Antique and Vintage Toy Motorcycles

The earliest antique toy motorcycles sprang out of the same German tin toy factories making model cars in the early 1900s. Like their toy automobile counterparts, toy motorcycles made by companies such as Lehmann, Bing, and Günthermann were either push toys or wind-up clockwork pieces. Each company tended to offer at least two or three motorcycle options.

One of the first problems toy motorcycle manufacturers had to tackle, particularly when it came to wind-up toys, was how to keep the motorcycle from falling on its side. American manufacturer Louis Marx introduced its wind-up Motor Cycle Cop, in 1933, boasting its "entirely new and different motor action in a modern looking motorcycle!" The toy's large side key was designed so that the motorcycle would automatically right itself when it tipped in either direction.

Up until the late 1930s, Lehmann in Germany made a group of four tinplate wind-up motorcycles that maintained stability, using a gyroscopes hidden inside their casings. Companies such as Saalheimer & Strauss, Tippco, Arnold, and Mettoy also made early toy motorcycles.

When it came to making toy motorcycles in the post-Depression era, an American company named Hubley flourished. Known for its cars with working parts and doors that opened, Hubley's attention to detail won it the rights to produce miniature versions of Harley and Indian motorcycles. These were very accurate replicas of solo motorbikes with side cars or tricycle-style bikes, with the real-life logos on their gas tanks. They were all fitted with riders—some were detachable, others were built into the toy—depicting cops, postal workers, and civilians.

After the war, German wind-up toy manufacturers and other toy makers began to reintroduce their prewar toy motorbikes, but this time with additional features like telescopic forks. Tippco's updates included a motorcycle featuring a passenger who moved from side to side when the bike took a corner. Neidermier's best innovation was a rider that could do headstands on the handlebars. Schuco's Curvo 1000 featured multiple steering patterns—in the 1960s, it was updated with a modern helmet for the rider.

One of the most popular toy motorcycles of the 1950s was the Mac 700, which was Arnold's new spin on it's 8-inch flat-twin Zündapp. Following the war, Arnold was under American control, and their toys were stamped with "Made in US Zone Germany." The 1950s version of the motorbike featured a civilian rider, sans helmet, with an expression that suggests he's bracing himself against the wind. When the rider is dismounted, the bike stops, and when he is remounted, it starts.

Antique and vintage toy motorcycles are hard to come by and therefore constitute a more specialized field of collecting. To help date a toy, it's best if you familiarize yourself with the history of innovations in full-size motorcycle technology and style.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

DFW Elite Toy Museum

DFW Elite Toy Museum

Ron Sturgeon's excellent gallery of fancy model cars and other vehicles. Nice high resolution shots with classy mus… [read review or visit site]

Classic Motorcycle Archive

Classic Motorcycle Archive

This simple website contains photos and descriptions of over a thousand classic antique motorcycles and motorized b… [read review or visit site]

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]

