Ricky Berndt – 1948 Indian Chief


A seriously sought after bike.

So, we have a 1948 Indian Chief. The story behind Ricky’s purchase is as fun as the idea of being able to drive it. So, without further adieu, Here is Ricky’s 1948 Indian Chief story.

The story starts like this. I was with my dad and his friend at a flee market, it was 1970, 18901265_746135438890632_2076067900_oand I was 8 years old.
Now, my dad was a mechanic who worked on everything from daybreak to heartbreak, but loved ol’ school bikes and had them in every corner of the shop .
18838366_746124972225012_547072960_oIt was close to Father’s Day and I had just gotten paid by my dad for helping out in the shop (I was a gopher) . My dad and his friend were a ways up ahead of me, as I was lollygagging .
Something caught my eye, so I looked and saw a little old lady in a rocking chair making something crochet, I think .
I saw the front fender on a box so, I went and talked to her about it, thinking it was a Harley.
I asked her how much she wanted for the fender,  she said “Honey, it’s a whole bike. How much do you have”
Well, I was happy to answer $100.00. She said, “You know what? I’ll take that!” 18818269_746135428890633_1656070722_o
Well now I had to tell my dad and he was instantly pissed because I had probably bought a pile of crap !!
So, I got him over there and he opens a box. Inside sits a fuel tank with Indian on it ( I had no idea) and he says to me, “Good job.” as he patted my head.
We put this together, just him and I.
I worked the labor off, it was worth it.
Well, the years passed and I joined the military. My dad passed away and the bike sat for 7 years with fuel in tank and carburetor
18902130_746135418890634_340175597_nWhen I got the Chief back, I found Robert Wooden to help me get her going again. We did a rebuilding of the engine and transmission .
The ol’ girl has an 80cc motor with three speed transmission and it’s a numbers match the bike. It is still 6 volt and everything works!!
I did take the buddy seat off put on a solo seat but still have original seat plan on redoing it.
I didn’t think of taking pictures when we first started.
I’ve used a few YouTube videos to tune it up or set valves, but I have the original repair 18818312_746135605557282_2053555882_omanual and I use it more.
So, as you all know, the Indian is a well crafted and highly sought after bike. A lot of people think they are the best and I think most will agree that they are a great looking motorcycle.
I hope you have enjoyed reading Ricky’s story. Comment below.

2 replies »

  1. My favorite story ! Ok it’s mine but after reading it I actually shed a tear because my dad has long passed and I know he’d be just as proud of me today as he was the day I bought this beautiful machine ! Thank you Dennis for writing my story !!!

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