Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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NOT ANOTHER "CHECKBOOK" RESTORATION
February 14, 2009
“Indian” Jim Anderson, of Peoria, Ariz., was hanging out with his friend Larry Wood, in his shop near Daytona Beach, Fla. While he was there, Wood got a call about a 1947 Indian Chief motorcycle that was for sale. Wood said that he wasn’t interested in the motorcycle, but Anderson was. After buying it, he showed it to Dick Ollhoff Yellow Spear Restorations in Tomahawk, Wis Ollhoff is retired but he invited Anderson to restore the antique motorcycle in his shop . Up until then, the only restoring Anderson had done was a “checkbook restoration.” Since he had taken up full-time living in an RV, in the summer of 2008, Anderson “relocated” his home to Tomahawk where he worked on his own bike under Dick Ollhoff’s supervision. Over three months he tore the old Chief down to its bare frame and brought it back up to the beautiful piece it is today. He also gained a new respect for the work that restorers do and the time and commitment it takes to restore an old motorcycle — never mind an antique car. It took Anderson a great deal of time to complete his project. He worked on it full time for the entire three months. All needed parts came from Mike Tomas, the New Zealander who owns Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co. (www.kiwiindian.com), based in California. Other new components used on the Indian Chief included crash bars, a police style windshield, wheels and floorboards. A set of new saddle bags and a new seat were ordered from Sharon’s Leather. “What I ended up with was what I always wanted to have, an original-looking Indian Chief that was reliable and could cruse all day at 70+ mph,” says Anderson. In early October, Anderson cruised to the Barrington Concours d’Elegance in Barrington, Ill. He entered the bike in the Saturday road rally and the Sunday concours and picked up an award.