In 1999 the Indian Motorcycle was back in production. They produce 50 of the Indian Chief models know as the "Fifty" Chief's originally produced with some custom paint and other items. I remember when I was ask by the new dealership owner if I wanted to take a look at what he had just purchased. At the time he did not tell me what he was going to show me. Having known him for a long time prior, I was not sure what he had been up to, but I went with him to a warehouse. We stopped out front and I followed him to the entrance of the building. When he opened the door and turned on the lights, I was looking at 40, brand new 1999 and 2000 Indian Chief's of all colors. At first I really did not know what he was up to. Then he asked me what I though about running his new Indian dealership. I ask him where it was and he stated it's not built yet. Well he owned a new brick 12 story building in the downtown area of Reno in the middle of the financial district. At first I thought this would be a strange place for an Indian dealership, but as it turned out it was the perfect place. For any of you who had a chance to visit our dealership back then, you would know what I mean. Our sales department was in one section of the bottom floor, and our Service department was in another section of the building also on the bottom floor. Both faced the street, So that was my introduction to Indian. Getting back to the first time I looked at the new Indian Chief's, He asked me if I wanted to take one for a ride. Coming from the "Rice Rocket" bikes, I thought these bikes were absolutely Huge bikes. I am wearing shorts and sandals at the time, but what the hell, I picked one out and down the road I went. I will tell you that my first impression was Luke warm at best. To me they felt very awkward and the seating position felt really stretched out not to mention the weight of them as compared to what I was use to riding. I returned on the bike and at that moment, I shook his hand and told him I would manage the dealership for him. It was one of the most exciting and fun jobs I ever had. It wasn't with out its challenges though. Trying to enter into the American V-Twin market when Harley Davidson was the "King" of that market place and has been for a really long time. Most of the customers who purchased the Indian Brand back then just wanted something different. So the story continues with the new Indian Thunder Stroke the Scout and now the FTR models. It continues to be fun!
2000 Indian Chief
Sometime in the year 2000, Indian had introduced the Indian Scout and then shortly after that the introduction of the Indian Spirit came on board. I remember when customer would come into the dealership and inquire about them. We had a test drive policy at the dealership that was pretty nice for our potential customer's. We had demos of each model that we would allow them to test ride. The only caveat was my wife Kim would jump on her demo black Scout and they would follow her on a 5 to 10 mile test ride. When they returned to the dealership, most of them want to move up to the Chief. It was the ironic brand and some were OK with the size of the bike and other like the middle weight of the Spirit. As time went on in 2002 Indian introduced the new platform of the Power plus 100 Chief. Along with good changes for the Scout and Spirit line. I remember traveling to the Indian Factory in Gilroy and attending the introduction of the Power plus Chief. I really liked what Indian had done with the bike and the looks said it all for me. Finally an Indian with it's own power plant. When we received our first 2002 Chief's, they were pretty low on power considering they we a whooping 1.6 liter engine. They were very mild in sound and performance. Some notable changes with in the Chief line up came in 2001 in the frame. The rack and trail changed from the 36 degree rake on the 1999 and 2000 Chief models to a 34 degree rake on the 2001 along with some minor changes elsewhere on the frame. They kept the 34 degree rake going into the 2003 to 2004 Indian Chief models along with a completely redesigned frame and engine assembly. Indian was only using the S&S Super Stock 88 engines in the Scout and Spirit line. The new 2002 Chief was the first model line to receive the Power-plus 100 engine. During this time of the Indian Gilroy bikes I think there was a total of 8 thousand Indian Chief built.
2000 Indian Chief
2002 Indian Chief
In 2004, the Indian Motorcycle company was closed. Again another chapter in the long line of Indian motorcycle history that has followed Indian since 1953. In 2007-08 Steve Stelican who owned Rivera and Chris Craft Boats, a Soccer Team and various other popular branded companies purchased the Indian brand. The intellectual property was purchase by the new Indian manufacturing company that was based out of Florida, production began for the new Power-plus 105 engine. Kings Mountain bikes that were produced came with a newly designed engine. Increase in displacement, redesigned engine case, cylinder heads and cylinders. oil pump, incorporated of fuel injection and a six speed Baker transmission. The KM Chief also sported a set of dual disc brakes in the front, body electric menu control modules and a path for the customer to interface with the bikes on board diagnostics. I think the KM Indians had good improvement over the Gilroy bikes and if the Gilroy factory could have maintained there presence with the Indian brand, we would have realized improvements in design and additions of other models as well.
2009 Indian Chief (KM)
2014 Indian Chief
In 2011, the Indian Motorcycle company was acquired by Polaris Industries. Again another chapter in the long line of Indian motorcycle history. I believe this time Indian Motorcycle Company will be here for the long haul. The investment of time and product development has produced the latest generation of Indian motorcycle that appear to have finally etched a place in the motorcycle market place, With the introduction of the new Thunder Stroke 111 and the Scout line up, the new Indian Motorcycle company is well on their way to a successful future. With the Scout making headlines in the American Flat Track and the introduction of the FTR series, I feel that Indian's parent company is in it to win it. Who knows what other models will appear in the future, but one only only hope that the new Indian Motorcycle Company stays true to the brand in there development and continued support of the First American Motorcycle Company!