From the Jason Lee Collection
1948 Indian Chief
The Indian Chief
Indian’s inimitable Chief was introduced as far back as 1922. It was a Scout-based 61ci (1000cc) flat head V-twin and would be an integral part of the model line-up for 31 years.
In 1940 Indian debuted the new streamlined 74ci (1200cc) Chief. The motorcycle featured their Spring Cradle Frame consisting of a set of rear plunger shocks and a new set of front girder forks with a Monroe hydraulic shock absorber. The leaf spring front fork that was an Indian signature since 1910 was no more. The chassis was remarkably comfortable and gave the Indian an advantage over Harley-Davidson who did not offer full suspension until 15 years later. The engine was Indian’s reliable sidevalve now updated with improved cooling capabilities and oiling system. And even today, nothing gathers attention quicker than an Art Deco-styled Indian Chief.
After World War II only the Chief made a return until lighter, more advanced models could be produced. But a series of financial and engineering faux pas doomed the company and Chiefs were still being sold when the Springfield, Massachusetts factory shut its doors in 1953. For many, the pre-1950 girder-fork Chiefs offer the best styling. After that, telescopic forks were fitted, which, to many, altered the aesthetics less favorably.
Born in Orange, California in 1970, Jason Lee is an ex-professional skateboarder, actor, film photographer, producer, and director. After a successful career during skateboarding’s very pivotal late 80s and early 90s, Lee retired from the professional circuit, but maintained solid ties to the industry, most notably through his partnership with longtime friend and fellow ex-professional skateboarder, Chris Pastras, and their now 25-year-old skate brand, Stereo Skateboards, which Lee co-manages with Pastras.
Lee would go on to pursue acting, taking some minor acting roles in 1992–1994, including the music video for the Sonic Youth single “100%”. His first major movie role was in Kevin Smith’s cult hit, Mallrats, which led to appearances in Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks II, and Cop Out.
Lee graduated to leading man roles in numerous movies, including Stealing Harvard, and A Guy Thing, and supporting roles and voiceovers in many more, including Underdog and the Alvin and the Chipmunks film franchise.
In 2005, Lee was offered the lead role in My Name Is Earl, his success with the character being recognized by two Golden Globe nominations, as well as a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.
Lee remains very active as producer and director with music videos for Beck and the band Midlake, while pursuing a keen interest in photography, family life and an age-old passion for motorcycles.
Jason Lee’s Indian Chief
As part of Lee’s collection for several years, the Chief offered has been a personal favourite. With a subtle custom air, the front mudguard was removed, and a lovely deep, rich burnt orange paintjob was applied to the tinware fitted to the freshly powder-coated frame.
Hanging in the middle is a brand-new Kiwi motor and transmission, and sparingly used since restoration, the odometer now shows a mere 580 miles. A ‘proper’ left-hand throttle set up and 6-volt electrics nod to authenticity and purity of the machine. The bike is reported to run perfectly.
The bike is offered for sale with a clean, clear title in Lee’s name.