1956 1990 Tonka Bond Bread Private Label Metro Van
This Bond Bread metro van was put up for bid on eBay. The truck is not featured in the DeSalle or McElwee Tonka references. Is this an up until now, unknown Tonka manufactured, private label truck or was it "custom" made, after the fact? "Custom" Tonka trucks are all the rage on Ebay right now. And they have been for a number of years. I've contributed a few of my creations to the "custom" mix. Is the Bond Bread truck the result of someone's creative imagination? The truck has the feel, the patina of an aged specimen so if it is a "custom", it was created years ago.
In January 2008, Richard Gresh spoke with the individual who owned Metro #1 before it was sold on ebay. The previous owner stated "Metro #1 was made up by an outside firm (not by Tonka) in 1956 for some employees of Bond Bread using Carnation metro vans from that period. His father had worked for Bond Bread, thus when this particular truck became available, he bought it and did further research." Additionally, Richard was informed "that Metro #2 was a later version done c.1990. The 1956 version (Metro #1) has painted graphics and lettering, whereas Metro #2 has decals for graphics/lettering. The 1956 version is a different color as well. The 1990 version is a darker blue/green."
Value: A 1956 Bond metro, good condition, missing 1 wheel cover and all door handles, very used, sold on eBay for $611 USD in mid August 2007
1956 Bond Bread Metro #1. Sold on eBay for $3495 USD in April 2007
The photo above shows a non-typical Tonka manufacturing process. Notice the green topcoat has covered the bottom of the aluminum steps. The van was painted green after the steps were riveted in place. The typical process was to rivet the steps in place after the entire unit was painted. Looking closely too, one can see green paint over the rivet roll holding the rear bumper in place. And there appears to be green over-spray on the bottom edge of the rear bumper. Bumpers, front and rear, were typically attached after the unit was painted.
Metro #2 featured below, appears to be in excellent to near mint condition. The photo helps clear any questions as to the graphics on the front of the van. This van also shows similar deviations from the Tonka manufacturing process as noted on Bond Bread Metro #1. The handles on the sliding side door and the rear doors are painted green and would tend to indicate the handles were painted after being attached. Also note the steps, as seen from the bottom, are also painted green.
Concerns about the authenticity of Metro #2 began to surface in January 2008. New information suggests that another production run, quantity unknown, was done in the early 1990's. The previous owner of Metro #1 above says: "The reproductions from the 1990's are new shells that were made by whoever came out with the reproductions. They must have copied the shell from the other original Tonka Metro Vans. The other difference is that on the reproductions, the names/logos were decals that were put on the trucks. The original Metro Vans from the 1950's, the names/logos were painted right onto the truck. On the Bond Bread truck the difference in the original and the reproduction ones is in the paint. The reproduction ones are a totally different color."