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    

Old Hot Wheels Redline Chopcycles Ghost Rider Sizzlers Rrrumblers Motorcycle Nuova Faor Sf 501 Nitro Rc Motorcycle Bike 1/5 Scale Nitro Tippco Motorcycle Tin Wind Up Toy German Made 1950s Small VersionWyandotte Acrobatic Monkey Motorcycle Tin Toy Works Vintage 1930s 40sThunder Tiger Ducati Series Rc Nitro Motorcycle 1:5 ScaleEuc Franklin Mint Harley Davidson Ultimate Chopper Motorcycle Easy Rider 1:10 Vintage Messenger From Space Plastic Spaceman On Motorcycle Made By IdealTonka Indian Motorcycle Semi Rare-vintage Motorcycle Cop & Car Chase Toy Friction Play Set- Box-12"-tickets C1950-60s Lmz(leningrad Metal Works/russia) Tin Plate C/w Motorcycle & Rider Vgc21st Century Toys 1/6 Scale Wwii German Motorcycle And Sidecar With 2 FiguresDanbury Mint 1938 Indian Four Motorcycle 1:10 Diecast In BoxHot Wheels Rumblers Motorcycle Rip Code 6675 Vintage18 Vintage 1980's Gi Joe Vehicles Cobra Motorcycle Accessories Vehicles Lot #3Large Vintage Cast Iron Motorcycle PolicemanHot Wheels Red Line Rrrumbler Rip Code Motorcycle ! Hard To Find **Vintage Graupner Kyosho 1/4.5 Yamaha Yz250 Rc MotorcycleHuge Lot Of Vintage Gi Joe Action Figures Guns Motorcycle, Pieces Parts Look!!Franklin Mint Harley Davidson 1936 El Knucklehead 1:10 Scale Diecast MotorcycleVenom Gpv-1 1/8 Rc Motorcycle Euc Franklin Mint Harley Davidson Billy Bike Motorcycle From Easy Rider 1:10Kenner Mask Condor Motorcycle Vintage M.a.s.kOld Antique Cast Iron Hubley Kilgore Harley Motorcycle & Side Car Toy Police ManVintage 1930's Hubley Cast Iron Harley Davidson Motorcycle Swivel Head Police1950's German Tin Wind Up MotorcycleVtg 30s Marx Tin Windup Speedy Delivery Motorcycle Toy Original Speed BoyArrow Diggle Motorcycle Heroclix Origins Wizkids Wko Convention ExclusiveUsed Venom Gpv-1 1/8 Scale R/c Motorcycle (very Hard To Find)Kraft Kyosho Eleck Rider Vintage Rc Motorcycle Hang On1:6 Scale Dam Toys Gk010 Milevsky - Motorcycle ProtectiveFranklin Mint Harley Davidson Road King Road Rally Editio Motorcycle 1:10 W/caseHubley Cast Iron Police Motorcycle Harley Indian All Original 1930Matchbox Lesney Harley Davidson Motorcycle & Sidecar 66 B1 Sc1 Nm+ & Crafted BoxHubley A.c. Williams Arcade Cast Iron Motorcycle "cop" With Side Car 4"Gi Joe 12" Us Army Courier Figure & Wla 45 Harley Davidson 1998 Motorcycle 1:6 Franklin Mint Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail Classic Motorcycle 1:10 W/caseVintage Tin Friction Highway Police Pd Motorcycle In Box Made In JapanFranklin Mint Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide Motorcycle 1:10 W/case1985 M.a.s.k. Condor Motorcycle/helicopter Complete (short Mask)Meng Model 1/35 French Ft-17 Tank Crew & Orderly W/motorcycle #hs005Matchbox By Lesney Models Of Yesteryear #y8-2 Sunbeam 1914 Motorcycle & Sidecar.Vintage Cast Iron Motorcycle Cop Police Officer,filling Station,& TrailersImaginext Joker House Van Motorcycle Lot Batman Fonzie Motorcycle With Twist Out Action- Vintage 1976Matchbox Lesney Lambretta Tv 175 Motorcycle Scooter N 36Franklin Mint Harley Davidson Heritage Springer Motorcycle 1:10 W/caseLot Of Evel Knievel Playset And Motorcycle Pieces For 60's21st Century 12 Inch Swat Figure With Cool Motorcycle. Like Gi JoeVintage Lesney Matchbox #4 Triumph T110 Motorcycle & Sidecar Xlnt 1960Lot Of 5 The Walking Dead Action Figures + Darryl's Motorcycle & CrossbowBlade Motorcycle 4 6" Inch Figure Marvel Legends Toybiz Toy Biz Movie Comic Hausser Elastolin Motorcycle Drivers Marching Lineol Tippco 21st Century Toys 1/6 Scale Wwii German Motorcycle And Sidecar With 1 Figure AndMth Harley Davidson Motorcycle 4 Pack Set 1:48 Scale 30-11077 NewMorestone Lead Rac Patrolman On Motorcycle And Sidecar - Lot 116pcs/set-minifigures-motorcycle-super-heroes-avengers-superman-building-toyLego Indiana Jones Motorcycle Chase (7620)Decool 7115 Super Hero Batman Motorcycle Building Toy Bat-pod No BoxMatchbox Lesney Triumph T110 Motorcycle Sidecar N 41:6 Scale Dam Toys Gk010 Milevsky - Black Motorcycle Boots