The building of a vintage Indian Chief motorcycle is more than the restoration of a bike—it’s the resurrection of a dream. Rebuilding the Indian chronicles one man’s journey through the fearful expanse of midlife in a quest for peace, parts, and a happy second fatherhood. Fred Haefele was a writer who couldn’t get his book published, an arborist whose precarious livelihood might just kill him, and an expectant father for the first time in over twenty years. He was in a rut, until he purchased a box of parts not so euphemistically referred to as a “basket case” and tackled the restoration of an Indian Chief motorcycle. With limited mechanical skills, one foot in the money pit, and a colorful cast of local experts, Haefele takes us down the rocky road of restoration to the headlong, heart-thrilling rush of open highway on his gleaming midnight-blue Millennium Flyer.
About the Author
Fred Haefele has taught creative writing at Stanford University and the University of Montana. He currently works as an arborist in Montana, where he lives with his wife and two children.
"You don't have to love motorcycles, midlife crisis stories, or even redemption to love the good writing by Missoula's favorite arborist in this gently humorous memoir reissued, like an orchid, after its first flower in 1998."—Montana Magazine
“Haefele was a writer who couldn’t get his book published, an arborist whose livelihood just might kill him, and an expectant father for the first time in 20 years when he tackled the restoration of a 1947 Indian Chief motorcycle. The book chronicles the restoration of the bike—and the resurrection of a dream.”—Missoulian
“Haefele describes how his search for vintage parts eventually involved an entire community of fanatical mechanics, impoverished motorcycle collectors, and renegade bikers—a collaboration, he realizes, that gave him skills as much social and spiritual as practical."—New Yorker
“This remembrance of turning a box of junk into a gleaming Indian Chief has a universal roar. Just the right mix of gearhead details and personal reflections.”—USA Today
"What Haefele writes about wonderfully, in his mellow, understated way, is how the Indian project became a test of his love and resolve."—Esquire