Christmas 2004 Chief Project
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Manitou - A Hybrid Chief
By Dollar and Jack

1920’s Indians aren’t very common anywhere in the world, let alone the top model of the marque, Big Chief. On the other hand, bikers who ride the same HD for 15 years aren’t that common either.

Jukka ”Jack” Korpijaakko started his motorcycling career back in 1982. His first ride was a quite original 350cc AJS from 1950 which, according to the information available, was the only example of that year model in Finland. Despite of a ground-up restoration, the engine decided to go BOOM in the vicinity of the clubhouse of Tonocks MC, a club that had been founded just months earlier. The AJS was pushed into the workshop of the club and stayed there - as did Jack who became a member.

Tonocks MC was ”radical” chopper club by the standards of that time in Finland, and original bikes weren’t very popular in the club. Jack decided to recycle the AJS pretty soon, as the other guys were also moving from Brit choppers to Harley big twins.

-This story is a free, shortened translation of the article ”Jack’s Indian” published in Kopteri magazine vol. 44, 2002. Original text by Dollar, pictures by Jack. Translation by Jack.

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"Laughing Indian" is kind of appropriate on the tank of this bike!
So is the name, Jack has given it.

Panhead Bobber.
In the autumn 1984 couple of guys from the club went to the US and managed to buy 3 Panheads, one of them for Jack. As years went by, the Panhead was altered bit by bit, but remaining basically a bobber all the time. In its final incarnation this rigid Pan was a classic hellraiser with its Texas stroker motor, Z-bars, suicide clutch and jockey shift. The rigid frame was unfashionably chromed. Even today you can hear Jack letting out such slogans as ”Only pussies ride handclutch”. He had the Pan for nearly 16 years and it was sold in late 2000. A year before that Jack had started to peek more and more at clubmate Jokke’s treasures.

”Well, the situation kinda broke loose in ’99 when we went to see bikes at Int'l Indian Rally which was held in Finland that summer. Me and my buddies just wanted to see some cycles we knew we were never gonna see again in our lives, and check out how Jokke was doing there. Then there was this Swedish Chout. I think that’s when I lost it totally. I couldn’t sleep after that. All I could think of was how to get an Indian.”

Jokke, who had 1946 and 1947 Chiefs, had already at that time bought a 1925 Big Chief basket with sidecar.

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The Chief retains the original double acting rear brake (internal shoes, working from the pedal and external contracting band, operated by the handlebar lever).
Original "Finnbike".
The actual history of the Big Chief you see here is a little bit vague. It has been sold here in Finland 1925 and was equipped with sidecar, which kind of made it De Luxe model of its time. The bike was last registered in the early 50's and that gentleman was the one who sold it in 90's. The story goes that local ”Old Bike Club” guys tried to buy the bike, but offered only a few hundred marks (Finnish money) for the almost complete bike and sidecar. Luckily the seller was aware of the value of the bike, or at least understood that it was worth more than just couple of hundreds. It’s not known how the youngish dealer, eventually passing on the bike to Jokke, got to buy the Indian, but the price offered and paid was obviously higher. Later a friend from another club tipped Jokke about the bike and that’s how this Big Chief was ”saved”
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The Beginning... 1925 Chief and sidecar as found. Pre WW2, Indians were very popular in the Nordic countries, where the roads (or lack thereof...) in rural areas were much like in rural US, and Indians among the few bikes tough enough to cope.
At this point Jack was checking out the boxes where the Big Chief was lying. After a while the clubmates decided to make a deal as Jokke knew he wouldn’t have had time to put the ”Old One” back together in ages. The deal was made for the bike only, and the sidecar went to a third guy who has a restoration project going on. 

When Jack was hauling boxes of rusty junk back home, Annukka, the sunshine of Jack’s life (read: wife) must have thought: ”Oh Shit. Thousands of marks for that pile of shit. Well, heyyyy, you’re my man.”

Alley Racer.
Despite of all this, Jack had seen the light, so the grinding machine started to scream in the garage. Cleaning rust from parts which were to be nickel plated took lot of elbow grease but was worth of it. All sandblasting of forks, frame etc was done in the clubhouse yard with DIY blaster. Although plans changed as things went ahead, one thing was obvious; it’s going to be a ”racer”. 

Jaska Ruohola from Leak MC made new gas/oil tank using the original tank as pattern. The handpump was left out, an extra nipple for return oil-line added, and the oil capacity was increased. Gasoline compartment takes almost 3 gallons. Clubmate Ile laced wheel hubs to 18” rims. Assembling of the lower end was left to someone more skillful (read; pro), as was the painting. Otherwise Jack did all the work by himself.

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Note Dell'Orto carb with original air horn, Jockey shifter, homemade beltguard and original left-side kickstarter. Who says you can't mix old and new parts and get great reults?
Engine is a mix and match Bonneville. Cases are from 1946, cyl’s from the thirties and heads one-year only 39’s. Cams and lifters came from Kiwi. Other features are: Stainless valve covers, Bosch ”Autolite-lookalike” generator, both from Sweden, 38mm Dell’Orto pumper, Liberty Rings and airhorn from Lyle Landstrom. Luckily the King Clutch became available during the project as well as the Moto Valve. All transmission gears were replaced but many parts, for example the main shaft, were totally usable. Other parts, like trans case and tower, are from 20's.

Jockey shift was moved to left side of the bike by making new keyways in the shaft and turning it to the left. 

Fender is Triumph-styled repop, and rearlight is half-homemade from Hecker101 parts. Headlight… well you try to guess which car it’s from! Exhaust pipes are homemade and covered with Thermo-Tec to get the hot fumes out hot, as well as protect riders righ leg. Muffler is some universal Taiwan-chrome job. 

The final touch was paint job with same colors Jack had been using also in his Pan. ”This way it looks lots more fun, and I didn’t have to paint my helmet again to match the bike” says Jack

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The other side. Note wrapped exhaust pipes, Bosch "Autolite lookalike" generator and adapted tail- and head lights (is it off a Citroen 2CV? Moen)
Last summer the Big Chief was started first time in about 50 years. It cruises easily around 100 km per hour (65MPH) and accelerates from there with ease. As Jack puts it: ”It rides nice and is Cool”. 

We think that basic ideas of Hot Rodding couldn’t have been expressed better than this. This machine ain’t for a shy guy.  Where ever it is it turns heads, and the feedback Jack has had on ”MANITOU”, has been so far only positive. 

These bikes were meant for open roads, not just for shows or museums. It takes a lot more courage to do something different, something "your own", than to take the path so many has taken before you. 

One More Up and Running!
Note to those wondering what happened to all the original parts. They are kept safe and are NOT for sale. No original parts were harmed (destroyed or altered) in this production! ;-)

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Original ammeter and switch housing on new DIY tank.
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