A cool and bright Delhi morning. Less than usual traffic. An MG YT 1949 Tourer, a vintage car from the eras left behind on the highway of time, the beauty of which has only enhanced with age. An Indian Chief Vintage. A holy reincarnation of the Indian Chief that ruled the roads from 1922 to 1953, still draped in its uniform from the olden days. Such different personalities, such contrasting beauties, standing side by side, attached to each other with nothing but their enigmatic and timeless presence. A perfect setting for another edition of xBhp’s Driver vs. Rider.
Morris Garages or MG is an automotive company that originated in the UK. The British car manufacturer was founded in the 1920s. MG was predominantly known for its two-seater sports cars but they did produce a few saloons and coupés and the MG Y-Type is one of the examples. It had a production run of almost 7 years which started in 1947. The MG YT was an open top tourer which was launched in 1948. Only 877 of these cars were ever built until the production ceased in 1950.
The MG YT Tourer featured a 1250cc engine which had twin carburetors (other MG Y-Type cars used the same engine with a single carburetor) which developed 54 bhp. The car could attain a top speed of around 110 kmph and did the 0-60 mph (0-97 kmph) run in 29.9 seconds. The interiors of the MG YT were meant to meet very high standards of furnishing and finish which was kind of the British norm those days. With seats made of leather, door panels made of Rexine (a form of leather cloth) and considerable use of wood in the interior trim made the MG YT live up to those standards.
Mr. Atul Anand, the owner of this particular specimen of the MG YT Tourer also had some interesting bits to share. He told us that the date of manufacture of the car is 8th of August, 1949. He also had with him the actual factory logs. Mr. Anand has steadily renovated his MG after the purchase. The interiors, exteriors, engine, drivetrain etc have all been renovated. He could trust no one but the most experienced mechanic in order to work on his vintage car, Bahadur Singh, who he found in Chattarpur.
Mr. Anand states that he drives his MG every Sunday for at least 70 kms. He drives to a café on the Gurgaon – Faridabad Expressway with a group called Heritage Motorclub of India. He says that owning such an old car comes with its own fair share of problems, none of which are prominent enough to overshadow the sheer charisma of the MG YT 1949 Tourer of course.
The Indian Chief Vintage isn’t exactly a new kid on the block either. It is one of the most popular motorcycles manufactured by Indian. When it was introduced in 1922, the Indian Chief had a 1,000 cc engine. This engine was based on the unit that Indian used in the Powerplus. In 1922, they increased the size of the engine to 1200cc. After that as well, the Chief went through a lot of changes and upgrades.
Come 1940, all the models manufactured by Indian were fitted with the trademark skirted fenders. The Chief became synonymous with comfort and yet, it was a machine capable of hitting speeds up to 140 kmph. The last update came in 1950 when the V-twin engine was enlarged again, this time to 1300cc. But like all good things must come to an end, the production of the Chief ended in 1953.
In 2011, Polaris Industries purchased Indian Motorcycles. The chief was revived in 2014 with an all new 1811cc V-Twin engine. The Chief Vintage that we rode features a fuel-injected, 1811cc, trademark ‘Thunder Stroke 111’ engine which produces a torque of 138.90 Nm @ 2,600 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission. The braking duties are handled by 300mm dual-disc brakes at the front and 300mm single disk brake at the rear.
The Indian Chief Vintage is fondly called The Big Twin. And let us tell you that The Big Twin is a special motorcycle. The Indian Chief makes one realize that this is the design that defines the look of a typical cruiser. Wide-swept single-piece handlebar, a basic round headlamp, a seamlessly styled fuel tank which is wide at the front and narrow at the opposite end. And yeah, spoke wheels.
Motorcycles produced by Indian have always had a unique style statement. The valanced fenders and even the Indian mascot on the front fender (which also functions as a parking light) are a part of that statement. The Chief has seen a lot of changes and the new one is shod with a host of modern amenities. But what has remained unchanged, is the vintage styling of the iconic Chief Vintage. The rider perched on a Chief Vintage lives in a world of comfort and one sweeping look at the motorcycle is enough for one to testify that.
It is beyond a shred of doubt that both of these vehicles have stood the test of time and prevailed. And if it ever comes down to a choice between the two, it’d be simply narrowed down to one’s preference. And preference too, of either two wheels or four.
We had done a similar feature some time ago, riding our trusted Indian Chief Vintage alongside a 1967 Mercedes-Benz W230 . Do have a look