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|For those of you looking to
acquire an old Military Indian, here are some things you might want to
consider before jumping in with both feet...... During WWII Harley supplied
around 88,000 WLA models to the Military forces, and Indian built probably
less than a third of that amount, which was spread over 4 basic platforms.
The majority were supplied to Allied forces, so the supply was spread out
around the world, more than Harley.
Military Indians came in four basic models. The smallest and least expensive, is the 741B, which is a 30.50 cubic inch (500 cc) twin based on the Jr. Scout, which is usually the model you will see for sale, due to the higher production numbers.
The next model is the 640B, which is the
45 cubic inch (750 cc) Scout
Next step is the Chief, model 340B. This one, is basically a civilian model, 74 cubic inch engine (1200 cc), with some Military changes. Again, not a real high production model, but most items are accessible. I've seen figures estimating around 5000 units built.
Last but not least, is the 841, which is the toughest to find parts for, since these were a limited model, of an all new design. They sported a transverse 45 cubic inch (750 cc) V twin engine (Moto Guzzi Style) and a shaft final drive. Many of the parts for this bike, are extremely difficult to find, as the total production was around 1000 units, and it is the only model of the four which was not an adapted civilian production bike.
The first thing people usually tell me about the Military bikes, is that they must be easy to paint. Yes, and No....... The application is fairly easy, but you will have as many, or more hours in the paint, as you will with a civilian model. The reason is, sheer number of parts. Each Military bike will have around 120 to 150 individual pieces to paint. A civilian model will have more chrome, or cad plating, and the finish paint items usually consist of the sheetmetal parts that number around a dozen or so pieces. Several of the less obvious parts such as frame, hubs, forks, etc. are either painted black, or powder coated which breaks up the color scheme. Take a look around your shop, and try to imagine 150 parts hung up to dry, at one time......
Research information is sometimes very
tough as well. There are a few
The next item to think about is parts availability. If you want a correct (or close) restoration, you are probably going to have to locate some parts. Well, here is a bit of a problem. Many of the Military bikes were sold as surplus, and at the time they were cheap, so they had the original hardware stripped, and discarded. There are a few spares around, but you have to dig pretty hard to root them out. There are maybe a half dozen dealers around the world that have any significant supply of original, and reproduction parts for the Military Indians. Several NOS or used parts will turn up with individuals, but again, you better get out the shovel!
Once you are done with the research, and
parts gathering, the repairs,
I got into Indians because of the sameness
of the Harleys, and the