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Hagerty Employee

How a grimy Indian Chief can merit a concours-condition price

When we see rust, dirt, and grease on a collector vehicle, we don’t usually expect a hefty price tag. In a select few cases, however, the right amount of dirt and history makes a dirty vehicle a valuable vehicle—#1-condition (Concours) valuable. This is especially true in the world of motorcycles. So how can a #4-condition motorcycle bring #1-condition money?


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I like survivors and derelict but am not fussy on fake ratty.


There has been some terrible fake patina "barn fresh" overpriced flips in my area the past few years.


I concede that if you have a 95% survivor that needs a rocker or quarter panel to be allowed to drive it you get that fixed and may choose to get it painted to match the worn paint. I lean towards fixing the minimum properly and letting that age into the story myself.


The bike in the article has a great look. My tastes would lose the windscreen thing. But then I like worn-in leather jackets and jeans vs. shiny new.


Fashion cycles come and go.  What is hot today may be old and cold tomorrow.  Anyone who has been around cars and motorcycles for a while has seen this. 


The problem with barn finds, is that they are still #4s.  It will probably cost more to restore one than it would cost to buy a nice one that someone else has restored.  And when people are no longer interested in rusty old barn finds, you will just have a #4 bike.  What will you do with it in the meantime?

Intermediate Driver

I've found that when a motor head finds that special car or bike that they want condition,most of the time,doesn't mean much. They'll spend what they have to do to own it and spend what ever they have to to make it what their vision of it is. 

New Driver

I’d be interested in the history of this cycle.

New Driver

What is the story behind this motorcycle? Where was it found? Prior owners?

Intermediate Driver

Sorry, a #4 is a #4.  In a few years the market will correct and the person who pays #1 money for this will regret it.

Advanced Driver

I know where there is one almost identical to this sitting in a basement leaning against the wall. It has been there over 35 years that I know of. I asked the old fellow who owned it if I could see it and he said yes but it's not for sale so don't even ask. He said he and his wife had their first date on it and rode it all the time. She had passed and it would never be for sell. I envied and admired him at the same time 🙂

Pit Crew

Nice Seat!

Pit Crew

Love the Fender Ornament!


There are folks that collect motorcycles like some folks collect stamps.  Once procured they never see the light of day.  There are a relatively small minority of collectors that actually ride their machines.  A patina bike has the advantage of being able to enjoy riding the bike without worrying about scratches and a bit of dirt.  When parking together with restored bikes I can tell which bike gets the most attention from the casual observer.  Understand this mostly applies in the category of early and mid-century American motorcycles.