1901-1953 Indian Motorcycle – Parts – Accessories

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  5. The Story of Gary’s 1947 Blue Rainbow Indian Chief

The Story of Gary’s 1947 Blue Rainbow Indian Chief

1947 Indian Chief – 74 c.i. Restored by Gary Stark

Blue Rainbow Paint – by Bob Stark

This beautiful Indian was given to me when I was five years old. It was a complete big rust bucket. However, like everything my dad would give me it came with strings. He said this bike could be mine, but I had to restore it before I turned 16 years old. Needless to say as a busy teenager I waited until that last summer to complete the restoration. In between working in the shop and working on my motorcycle. I spent every day working on my Chief at Starklite Cycle.

After I completed the restoration one of my favorite things was to take my motorcycle to shows held inside convention centers, and compete against Show Cars and Bikes. I would always ask a friend to come and help as it involved a lot of driving to get the bike to the shows, and time to clean and setup the display. In my second year of showing in two circuits the “International Show Car Association”, and the “R.G. Canning” Show circuit, I came up with my most elaborate display. This display consisted of an authentic Indian Totem Pole, Tee-Pee (borrowed from a friend from his Indian camp days), and authentic Indian chants played from inside the Tee-Pee. All lighted via high powered show lights. The display took over 4 hours to setup, along with another 4 hours detailing the bike before we left for the evening.

My display won numerous show awards for Best use of Theme. While the bike itself came in 3rd place for the overall show competition awards ! (This was against all bikes, such as Arlen Ness customized Harley Davidsons). And was always a consistent 1st or 2nd place winner in it’s class.

This picture has been seen in numerous books, calendars, and our catalog. This photo was taken by Roy Kidney shortly after I completed the restoration.

One day I walked into the Toy Store and found they used the picture to make a toy of my bike! No royalties were received.

From our 2009 trip to the UK for the European Indian rally. I shipped my bike over to London and rode around the Scottish highlands for two weeks. This photo in front of the Eileen Donan castle in Scotland. For the two weeks this was my only transportation and she survived beautifully.

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  • Michael Masternak ,

    Nice article. The things dads do for the kids, are for the dads too. I am sure he is proudly watching over you.
    Funny thing the plastic modle Indian shown has been in my family for many years. I would wake my son with the lights flashing, motor sounds a of course Indian the world’s finested motorcycle.
    He never complained. He too learned to build bikes .

  • David ,

    Hey Gary, thanks for sharing.
    Always loved your and your Dad’s rainbows.
    Happy Holidays.

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