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]

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]

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]

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    

Arnold Mac 700 Motorcycle With Original BoxVintage Japan Battery Operated Atom Motocross Motorcycle Tin Toy Masudaya Vintage Technofix Tin Toy Motorcycle Made In Us Zone Germany Wind UpAntique Tin Windup Toy Man On Motorcycle 1910 Fischer Or Gunthermann GermanyTin Motorcycle Toy. Made By Arnold. Military Motorcycle In 1939.germanyMcfarlane The Walking Dead Deluxe Daryl Dixon Figure& Chopper Motorcycle Box SetUnusual Western Germany Clown Riding Motorcycle Hkn Tin Windup WorksVtg Japanese Tin T.n. Nomura 1960 Venus Friction MotorcycleThe Walking Dead Series 5 (1)daryl Dixon Motorcycle Box Set Action FigureBritains Ltd €Hot Wheels 70's Redline Era Rrrumblers Motorcycle 3 Squealer Green/orange BarsVintage Painted Cast Iron Policeman On Motorcycle Toy W/ Rubber Tires/gold TrimLesney Matchbox No 38c Honda Motorcycle & Trailer NmibSteve Mcqueen Action Figure 1:6 12" Wwii Triumph Motorcycle Great Escape,bullitt1/6 Th. 21st Century German MotorcycleVintage 1930s Wyandotte Toy Motorcycle & Tricycle Streamline Deco Pressed SteelHubley Green Motorcycle With Blue Rider, Nickel Wheels Rubber Tires Vintage Technofix Us Zone Germany Tin Wind Up Racing Motorcycle Mid 40s-50sLesney Matchbox Superfast Boxed 38 Honda Motorcycle With TrailerRare, Vintage Cast Iron Hubley Police Motorcycle -- No Reserve & Free ShippingWalking Dead Daryl Dixon W/motorcycle New .01 Cent Starting Bid Free Shipping Antique Hubley Cast Iron Toy Motorcycle No Reserve Must See!!Vintage Tin Wind Up Motorcycle Racer -- JapanVintage Marx No.3 Police Motorcycle Wind-up Toy, 1930’s2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair Battle Shell Motorcycle Set Lot Vintage Fisher Price Little People 1979 Pop Up Camper Jeep Truck MotorcycleNear Mint 1950’s Tippco Motorcycle T 586 Us-zone Germany Clockwork! Marx Sparkinng Police Squad Wind-up Motorcycle With Original BoxFranklin Mint Harley-davidson Easy Rider Billy Bike Panhead Motorcycle Scale1:10Franklin Mint Harley Davidson Motorcycle Police Bike Edition 1:10 ScaleVintage 1970's Evil Knievel W/ White Suit, Helmet Motorcycle & Launcher IdealHubley Motorcycle Toy Patrol Police Iron Harley Rare Vintage Marx Tin Litho Police-man 3 On Motorcycle All Yellow Wind-up ToyKyosho Electric Powered R/c Motorcycle Honda Nsr500 Nib With ElectronicsFranklin Mint Easy Rider Captain America Harley Motorcycle Ultimate ChopperFranklin Mint The 1942 Indian Motorcycle 442 1:10 Scale Diecast ModelMatco Tools Limited Edition Angelle Sampey Nhra Die-cast Prostock MotorcycleMcfarlane The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon + Motorcycle Chopper Action Figure SetFranklin Mint Harley Davidson 1936 El Knucklehead Motorcycle &sportster 1/10Antique Cast Iron Red Police Motorcycle RiderVintage Hot Wheels Hot Shots Rrrumblers Masked Bandit Motorcycle ..1972 MexicoKing & Country - Ww2 German Evac MotorcycleRare King & Country Ws81 Kettenrad (motorcycle) - Works W/ Thomas Gunn1992 Tyco Harley Davidson Motorcycle Electric Racing Cycles & Race TrackVintage Kyosho Honda Nsr500 Motorcycle Rc Electric Parts RepairSato Tin Friction Military Police Motorcycle W/gun 5.5" Excellent ConditionFranklin Mint Harley-davidson Easy Rider Captain America Chopper Motorcycle 1:10Vintage Cast Iron Champion Motorcycle Cop Police Policemantoy 2 Cyl Rubber WheelFranklin Mint 1942 Indian Model 442 Motorcycle Scale 1:10 W/tag1:25th Mpc Chevy Stepside Pickup Truck W/motorcycle #1-0411 (as Is)1/144 Wwii German Sd.kfz.2+ Bmw R-75 Motorcycle+bicycleMarx Sparkling Police Squad Wind-up Motorcycle With Original BoxHarley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Die Cast Kit Franklin Mint MotorcycleRevell 1976 1/12 Suzuki Tm-400 Model Motorcycle Bike KitBarclay/manoil Army Motorcycle With Sidecar2004 Franklin Mint Harley Davidson 1:10 18 And Up Adults Diecast Motorcycle VrodAuburn Rubber Co.motorcycle PolicemanLego Batman Nightwing W/batons & Motorcycle Minifig From 7785 Arkham Asylum Set Franklin Mint Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Motorcycle 1:10 Ideal 1972 Evel Knievel & Stunt Motorcycle (action Figure)