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Author Topic: 59 chief (I think)  (Read 1094 times)

rotorwrench

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2014, 06:56:04 PM »
That MCH 60 headlight looks like the ones used on the last of the 58 Trailblazers except I'm pretty sure that the blazer used an MCH52 since it had the amp meter in it. The Chief already had a place for an amp meter. The tool box on the 58/59 Chief was just one of the ones used on the early Bullets. AMC did have some influence on the late Chiefs and I'm glad you mentioned that tool/switch box since it didn't look like anything Royal Enfield ever made and I've always wonder about that.

Many of the 16 inch wheel rims could have been replaced with KH rims as replacements here in the states so that might be why the ones I've seen were KH. The GE headlamps might also have been replacements to get the sealed beam lamp instead of the small bulb reflector types made by Joltin Joe Lucas.

The Supplement to the Trailblazer part manual for the Chiefs leaves a lot to be desired. It's too bad that it was never properly updated with at least some basic drawings. It made us Indian-Enfield owners have to do a lot of reasearch and asking around to find answers to all the questions that come up for a proper restoration.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 07:08:58 PM by rotorwrench »

Tom 60 Chief

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 02:04:29 AM »
Hi Rotor.  The only other bikes I am sure the MCH60 headlight was used were the late fifties Ariels, but pictures seem to show they had side mounts not pedestal mount like our Chiefs.  There is a pedestal for sale on ebay now if anyone is interested.  Even though it is Lucas it came with a sealed beam headlight and I have used a normal six volt car headlight with no problems.  The parts manual is indeed a pitiful excuse for information.  It appears to have been poorly typed and with someones hand drawn front cover.  The numbers given seem to be accurate however.  I think the 1960+ AMC connection just adds more confusion. We have a mostly English Enfield machine, sold in America with an old established American motorcycle name and then the added AMC input.  The lack of definitive written information often leaves enthusiasts with 'best guesses' and assumptions.  My Washington State Vehicle title lists my bikes make as MATIN which I assume stands for Matchless Indian.  One could argue that there are no 'true' Indian pieces on it and only one Matchless part.  This forum has been very useful and informative for me and an excellent place to bounce ideas and info off people with similar interest in these unusual motorcycles. Regards.  Tom

rotorwrench

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 07:21:44 PM »
I saw that light pedestal since I still monitor the Enfield stuff. Most of my old Enfield Indian bike parts are Trailblazer or Apache on the big twin side and one old Tomahawk 500. I've been collecting parts for these since the early 80s so I've run into a few of the folks that have played with them over the years. I've delt with a few that have already gone to the happy hunting ground. If I can help, just ask. I monitor this site and the britbike site too. I try to help others when I can. I have enough information from Royal Enfield, Pashley, and Indian Sale Corp plus the REOC/NA news letters that I can help some. These old bikes were pretty special in there day. It's just a shame that Major Walker Smith died and it all slipped away into obscurity. If it weren't for Hitchcock's & a few others hanging in there, most of the REs would be non-running museum pieces. Kerby

PS I still learn new things on these machines. Thanks for the tool box and headlamp info. It looks like it was more like 99.9% of the Chiefs were from Redditch.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 07:31:50 PM by rotorwrench »

barenekd

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2014, 08:50:05 PM »
The Chiefs were 100% from Reddich. The importers (Indian Sales Company) who were an English could've changed a couple of things on them, but they were definitely manufactured in Reddich. The Indian Sales Company sold out to AMC, who were the AJS/Matchless manufacturer in the fall of '59.
The Indian dealers received some Matchless that were referred to as Matchless/Indians, but there was nothing on the bikes to indicate the Indian connection. There were some leftover Chiefs that were delivered to the old Indian dealers, too. Most of the dealers just became the Matchless dealers.
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Tom 60 Chief

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2014, 01:14:30 AM »
Sucher's book 'The Iron Redskin' states " Associated Motorcycles Ltd., continued to operate the Indian Sales Corp. after 1959, during which time they marketed AJS and Matchless machines in the U.S.  A somewhat confusing situation existed during this period in that when AMC took control of Indian Sales, there was outstanding a separate contract with Royal Enfield for five hundred 700cc vertical twin machines that had to be fulfilled as a part of the transaction.  Therefore, for a part of the 1960-1961 selling season, Matchless and AJS motorcycles were sold alongside Royal Enfield machines, which were painted Indian red and were designated as 'Chief's'.  After these machines were sold, Enfield machines were then handled under their own colors and name, by independent distributors."

