Tonka Toys Trucks Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Page 2

Question: I'm restoring a big old yellow Mighty Dump. Is there a paint I can buy over the counter that matches Tonka's construction yellow?

Answer: I've had very good success with Plasti-Kote #376 Brite Yellow and Rust-oleum #7747 Sunburst Yellow. I've recommended both to other Tonka restorers and they have had nothing but positive accolades regarding the color match.

Question: You mention that white sidewall tires made their debut on Tonka pickup trucks in 1959. Were pickup models still produced with blackwall tires from '59 into the mid 1960's?

Answer: Two particular models comes to mind. The first was referred to as a private label model with Gambles store labels on the doors and tailgate. The second was the orange Hi-Way pickup. I guess these models were considered real everyday WORK trucks and white sidewalls were too dressy. Also of note, when the blackwall tire was used, a five hole (round or triangular, depending on year) wheel cover, was also used, not the solid wheel cover that also made its initial appearance on the pickups in 1959.

Question: From time to time, I see or hear someone refer to Tonka trucks as made of tin. Is that correct?

Answer: Most definitely not made of tin and certainly not die cast. All Tonka pickups made in the United States by Tonka Toys, from 1955 to the mid nineties, were made from cold roll steel, the same steel used to manufacture full size cars and trucks.

Question: I see the term pressed steel. What exactly does that mean?

Answer: You have probably noticed that the Tonka pickup is made up of several smaller steel components that have had tabs put into slots or have been riveted together. Each of the individual steel components was pressed or stamped from a piece of steel in a huge press. The component was formed in a die that was secured in the press. On each up and down stroke, or cycle, of the press, a part was pressed or stamped out of the steel. If the part needed additional forming, the pickup bed for instance, the part would be sent to another press, with a different shaping die, for final forming.

Question: I've noticed that there are two different styles of the smaller headlights as used on the '58 through '64 model years. Was there some sort of manufacturing error?

Answer: No... The 1958 through 1962 headlight buttons used on Tonka trucks were made of clear plastic and had a smooth surface finish. They were much the same as the headlight buttons used on the '56-'57 models except much smaller. In 1963, the headlight button was redesigned with the smooth appearance replaced with a crosshatch design. This headlight button was also used on the new in 1963 Mini-Tonka series trucks.


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