The Chief Ambassador By Bryan Fuller. Old Fusion Style.

I  love it when custom builders start a project working with parts from different OEM manufacturers, parts that were never supposed to meet on the same motorcycle. Take the best of 2 different brands, mix with talent their unique styles and components, make them compatible and the result of this approach is probably going to be very interesting, both aesthetically and technologically.

It’s exactly what Bryan Fuller of Fuller Hot Rods did with this Chief Ambassador, building a very cool bare metal machine mixing parts and powertrain from 2 iconic brands and motorcycle models: the classical Indian Chief body work from Indian and the driveline of the Moto Guzzi V-Twin (more about this later)

In America, nothing more iconic than the Indian Chief fenders and famous head-dress logo emblem. In Italy, no engine symbolizes more Moto Guzzi than the V-Twin engine designed by Giulio Cesare Carcano. The engine, an air-cooled, longitudinal crankshaft, transverse cylinder, pushrod V-twin began life with 700 cc displacement and 45 hp and was designed to give Moto Guzzi renewed race competitiveness. It was redesigned in 1971.

Bryan Fuller gathered the Indian parts primarily from a gentleman in Alabama whose father had collected Indians starting in the 50’s. He picked a 1933-34 frame because it was 1 of only 2 hardtails he had (The big springs on the side of the 40’s frames are just big and ugly to him).  He then rummaged through parts and grabbed random front and rear fenders, gas tank, and front girder fork.

Because the 33 frame has a longer neck than the 40’s by about 1.5″, the fork had to be stretched. Then after setting the bike at correct ride height, Bryan noticed that for proper stance 2″ had to be removed above the axle in the factory welding location. Old Harley’s and Indian’s had what it seems like 2″ of clearance between tires and fenders! Something irritating Bryan who set the front fender about 1/2″ off the tire and moved it back so it fits nice on the front edge. This also required 2″ to be removed off of the bottom edge. Sides were removed and bead rolled to add some extra detail as well as adding a 1/4″ rod to nicely finish the edge. Rear fender got the same couture treatment which really lowers the rear of the bike for a more “tail-draggin” stance.  Taillight is an old 30’s Plymouth unit Bryan had laying around in his stash pile from swap meets. He also modified a 1939 Ford LED light to use as the guts and it’s now really bright for a change! Seat is a reproduction Indian unit with 304 Stainless twisted and wrapped around the perimeter.  Springs are from a mountain bike.  Pipes are JD Harley with stock Guzzi head pipe.

But why in the world is there a Moto Guzzi drivetrain in there? Bryan Fuller could have used a Kiwi Indian or a Knucklehead engine (imagine the offense to the HD crowd..) But a 1969 Moto Guzzi Ambassador motor is cheap, good looking motor, visually weird enough to be a winner in such a custom project… As a matter of fact, and a lot of folks don’t know this , there is a precedent for a longitudinal V-Twin with Shaft Drive during this Indian period. There were 500 military versions of the Indian 841 produced in 1941. Did, at the time, Guzzi copy it? Possible. Anyway, Bryan picked up a low miles 750 cc donor for $3000.  It ran good, shifted well and only leaked a little… Engine, tranny, carbs, intakes, hand controls, foot controls, front and rear hubsgas caps were scavaged. All for only $3000!”Its crazy how good this stuff worked together!” told me Bryan.

But after 250 miles in Texas and 700 in Sturgis he realized how under powered his “Indian/Guzzi” was. So, returning from South Dakota, the motor was dropped at Jon Kaase’s shop to be bumped up to a 1000 cc’s. Because there is an 850 of the same model which has a different crank, one was sourced and it will get bored. Bryan will get back his creation just on time for this year’s SEMA show where the new engine will be debuted. Check it out if you go to Las Vegas.

Bryan Fuller opened his shop in downtown Atlanta, GA in 2005. Fuller Hot Rods has been featured on the “Biker Build-Off” which aired on TLC, as well as “Over-Haulin” on the Discovery Channel. Bryan is currently the co-host of “Two Guys Garage” on the Speed Channel. Bryan Fuller Hot Rods. (photography copyright Kevin Warren, Digital Press Images, courtesy to Cyril Huze)

. 1933 Indian Frame
• 1940-46 Indian Chief Sheetmetal
• 1969 Moto Guzzi Ambassador Drivetrain – Engine/Transmission/Shaft Drive
• Moto Guzzi Drum Brakes, Headlight, Gas Caps and Petcocks, Hand and Foot Controls
and Stash Box
• JD Harley-Davidson Muffl ers
• Finished bike completed over 800 trouble-free miles at Sturgis 2012
• Many thanks to Jon Kaase Racing for increasing horsepower output
• Welded primarily with a Lincoln Electric Precision TIG® 225

Zipper's

26 Responses to “The Chief Ambassador By Bryan Fuller. Old Fusion Style.”


  1. 1 Mazz Sep 24th, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Saw this very nice machine at the Atlantic Nationals Hot Rod Show this past July in Moncton, New Brunswick Canada, where Mr. Fuller was guest, this is a very cool build and he is a really cool guy. Nice to see you featuring this bike.