Tom 60 Chief

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2014, 01:36:52 AM »
As to the 100% Reddich; as Kerby noted, the big speedometer was made in America by Stewart Warner and I am positive the tool box on the 1960-61s was made at Plumstead London.  The handlebar is one inch diameter (unlike the normal 7/8" british) and quite possibly made here along with the fender and dash emblems.  I have read online (totally unconfirmed) that only the frame, forks and drive train were made by Enfield.  I can't completely believe that without definitive proof.     Just as an aside, AMC didn't manufacture anything, they were just the the parent company formed in the late 30's by the Collier brothers for AJS/Matchless and later Francis Barnett, James, Sunbeam and Norton.  Regards.  Tom

rotorwrench

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2014, 04:42:43 PM »
Correction 99.9%, the speedos were definitely USA made!

Phil over in Oz has found a lot of stuff on the late Indian Enfields and answered several of my questions about this stuff. He has the RE-Indian site. I had always thought the T-Blazers used the SSU700 Lucas Headlamp through to the end of production but he sent me pictures of a 58 Blazer at Redditch that had the later lamp with the light switch moved down to the tool box. Just stuff like that and the sheet metal craftwork. RE made all of the sheet metal with the exception of that AMC type tool/switch box that Tom covered previously. After seeing a lot of the sheet metal over the years, you can tell if it was made by RE by the quality of it. That's why no one reproduces it these days because it would be too expensive to make a profit from it. 1-inch bars were not common in the UK but nothing RE made was common. They were a cut above the others till Major Smith died and the company was sold. There is a possibility that the bikes were shipped without bars to fit better in a crate but the bars could very well have been made in the UK like those 16-inch UK rims Tom posted a pic of. They weren't common in the UK either. The Pashley 3-wheelers used the same front fender, suspension, and wheel as the Chief models and they were entirely built in the UK. They were marketed by Indian Sales Corp here in the USA but they were also marketed in the UK as well with several different models available and under the Pashley name. Lucas made the electrics, Dunlop made rims & tyres, and Smiths made most speedometer components other than Stewart Warner et cetera so not all was made at Redditch but it was mostly assembled there till 1967. Royal Enfield was starting to feel the pain so they were very accommodating to anyone with an interest to purchase their wares.

USA incorporation rules are such that foreign owners can only own a part of the company. Granted, they can run it however they choose but they have to have officers or at least a registered agent that is usually a US citizen. They have to partner with the USA or the state they operate from in order to be granted a corporate charter and pay their fair share of taxes. The same thing was involved with Indian Sales Corp. If they had contracts with customers or suppliers at the time of the sale to AMC, those contracts had to be honored or a lawsuit could have been filed against them. International rules can also apply the same way. Brockhouse had a UK corporation dealing with a UK supplier in order to purchase for export to a US dealer network. It just depends on which corporate names or personal names (for a non-corporate individual) were involved in the contractual transactions as to who was liable for the contract specifics. International agreements for import and export can complicate matters as well.

I've read the horror stories from previous Indian dealers about what happened after ISC sold to AMC and it wasn't good. Many lost their franchise if they didn't already market AMC products. Motorcycle dealers in the same locations that sold AMC products usually got preferential treatmant in these cases and a lot of the old established Indian dealers either sold out or started selling Royal Enfield products since that was what they were tooled up for. This travesty further alienated dealers and customers alike from AMC and a chapter of a book could be writen about it. It truely was a mess that was never cleaned up well. All the old dealers I ever talked too raged about that situation.
Kerby
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 09:25:20 PM by rotorwrench »

barenekd

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2014, 11:42:16 PM »
AMC, AKA Berliner, didn't do Matchless dealers much good either, I had a '61 Matchless 250 that spent six months in a shop waiting for an alternator.Made me go out and buy a BSA Spitfire when I got tired of waiting. I guess I wasn't counting the accessory stuff when I said 10o% Enfield. I did note that some of that stuff could've been made elsewhere. Semantics, I guess.
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Grabof54

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Re: 59 chief (I think)
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2014, 09:14:18 PM »
The last 200 RE Indian Chief machines were supplied to Associated Motorcycles in London in either December 1960 or January 1961.
The bike fitted with engine # 50328 was despatched from the Royal Enfield factory at Redditch on the 23rd January 1961
Graham Scarth