on the Road
Mike "Kiwi" Tomas
Kiwi Chief Engine Cases
Before Kiwi gets to tell about his
most recent trips to meets all over the US as well as the latest update
on his new cylinder heads, here's a little something for those who are
waiting for the Kiwi engine cases. Yeah, I know I've been mouthing off
about them for ages, and they are still not ready, but I think this has
more to do with me bugging the Kiwi guys for news all the time and interpreting
their answers "in a positive spirit", than them being behind schedule.
The first batch of cases are now at a very prestigeous machine shop for
the final machining operations. The details are kinda secret for the time
being, but suffice to say that these are very "high end" engine cases at
a very fair price ($1,199.00 for a matched set of case halves with cam
cover). There will be an article here going into great detail as soon as
the cases are done. As an extra bonus, Kiwi has put a special price on
case sets being pre-ordered. If you order now, you will get a set of the
limited first production run for $999.99! And that's matched case halves
with cam cover, all CNC'ed from 356-T6 aluminum and incorporating some
neat detail solutions but looking just like factory cases. Contact Kiwi
Indian Parts for more details and release date.
These should be avaible at Davenport
(September 1 to 3).
Heads are made from aircraft 356-T6 Aluminum
and feature no shrinkage. Patterns were made utilizing the most modern
computer design software and one of the most high end pattern shops in
the country. Patterns were fully created by CNC machining. One of the big
benefits of this is that there is virtually no shrinkage compared to cheaper
methods. Casting is also performed by one of the highest end foundrys in
the country who casts engine parts on an OEM basis for many top US manufacturers
the motorcycle industry. Machining is accomplished also by fully utilizing
CNC equipment. This was on of the greatest benefits utilizing computers
as the file data that was generated at the pattern shop was completely
transferable to the machine shop. The end result is a 1st class part. These
heads have the most amount of gasket surface area between the head bolt
holes and the combustion chamber (even when counterbored for 80" or Bonneville)
which is the normal areas gaskets will blow. Spark plug threaded
holes are taped to accept 3/4" reach plugs for those who prefer to run
longer reach spark plugs. Heads will be ready in mid-August, and while
the regular price is a very reasonable $375.00 for 74" and $450.00 for
80" and Bonneville versions, the special introductory price for 74" heads
is just $300.00.
Sacramento, California Show
This year Sacramento meet was held in
a new location in Dixon, California at the local fairgrounds. This site
is approx 20 miles to the west of the old location under the freeway in
Sacramento. This new site was 1st class and the club members did a fantastic
job of making sure everything went effortless for us vendors. It is a smallish
meet and is very kicked back. The members really made it feel homely. Upon
arrival I was offered a barbequed hamburger lunch with all the fixin's.
Filling the belly always is a hit especially when you're not expecting
Sunday the club put on a wonderful ride.
It took us by a dam and some fantastic hilly back country scenery which
probably was gold country way back when. The ride was about 150 miles at
a bad guess or maybe it was 100 miles that seemed like 200 miles, who's
counting. Some of the roads were about 1 lane wide at times and super duper
tight turns. These guys are great to ride with
This was a very modern motorcycle show
held at the Colorado State fairgrounds in Pueblo. We were invited by Indian
Motorcycle to display a selection of antique Indians. We had our Freightliner
big rig and m/c display set up inside the building along with Indian Motorcycle.
The displayed motorcycles were '38 Chief, '40 Sport Scout, '40 Bobber Scout,
2 x '47 Chiefs, '48 Chief and a '51 Chief. We were thankful to be set up
in the only aircontioned building. Indian greeted us at the entrance upon
driving in and made sure everything went effortless for us. Indian Motorcycle
was very professional and nothing was a problem. We even got to teach some
of their guys to ride our original '48 Chief. Fortunately for them this
was one of the few we own that has a right hand throttle. It is a nice
experience to have someone else share what we enjoy so much. These folks
really appreciate the old iron.
A rigid frame Scout was unveiled and is
probably being named the Bonneville Scout (I came up with the name and
the bike was hidden in the Kiwi rig and unveiled at the Pueblo show).
It's a pretty cool ride. We got to cruise one of the 2000 Chiefs. Not bad
at all. Indian was so nice that they delivered one to our shop which gets
cruised around on. Branscombe Richmond played with his band on Friday evening
inside our building which was a fantastic show. He is darn good. All the
nights were long ones or should I say the sleeping time was short.
We made the front page of the Pueblo newspaper with our '47 Chief. This
was great publicity for all. We even met up with some riders on pre '54
The crowd estimated attendence was 25,000
which was very good for a 1st time event and there were hundreds of different
venders. What was also nice was to feel that the whole town was behind
this event 100%. No matter where we went we were greeted with smiles and
On the return trip I met up with Doug
Vancil, Top fuel Harley drag racer. Doug smoked by me in his Vance and
Hines sponsored Volvo big rig near Albuqueque, New Mexico. We made contact
on the CB and cruised into Flagstaff at 10.30 pm. We did the formal meeting
stuff, he threw open his doors and checked out his 6.45 sec, 215 mph, 725-750
hp 160ci drag racer. He couldn't wait to get in the back of the Kiwi rig
and check out the old iron. Turns out he used to work on a few Indians
in Albuquerque at a local dealership. Our aim was to make it to Kingman
that night, about another 150 miles (under 2 hours at our speed) but we
finally climbed into our sleepers at 1.30 am. We cruised together into
Southern California. He's a way cool guy and does his own bike building,
engine work, designing and now truck driving. His wife Julie who was not
along for this trip is also the truck driver and crew chief.
It's about to happen. We will have a display
at the Indian Motorcycle Company area which is near the Super 8 Motel.
Our Freightliner big rig will have a full inventory of parts on hand so
if you need any or break down, hopefully we will have your part. The Bonneville
racer that we are involved in should be on display at Sturgis. It's looking
pretty good. Do stop on by to say hi. We are looking forward to seeing
Engine Cases for Chief.
356-T6, CNC machined.
Matched case halves and
cam cover, 48-up style.
Pre-order only $999.99!
Kiwi Chief Heads, 74",
80" and Bonneville will be ready in 1-2 weeks. Special Intro Price for
74" Heads: $300.00
Sacramento. Ride on the
Sunday after the meet. Kiwi rig right. Kiwi all-original '48 Chief left.
Pueblo: Kiwi makes the front
Pueblo. New "Scout" flanked
by Kiwi's '38 Chief and '41 Scout.
Pueblo. New rigid "Bonneville
Pueblo. Kansas City Chiefs(!)
NFL player Ralph Tamm, Kiwi and Kiwi restored '47 Chief.
Doug Vancil Racing and Kiwi
rigs in Arizona.
Ross (Kiwi Junior), drag
racer Doug Vancil and drag bike.