  2. 2 Oldude Sep 24th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Very nice piece of work and always have liked the Guzzi engine and the wedding with Indian frame and sheet metal is real genius. My congrats to this builder. Hope to see more of his work!

  3. 3 Shifter Sep 24th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    A very good one. Thanks Cyril.

  4. 4 Andy Sep 24th, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I always thought the origin of the Moto Guzzi v-twin motor was the 750cc powerplant from the company’s 3×3 mechanical mule from the late fifties / early sixties: one of favourite left-field vehicles of all time.

    http://en.valka.cz/viewtopic.php/t/112020

  5. 5 Dave Blevins Sep 24th, 2012 at 10:16 am

    That’s very neat, and I love it is actually being ridden. Really cool bike.

  6. 6 TheArtist Sep 24th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Totally cool.

  7. 7 Dennis Sep 24th, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Brian has a great eye for creating very pleasing looking bikes and cars. He and his shop are very talented craftsmen. He is one of the top custom shops in the country in book. I look forward to what else he builds in the future.

  8. 8 Woody Sep 24th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    That’s really nice. The more I look at it, the the more I appreciate how nice the tank and fenders are positioned and how well everything looks like it could be a “forgotten” old production bike where all parts were made for that bike. Nothing looks tacked on, except possible the exhaust and that isn’t objectionable-we all like to play with “aftermaket” pipes. Well done!

  9. 9 AFT Customs Sep 24th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Good job Bryan. Really like the metal work & the finish.

  10. 10 John E Adams Sep 24th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    This is fantastic Bryan, love every inch of it!

  11. 11 CafeSportyTC Sep 24th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    i love the fact that it looks like its an old pewter piece, really touches the bike off perfectly .. Thumbs up!

  12. 12 Harl Sep 24th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Neat but sac religious !

  13. 13 Troll Sep 24th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Looks like a, more or less, up to date version of an Indian 841 civilian model! Same credentials, transverse V-2, shaft drive….Beautiful rendition!

  14. 14 daniel sanchez Sep 24th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    met bryan fuller at autorama last year in houston ,he bought a set of wheels from me ,let me sit in his black impala , super cool cat builds some cool ass stuff this bike is super cool

  15. 15 Aloha-Terry Sep 24th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Loks great I saw the bike in Bryan’s shop this spring before it was done and he finished it up great!

  16. 16 Fritz Sep 24th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Very but very tasteful…. Wow!

  17. 17 Convict Motorcycles - Australia Sep 25th, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Well done Bryan, very well integrated. I’ll put a bet on this becoming regular calendar material. Strong & subtle shows thought and constraint. Tidy

  18. 18 Duckman Sep 25th, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Very cool and original, Bryan has a good eye for proportions!

  19. 19 izadore007 Sep 25th, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Looks like a Pendant for a Bracelet. that is a compliment. Anyone that Builds a Bike that looks like jewlry, is a true Master Builder. Maybe one day Cyril will feature on Master Builders. No, he won’t, cause He will piss off to many of his Friends.

  20. 20 Mike Tomas Kiwi Indian MC Co Sep 25th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Outstanding Bryan. I saw this parked in a dark alley in Sturgis late at night and was blown away. I should have known it was yours. Just plain outstabding in every single respect. Well done mate. E.Paul Dupont created the Indian 841 Indian for WWII which was very technically advanced for its day. You have taken it to a whole new level. Super NICE

  21. 21 Red Sep 25th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Another home run by Brian Fuller. Met him at Barbers a few years ago. Very nice guy and talented young builder.

  22. 22 TROPICAL WILLIE Sep 25th, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Now that is something way different very cool build …

  23. 23 Dar @ Darwin Motorcycles a.k.a. Brass Balls Cycles Sep 25th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Very Nice Bryan. Very nice.

  24. 24 Wikked Steel Sep 28th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Beautiful build, great finish and awesome design!

  25. 25 Motogeezer Oct 7th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Great job. Flawless scale and proportion. Unique choice of powertrain from a unique guy. Miss you on 2 Guys Garage!

  26. 26 Kim of Copenhagen Nov 14th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Very nice bike indeed, as everybody seems to point out. I also like the heresy involved, as purists will no doubt get all upset about the metric/SAE mix. Still it would look a lot better if the gaping holes above the gearbox and the driveshaft were covered. All that air in the middle might have worked on a fenderless bike, but obviously this one is anything but.

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