Gunners Garage

AN INDIAN WITHOUT AN INDIAN?

I have this thing for Indian mascots on collector vehicles. This may be due to watching too many Westerns as a kid or it may be due to my mom telling me my grandfather was part Indian. He looked like was and maybe he was, but somehow I think I heard something lots of kids heard then.

For whatever reason, I developed a great deal of respect for the image of a Brave or Chief personifying a great culture and a proud race.

In 1972, I purchased an old Pontiac with an illuninated Indian face on the hood. Today I own three Pontiacs with Indian mascots. Recently, they met the Indian head on the fender of my “new” ’40 Indian motorcycle.

By the time I went to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (www.antiquemotorcycle.org) meet in Davenport, Iowa, on Labor Day weekend, I knew my bike was not supposed to have an Indian. Chris Daniel (cdaniel677@aol.com) confirmed this. Chris knows his Indian motorcycle fender lenses. He makes and sells a factory-style, 2-piece 1947-’53 Indian mascot that matches the color and detail of the original.

Chris’ lens looks just like the one that’s on my bike and I’m glad to have his as a spare. It may not be “stock” for my bike, but if you think I’m riding an Indian without an Indian, you’ve got another think coming! 

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