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]

Race Car Toys And Automobilia

Race Car Toys And Automobilia

Paul Chenard's impressive collection of vintage model race cars (mostly European) including Hotwheels, Dinky, Match… [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]

VW Toys and Models

VW Toys and Models

A comprehensive site completely dedicated to miniature Volkswagen vehicles. Browse hundreds of toys by country, man… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Mac 700 Arnold Motorcycle, Tin Toy, VintageJapan Battery Operated High Way Patrol Police Motorcycle Tin ToyLehmann New Century Motorcycle W/ Red & White Umbrella German Tin (dakotapaul)Vintage 1952-53 Bandai Mazda 3 Wheel Tin Toy Motorcycle Scooter Truck JapanArnold Tin Wind Up Motorcycle Acrobat ToyVintage Schuco Curvo 1000 Wind-up Motorcycle Toy W/ Key, Box, & DirectionsSchuco Curvo 1000 Motorcycle, Tin Toy, Vintage1960's Usagiya Japan-mars Motorcycle-large-11.5"-tin Litho-c-9+/10-ship World1978 Ideal Scare Cycles Boneshaker Grim Reaper Friction Motorcycle Toy Lg Champion Cast Iron Harley Davidson Policeman Motorcycle Toy 1930s1978 Ideal Scare Cycles Frankencycle Frankenstein Monster Motorcycle ToyVintage: Bmw R-75/5 Motorcycle By Heller In 1:8 Scale Vintage Wind-up Tin MotorcycleVintage Haji Tin Friction Police Cycle Motorcycle With Box Pd 27 2799 Japan1969 Revell 1/8 Scale Honda Scrambler Motorcycle Kit #h-1235Scalextric Hurricane Motorcycle Red With Box (might Be Repro..) New Nib Sealed 21st Century Ultimate Soldier Wwii German Motorcycle With Sidecar1978 Ideal Scare Cycles Dracucycle Dracula Friction Motorcycle Monster ToyVintage Hubley Cast Iron Motorcycle Toy Harley Davidson Antique 1943's 4.5"Antique Original Hubley Blue "cop" Cast Iron Motorcycle & Sidecar Nr!!! Indian?Franklin Mint 1/10 1976 Harley Davidson Die Cast Police Motorcycle B11wp66 Used Vintage Japanese Tin Toy Motorcycle Sidecar Gmen G-men Works! No Repop! HarleyVintage Kyosho MotorcycleMini Chopper Motorcycle1970 Kenner Ssp Bonneville Bike Mint In Box MotorcycleRare Hot Wheels 1970 Rrrumblers Rip Snorter Motorcycle Redline Original PackageScala Rider G4 Powerset Motorcycle Microphone Kits, 2 Full Sets, Great ConditionMatchbox Superfast No33c Honda 750 Motorcycle - Black/ Rare Red "4" Screen1970s Vintage Mattel Hot Wheels Rrrumblers High Tailer Motorcycle + Track GuideVintage Slot Car Aurora Motorcycle Lot 3 Highway Patrol Racer Harley Davidson Tekno No. 764 Toy Indian Motorcycle & Container Sidecar - Vintage 1950's Matchbox Lesney Harley Davidson Motorcycle & Sidecar 66 B1 Vnm & Crafted BoxHarley Davidson Panhead Engine Bobber Motorcycle Chopper Hot Rod Cycle Ama NhraCast Iron Toy Antique Motorcycle Red Police Fire Two Riders Double Hubley ? PdhTamiya Honda Cb1100r Unbuilt Model Motorcycle Bike Kit 1/6 From JapanSons Of Anarchy3 Pc Set Harley Davidson Motorcycle Series 2 1:18 Scale .01bid Early Barclay Cast Iron Motorcycle & CopEvel Knievel Stunt Set With 2 Crash Cars Motorcycle With Figure Ideal Toys Franklin Mint Precision 1/10 Harley-davidson Electra Glide 1200 Motorcycle Nr!Franklin Mint 1957 Harley Davidson Xl Sportster Model MotorcycleRare 3 Wheel Auburn Rubber Police Harley Davidson Motorcycle 1960'sVintage 12" Friction Motorcycle Policeman Colorful Old Tin Toy Police Dept JapanMpc 1/8 Model Kit Motorcycle Baja Buro 1000 Of Road Race Vintage Very RaaaaaaareLot Of 24 Indiana Jones Action Figures With 1 Motorcycle Marion Irina Sallah Aurora Model Motoring Tjet Thunderbike Parts Lot Ho Slot Car Motorcycle Free S&hGi Joe G.i. 1982 Lot Of Vehicles Flak Cannon Motorcycle Snowmobile MissileVintage Hot Wheels Rrrumblers Rumblers Rip Snorter 3-squealer Motorcycle ToysVintage Itc Bmw Racing Motorcycle R69 Ideal Toy Kit No. 3800-98 - Rare!!Revell 1/8 Model Kit Motorcycle Triumph Tiger 100 Vintage 0 Miles Very RaaaaaareCustom Lego Ghost Rider With Motorcycle Super Heroes Spider-man Batman AvengersGi Joe Sigma Six 6 Lot Storm Shadow Bike Motorcycle Snake Eyes Firefly LotJapanese Tinplate Clockwork Acrobatic Motorcycle - C.1940's Very Rare Toy VgFewture Logust With Quasimodo Rare Resin Model Kit Nirasawa Motorcycle InsectVintage Antique Arcade? Cast Iron Toy Motorcycle Neat LookingBritains? Army Motorcycle, And OfficerVintage Itc Harley Davidson Motorized Motorcycle Model Kit Vintage Ho Slot Tyco Motorcycle In Red W/blue & White RiderBattery Operated Dare Devil Motorcycle Looks Like Evel Knievel ToyVintage 1960's Tootsie Toy Motorcycle Racers W/trailer 2 Riders Original Paint Kendon Motorcycle Trailer 2 Bike Hauler