Introduced in 1922, the Indian Chief had a 1,000 cc (61 cubic inches) engine based on the Powerplus engine; a year later the engine was enlarged to 1,200 cc (73 cubic inches). Numerous improvements were made to the Chief over the years, including the provision of a front brake in 1928.
In 1940, all models were fitted with the large skirted fenders that became an Indian trademark, and the Chief gained a new sprung frame that was superior to rival Harley's unsprung rear end.The 1940s Chiefs were handsome and comfortable machines, capable of 85 mph (137 km/h) in standard form and over 100 mph (160 km/h) when tuned, although their increased weight hampered acceleration.
The 1948 Chief had a 74 cubic inch engine, hand shift and foot clutch. While one handlebar grip controlled the throttle the other was a manual spark advance.
In 1950, the V-twin engine was enlarged to 1,300 cc (79 cubic inches) and telescopic forks were adopted. But Indian's financial problems meant that few bikes were built. Production of the Chief ended in 1953.