, or the Tomahawk but I should give them a call and find out. They won't list them because they say they have to many to list. Kerby
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152553 06/23/0710:31 pm06/23/0710:31 pm
PS I checked on the Royal Enfield USA web site and found that they have added a vintage bike parts section. I ran quite a few of the old part numbers for items that wear out a lot and was surprised to see that they list a lot of these items. Now whether they actually have them in stock or not I don't know but at least we might have another source for parts here in the USA if they do. There prices don't seem to be too out of line. Especially since we usually have to deal with vendors in the UK which has a very high exchange rate right now. Plus shipping aint cheap either. They might even be buying stock direct from Hitchcock's. You just never know. Just thought I'd let you all know so you could check it out for your selves.
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152554 06/29/075:34 am06/29/075:34 am
Rotor, Brockhouse had nothing at all to do with the Royal Enfield Indians. Brockhouse was a subsidiary of the company that last owned the Indian factory (which also had nothing to do with Royal Enfield) and built a few sidevalve 250 singles that were sold in the US as Indians. Brockhouse also built the Corgi scooters, some of which were imported to the US and sold as Indian "Papoose" scooters. The reason for this confusion is due to the fact that the Indian Sales Corporation and the Indian factory were two seperate organisations, both of which had rights to the Indian name. When the parent company of Brockhouse and the Springfield factory shut down production in 1953, the Indian Sales Corporation had the Enfields (which they were importing to the US, along with several other British marques) rebadged as Indians, so that they'd have something to sell that had more appeal than those 250 singles from Brockhouse. In late 1959, the arrangement with Royal Enfield was ended, and the Indian Sales Corporation actually started selling Matchless motorcycles as Indians, but without even bothering to rebadge them. They still had the winged M badges on the tanks, but the sales literature gave them Indian sounding model names. This has led to even more confusion among some folks, who now think that AMC had something to do with Royal Enfield. In addition, during 1960, you had both Matchless's and some remaining Royal Enfields being sold by Indian dealers.
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152555 06/29/075:39 am06/29/075:39 am
In case anyone is interested, I purchased a complete, new "casquette" headlamp/fork crown assembly from a local Royal Enfield (India) dealer, and my old Enfield fork legs screw right into them. I think that any modern India made parts that are common to all models of Enfield will work just fine on our old (real?) Royal Enfields.
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152556 06/29/078:11 am06/29/078:11 am
That's good to know about the casquette , my Tomahawk model has this , amd fairly complete with speedo and all ,but it's missing a few bits , I have to say , I really like the RE bikes better than the Indian versions of the era , but they seem to be very thin on the ground around here ???? If anyone is looking to restore a Chief or Tomahawk model , and wants to swap an RE twin , lemme know ??? these arent complete or ready for resto by any menas , but they are numbers match , titles , abd have quite a few unique original parts .
Originally posted by justgeorge: Carlo I think you may be in error re the Brockhouse connection. I had my Trailblazer dated by the REOC and the papers show it as being shipped to Brockhouse in England as exporter to the US . George
I didn't know that Brockhouse was involved with these bikes at all. Apparently, they had some part in the delivery of them to the Indian sales organisation in the US, although I can't imagine why. My point was that Brockhouse didn't build the bikes, and I always thought those red leatherette covered manuals were printed in the US by the Sales Corporation, and that they were based on the original Royal Enfield manuals.
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152559 06/30/0712:54 pm06/30/0712:54 pm
The History of the American Indian Motorcycle Co. is the stuff of legend. John Brockhouse was looking for a way to sell british made stuff (possibly from his own company Brockhouse LTD)when he bought into the Indian Co, in the dark days before there demize. He gave them much needed cash and even had a seat on the board of directors there. When Indian went bankrupt it all went to the court. The court allowed Indian to build enough Chiefs in 1953 to partly satisfy a binding sales contract with NYPD. Thats the legend part about the funky stories of the very last Indian built Chiefs and that. The final ruling of the court split the Indian Co. into the Indian Sales Corp (Owned by Brockhouse LTD) and the manufacturing assets went to Titeflex Corp.
John Brockhouse made a deal with Royal Enfield to buy motorcycles to his "Indian Sales Corp" specs and he had the connections to ship them to the US. I'm sure that the US branch made up all of the maintenance manuals for US distribution but they were using material straight from Royal Enfield to make them. I think they had an office at the old Indian plant in Springfield for a while but later they moved it to Chickopee Falls or someplace like that. Most of the bikes were shipped direct from Redditch to the different US distributors rather than to any one point. No manufacturing went on at Indian Sales Corp since they were more geared around sales and advertising.
In August or September of 1959 Brockhouse sold the Indian Sales Corp and all things associated with the Indian name and logo to AMC. This really stirred up a ruckus here in the states, All of a sudden AMC had a new company to market its products so most of the old ones like Cooper in LA CA lost there franchise to sell Matchless & AJS. The irony is that Cooper ended up selling Royal Enfields instead since Indian was now Matchless Indian. AMC didn't even own the company for a year. I believe they sold it to Berliner but the mark died within months, Afer that it was Floyd Clymer's turn but I don't know if he ever legally owned the name "Indian " before he died or not. I just know it was tied up in court for quite a while.
Most of this info came from people who worked for Indian back in the day and were kind enough to write it down and send it to the REOC here in the states and in the UK. Kerby
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152560 07/03/075:22 pm07/03/075:22 pm
I'm not sure. I was only a member of both clubs for the later end of the 1980s. The US club had approximately 190 members back in 1989. I'm sure Paul Rostic is still around up in Canada but I'm not sure if they still run a news letter. I got side tracked on Harleys for 15 years and am just now finding the time to get back to something different again. The RE Indian web site has a link to the E-mail addresses but I haven't tried to get a hold of them.
I've gotten so used to the web that a news letter seems a little outdated. Kerby
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152562 07/05/073:51 pm07/05/073:51 pm
Hi!... As far as I know Reoc North America still exists & at least still collects my dues & I continue to support the club.. They do produce a sporadic newsletter ( with classifieds)that more often than not lags a bit behind schedule... primarily due to lack of contributions by members. I recently received correspondence from the editor (new) & Pres. indicating that all was well & they are planning their anual rally in Ontario this summer ( PA. last year I believe). Here are some contact E-addresses: Pres: R. Macmillan, firstname.lastname@example.org Membership: B. Babcock, email@example.com Bullitin Editor: L. Coombs, firstname.lastname@example.org Hope they are current & this helps... I have no indication of member numbers other than my membership #, which is over 700. I joined the group almost 10 years ago & have made some interesting aquaintances & good friends on both sides of the "Pond" via club contacts. I have yet to make one of their rallies...primariy due to distance & personal schedule conflicts. Maybe this year??? Personally, I would like to see a higher level of activity here in the US & Canada, more akin to the UK owners club. My wife and I were invited over for the Redditch 100 year Reunion ( via Club contacts ) & were quite pleased & impressed by the level of member participation. I guess we are victims of geography & scarcity of RE/Indian owners...particularly Twin fans. Hope all this helps...
Re: '58-'59 RE Indian Chief ?? #152563 07/05/0711:08 pm07/05/0711:08 pm
I contacted Mr Babcock and got a membership application right away. I will be a member again shortly. The dues are only $15.00 so I donated a little more just for good measure. It will be interesting to see how much has changed in the past 18 years. Maybe someday, with help from owners, it will get to the point that the UK REOC is at. They have a pretty good website. Kerby