The Show Room

The Show Room

This gallery at Dave's Show Rod Rally features model show rods from 1960 to 2001. Favorites include the 1958 Thunde… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Arnold 560 Tin Wind-up Vintage Motorcycle Litho Toy A560 ModelVintage Large Hubley Cast Iron Police MotorcycleNice Early Fischer Windup Motorcycle - Worldwide ShippingVintage Mettoy Tin Litho Motorcycle Windup Toy Police Patrol TippcoRare Vintage Kyosho Yamaha Yz250 1:4.5 Scale R/c Nitro Motorcycle Needs PartsLarge Condor Tin Friction Motorcycle By I.y Metal Toys.. Yonezawa? 12" ToyCko Kellerman Tin Motorcycle/box 1950's GermanyCko Tin Windup Motorcycle Kellerman Sidecar Litho Penny ToyRare Xonex 1/6 Scale 1917 Harley Davidson 3-speed V-twin Model F MotorcycleRevell Triumph Tiger 100 Motorcycle Model Kit H-1231 1/8 Scale VintageRare Xonex 1/6 Scale 1903-1904 Harley Davidson Serial Number One MotorcycleVintage 1974 Mego Batman Blue Batcycle & Baycopter Helicopter Motorcycle Lot Of Four Antique Cast Iron Toys, Motorcycle, Fire Truck, Bus And TractorAntique Vintage Hubley Champion Police Motorcycle Cast Iron ToyLot Of 30 Lego 30447 Captain America's Motorcycle Sealed Nib In Hand Full Case 1940s Early Vintage Cast Iron Motorcycle With Rider Hubley Arcade Police CycleVintage Lesney Matchbox # 66 Harley Davidson Motorcycle - Original BoxLot Of 13 Lego Captain America's Motorcycle 30447 - Minifigures - NewAmerican Flyer Vintage Lead S Gauge Toy Train Figures Police Motorcycle Cop SetGi Joe Rapid Fire Motorcycle Ram (1982) Sealed! New! Vintage HasbroVintage Tyco Motorcycle With Rider W/tyco Chassis Ho Slot CarHubley Cast Iron Motorcycle W/ Battery Powered Headlight Tyco Harley Slot Car Three Motorcycle SetVintage 1970 Kenner Ssp Racer Orange/blue Motorcycle W/driver World Ship Rare Vintage Parma Rare Rc Fiberglass Trans Am Toyota Motorcycle Etc Used PartsEvel Knievel-stunt Cycle Motorcycle Vintage 1970'sScarce Linemar Indian Motorcycle Police Pd-7 Clockwork Wind Up Toy Bike Cop!Motorcycle & Rider,lead Toy,supurb Condition,1910'sLot Of 13 Vintage Galoob Micro Machines City Original Run, Car, Boat, MotorcycleLego Technic Motorcycle (8051)Snap On Orange County Choppers Model Motorcycle Wth Mini Tool Box-nib Antique Vintage Barclay Slush Cast Lead Delivery Motorcycle W/ Sidecar & DriverVintage 70's Ideal Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle 1972 Motorcycle1/5 Scale 3 Motor Gyro / Turbo Kawasaki Ninja Rc Motorcycle RtrMpc Plastic Model Kit 827/12 1/8 1970's Honda 750 Four Motorcycle *new In Box*1/10 Scale Danbury Mint 1938 Indian Four Diecast Motorcycle Never DisplayedVintage Jml Tin Motorcycle Toy. Push Toy. Litho France Arnold Tippco JmlEvel Knievel-stunt Cycle Motorcycle Chopper Vintage 1970'sHubley Harley Davidson Motorcycle W/side Car Original And Vintage Cast IronDanbury Mint 1948 Indian Motorcycle Lot Of 4 Lego 30447 Captain America's Motorcycle Sealed Nib In Hand PolybagVintage Hubley Cast Iron Police Cop Motorcycle Toy Red Missing Sidecar 4"Vintage 1980's Imex #458 Harley Davidson Flh Sport Motorcycle Model 1:12 ScaleG-men Tin Motorcycle Japan 1950'sChopcycles Purple Riptile Motorcycle And Rider A Copy ReproHubley Cast Iron Motorcycle & Rider,1930'sVintage 70's Ideal Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle 1972 MotorcycleForces Of Valor 1:32 Scale German Zundapp Ks750 Motorcycle W/sidecar W/2 Figure Vintage Matchbox #66 Harely-davidson Motorcycle & Sidecar By Lesney EnglandTyco Aurora Ho Track Motorcycle Harley DavidsonVintage 1960s Large Japanese Made Tin Battery Operated Honda Police MotorcycleTomica No. 42 Honda Cb 750f MotorcycleToy Zone Motorcycle Big 15" 1/6 Scale Diecast & Plastic Rc Crawler Accessory1/6 Decal Sheet For Did Or Dragon German Motorcycle/motorbike For CustomSpec Cast Ford Aeromax Tractor Trailer Indian Motorcycle Truck 1:64 Scale BoxedChinese Alloy Handmade Carving Motorcycle Collect Statue Toy GiftVintage '72 Fisher-price Little People Family Camper Play #994 Truck Motorcycle Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Action Figure,weapons Motorcycle LotNib Diecast 1:18 Redskins Nfl 2006 Ertl Motorcycle Occ Chopper Custom #2 Playskool Marvel Super Hero Adventures Venom & Motorcycle Racer