Watch A 1960s Tonka Truck Restoration

Aug 22, 2019 2 min read
Watch A 1960s Tonka Truck Restoration

This whole process is very rewarding.

Restoring a car provides you with a tremendous sense of achievement. There’s really nothing quite like taking a vehicle others have given up on and bringing it back to its original glory. While you might not think about it at first, there’s a similar sense of satisfaction which comes from restoring an old Tonka tow truck, as the video below clearly illustrates.


Strangely soothing, you get to watch as the relatively silent process of taking apart a 1960s Tonka Tow Truck is performed with deft expertise. All you see of the restorer is his hands clad in black nitrile gloves, but it’s obvious he has considerable experience in bringing the toys back to life.

As the little toy tow truck is disassembled, a considerable amount of rust and grime falls all over the black surface below. It’s messy work, but considering the rusty patina on the white truck, nobody should be surprised. What is amazing is the fact the toy has been built using body-on-frame construction, similar to a real truck.

From there the restoration expert employs a whole range of tools to get this Tonka looking amazing. Sandblasting removes the paint and rust buildup, leaving clean, bare metal. The plastic parts get a nice warm bath in Simple Green. From there it’s a powder coat for the different body pieces, white paint applied to the body panels, silver paint applied to the trim pieces like the grille, black paint applied to the boom assembly, then reassembly of the parts, which is the simple matter of reversing the disassembly process.

To see a toy that had been loved and played with for years brought back to life is inspiring. It also proves that even the toys from back in the day were built to last. Many of the playthings from today break easily and are destined for the recycling bin in not too long. But this metal Tonka truck is tough as nails.

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