Tonka Toys Trucks Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Page 4

Question: I have an old Tonka that has managed to pick up a dent or two. (I think GI Joe may have tried to park his Humvee a little to close, not sure.) Anyway, can I use "bondo" to fill in the dents?

Answer: Since your Tonka is just a scaled down version of a "full sized" model, similar repair techniques can be followed. I have used "plastic" to repair dents as part of the restoration process. The stuff works as advertised. I have also used a hammer and dolly, much the same as a body shop works out dents. Instead of using a typical dolly however, I used small pieces of steel stock to hammer against. Note: Using the hammer and dolly technique takes a bit of practice. Unfortunately, I've sent a few parts to the recycler because I was a tad over zealous with the hammer. And that can be a real bummer if your part is unique and not easily replaceable. My all time hero cop, Dirty Harry, could not have said it better. "A man's got to know his limitations". Don't practice either of these techniques on your one of a kind part. Good luck!

Question: I have a Tonka truck that has Canadian labels. Where was it really made?

Answer: Tonka trucks were assembled in Toronto Canada beginning in 1964. In the very beginning, "kits" of parts would be sent to Toronto from Mound for assembly. In the next phase, Canada manufactured their own injection molded and blow molded components. They also added 2 huge steel stamping presses that handled the pressed steel parts. In the case of tooling, Canada had duplicate molds for both injection and blow molded parts. However, steel stamping dies were far more complex, and that translated into to expensive to duplicate.

Tonka would ship the required steel stamping dies via truck from the Mound facility or in later years, the El Paso facility, to Canada. After sufficient quantities of the pressed steel part were made, the die would be shipped back to the states. There were a few exceptions, however. Smaller steel parts would be run in the states and shipped to Canada for final processing (painting and assembly). An example might be tailgates or the clam used on the crane.
NOTE: The Canadian manufacturing operation was shut down in the mid 1980's, Tonka trucks required for the Canadian market that were still being made in the states, were fully assembled, packaged in bilingual cartons (French and English), and shipped to Canada for distribution.

Question: What scale are the "early Tonka" pickup trucks?

Answer: First of all, let's establish "early Tonka" as the pickups being in the original Regular series, not the Mighty, not the Mini and not the Tiny. Instead of trying to find the specifications on a full sized Ford F series pickup built in the mid 1950's and doing the math, I sort of cheated on this one to get the answer. I pulled out my 1997 Commemorative issue of the Tonka, 1956 pickup. The graphics on the carton clearly indicate 1:18 scale. When I placed the Commemorative issue next to a 1957 Model #02 pickup and a 1959 Model #05 Sportsman, there appears to be no size variation. Therefore, if the published scale on the Commemorative issue is as advertised, the scale on the original Regular series Tonka pickups is also 1:18.

Question: When did Tonka stop using white sidewall tires on their pickup trucks?

Answer: As cool as white sidewall tires were, Tonka recognized that wide whites had become dated. Tonka rolled their last pickup truck, and all other trucks that had been manufactured with white sidewalls, off the production line in 1971. In 1972, Tonka introduced the raised white letter tire to replace the white sidewalls. The white sidewall was a separate molded part and pressed into the tire. A new sidewall was designed that when pressed into the tire and roll coated with a white ink, would appear as raised white letters.

Question: I found the following code on a Tonka truck? What does 281AE2 stand for?

Answer: The code reflects the date the truck rolled off the Tonka assembly line. Data that establishes when Tonka began date coding is not known. However, it is believed to have been started after Hasbro bought Tonka in 1991. On Mighty Tonkas, the code is located in the center underside of the grille. On smaller trucks, the code can be seen on the rear cab "glass". To decipher 281AE2...the first 3 digits represent the day of the year. The next letter represents the first 2 digits of the year. The next letter represents the last 2 digits of the year. The last digit represents the shift that manufactured the truck. All that said, 281AE2 decodes to day 281. 'A' decodes to 19xx. 'E' decodes to xx94. '2' decodes to 2nd shift. In other words, day 281 of the year 1994, 2nd shift. In another example 095AF3 decodes to day 95 of the year 1995, 3rd shift.

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