chout header

The Ultimate Indian Motocycle Hybrid, the marriage of a vintage Scout frame with a Chief engine.

Ive been planning and gathering for this build for over a year now, I can picture the finished bike in my head, the essence of motocycle, a rigid framed vintage roadracer, leaf sprung fork, single pan saddle, hand gearchange, foot clutch, left hand throttle and the biggest production Indian engine of the time shoehorned into the best handling Indian frame of All time! A true hotrod, the looks of a stripped down wall bike on steroids!

Why The Alchemist?
Alchemy, the mastery of turning base metals into gold - seems to sum up the process of turning rusty scrap into the my ultimate vintage motocycle!

For more information on Chouts and some examples of the breed - visit The Chout Breeders Association Blog

CBA logo link

The Gathering


The Powerplant

The whole project really started with the aquisition of a complete 1933 74" Chief motor from Nevada via US ebay. When the motor arrived in its crate I realised there was a lot to defore it would ever run again. The cylinders were so overbored and worn that they were out to 3.30" bores and the cylinder wall was dangerously thin at the valve chest. one cylinder had a broken flange at the base and both had numerous broken and chipped fins. The cylinders were taken to Richi Foss at Foss Fabrication and Welding in Inverness, where the breaks and chips were made good.

1933 chief motor

The crank cases were checked over and look to be in good shape, the crank assembly will be pulled apart for rebuild or replacement (more later)

A bit more searching on ebay and a pre '32 Chief transmission was sourced, again from the USA, it's then that the search for a suitable primary began!!

It's amazing just how much you learn in a short period of time when you are trying to piece an Indian special together!

Some general rules of buying Indian bits have now been learned - First off, dont assume that people on the other side of the Atlantic have got any more of a clue what they have got than you have, secondly dont part with your hard earned until you have decided that the part is exactly what you need and is in usable condition - just because the seller assures you he's an expert and the part is in excellent condition doesnt mean it is!

I now have three sets of Indian primary covers, two of which I have been assured are the right ones for a 1933 motor and transmission, none of which are. The 1932/33 motor (and primary) was a "one year only" model, the year that Indian upped the primary gearing (still using helical gears) before changing to triplex chain primary in late 1933. The 1933 model used a larger front drive pulley and a smaller intermediate gear - which is proving nigh on impossible to find!

During the summer of 2010 I got the opportunity to buy a complete 1940 Chief bottom end, built up with new bearings bushings pins etc etc. I decided to buy it and use it as the powerplant to get the Chout project moving - I will take my time to sort out the 1933 motor and fit that later on.

1940 chief bottom end

A set of new cylinders, pistons and valves were bought, heads that came with the bottom end were re-finned by Rich Foss.

cylinders and heads

In the Autumn of 2010 A frame appeared on ebay in the USA, a 1929 101 Scout frame that needed renovation. It took a bit of doing but a shipping company was found and the deal done. The frame arrived a while later and the traditional first mock up was put together out on the trailer outside the my house using the '33 motor and early trans and the chromed Junior Scout tanks from the Sport Scout.


bare frame

mock up

As can be seen from the lower mock up picture there is not a lot of room. The powerplant could sit a bit lower, how much lower can be decided once the primary is comple as this will hit off the lower frame rail if set too low. the cross bar under the tank will need to be modified to clear the cylinder heads. The tank will actually be sitting under the top rail on the finiished bike as on a 101 Scout.

A set of Hecker 101 forks were sourced through IPE and they arrived early in 2011. the frame fork and a pair of 18" wheels were loosely pinned together to get a feel for the dimensions of the bike

rolling chassis 1

rolling chassis 2

First impressions...... couldn't get over how long and low the chassis is! And so much lighter than a Chief!


Over the winter months the spares boxes were raided and basically anything that could be sold on ebay were disposed of to pay for the parts needed to bring the project together. I now have most of oit in hand, what I dont have can easily be sourced through IPE or locally.


The 1940 Motor Build .......................... coming soon, work in progress!


The bottom end had been built up by Earl McGhee over in the USA, when it arrived I decided to do some alterations, first off I wanted to fit a drive side oil seal - supplied by Moen at IPE

A pair of new "made in India" cylinders and pistons were bought via ebay and taken to Autohead Recon in Inverness to get honed to suit, some time was spent with the file and emery gapping the piston rings and fitting the pistons in the cylinders.

A lot of thought and discussion with various other Indian owners went into the cam choice. Eventually, it seemed, all fingers pointed to Jim Mosher at Performance Indian in New Mexico. I emailed him then phoned him, had an in depth conversation about what I was looking for and the kind of riding and performance i was looking for and settled on a pair of vintage Shunk 74 cam lobes that he had. Jim fitted them to a set of good gears with new shafts and supplied a set of Bonneville followers and pushrods.