Get a load of these fun vintage Tonka trucks & other old Tonka toys from the 1950s-80s

Vintage Tonka trucks and toys

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


Vintage Tonka trucks: Fascinating generations of kids

Over the years, millions of pounds of dirt, sand and small toys have been moved from one place to another by Tonka trucks. Those fun mini-machines were fueled by apples, chocolate milk, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches… or whatever else was for the lucky owner’s lunch that day. 

Classic Tonka toy trucks and construction vehicles — including bulldozers, diggers, dump trucks, trenchers and shovels — have been produced by the Minnesota-based Tonka corporation since 1947.

The company’s first toy truck, the “Mighty Dump,” was a simple, sturdy steel toy that could withstand rough play. It was a success, so over the years, Tonka’s product line expanded to include a wide variety of metal vehicles and construction equipment.

They also created simpler plastic trucks for younger kids, and even a line of preschool toys that had nothing to do with trucks. (You can see some of those below.)

The name “Tonka” — which has almost become synonymous with a heavy-duty toy truck — originally came from the Dakota Sioux word “Tanka,” meaning “great” or “big.”

Popular to this day with kids and collectors, the company continues to produce a wide variety of toy trucks and construction vehicles, which you can see here!

Vintage Tonka trucks from the 1950s

Tonka Toys by Mound Metalcraft, Inc. Mound, Minnesota

Aerial sand loaders set, Carnation Milk truck, Green Giant trailer truck, lumber truck, pickup truck, road builder set, and builder’s supply fleet set

Vintage 50s Tonka Truck toys

1960s vintage Tonka trucks (1966)

Dig, load, haul, dump or level with the Mighty Tonka Trencher

A real action toy with 5 separate operations. Lever raises front bucket. Load dumps by tripping release lever. Handle operates back hoe, which swings to either side for unloading. Heavy-gauge steel unit moves on durable deep groove treads. 18-1/2 inches long.

Mighty Tonka Dump Truck — big enough for a child to ride!

This all-steel giant rolls smoothly on Celcon wheel bearings. Back section raises for dumping. Enclosed cab with detailed interior. Heavy-duty bumper fitted with shock-absorbing pads. Long-wearing oversize tires grooved for traction, won’t mar floors. Baked-on enamel finish. 18-1/2″ long.

For big construction jobs, you need giants like these: Hydraulic dumper, power digger, bulldozer — Turnpike dump truck, Giant Michigan shovel

Vintage Tonka trucks (1966)

Vintage Tonka truck toys: Mighty earthmovers and carriers (1967)

Load up, haul away… models are of heavy steel construction: Car carrier, 4-piece highway builder set, Mighty Scraper, Mighty Loader, Mighty Dump Truck, Nylint Michigan Shovel

Vintage Tonka truck toys from 1967 (1)

3-piece construction set for small boys with big plans (1967)


Construction Set: Authentically detailed models of heavy construction equipment. Heavy-gauge steel with baked enamel finish. Windows, rugged whitewall tires. Loader scoop., loads, hauls and dumps. Front bucket operated by lever. Realistic engine, rugged deep-grooved tracks. 12 in. long.

Dump Truck has smooth lever controlled dumping action. Ball-type trailer hitch in back. Dual rear tires. Tough truck paint 13-1/4 in. long.

Mighty Cement Mixer fills through hopper on top. Mixer drum rotates as truck moves. Handle tilts drum to pour “cement” down adjustable chute in back. Cab has seats, simulated steering wheel. Tandem dual tires for heavy loads. 14 in. long.

Vintage Tonka truck toys from 1967 (2)

Vintage Tonka trucks: Exciting construction machines

HYDRAULIC DUMP: Detailed with amazing accuracy to look like the real thing. Perfect for the young construction worker A touch on the release lever automatically raises box. 2-position tailgate for dumping or spreading. Steel body, baked enamel finish, enclosed cob, whitewall tires, dual rear wheels. 13-1/4 in. long.

SHOVEL: Efficient bucket has hand grip for easy loading. Flip lever releases load. Cab rotates full 360 degrees like a real shovel. Automobile-gouge-steel construction, deep-groove tractor treads add to realism. 20 in. long.

ROAD GRADER: Scraper blade rotates to 5 positions, raises and lowers. Front wheels lever-operated. Has “floating tandem” rear wheels, driver’s seat, and motor. All-steel body and extra-large tires. 171/2 in. long.

BOTTOM DUMP: High-capacity truck with 5-position dumping doors at bottom of trailer. Lever-operated. Full-view enclosed cab with seats, dashboard, “steering” wheel. Tandem dual whitewall tires, steel construction; with real truck paint. 25 in. long.

BULLDOZER: 3-position lever, adjustable blade. Deep-groove treads move this rugged bulldozer backward and forward. steel construction, Simulated diesel engine. 8 inches long.

TRENCHER: Authentically detailed to thrill young construction bugs. Realistic action toy digs, loads, hauls, clamps, and levels. Lever raises front bucket, trip lever dumps load Handle operates rotating back hoe. Sturdy steel construction, durable deep-groove treads. 18-1/2 in. long.

ALSO SEE: Lionel Trains: See dozens of vintage toy locomotives from the 50s, plus the entire 1958 Lionel catalog!

Stokely — a canned food company — together with Tonka Toddler Toys, introduced this line of fruit and veggie-themed preschool toys in the early seventies.

Plump tomato pumper vintage Tonka toy

Driver is Perry Pear. Removable ladders, storage.

Vintage Tonka Toddler toys - Plump Tomato Pumper (1972)

Scamper Pumpkin Camper & Merry Melon Dumper

Fuzzy peach driving. Removable top, storage inside; Adam Apple is up front. Melon tilts and dumps.

Vintage Tonka Toddler toys - Scamper Pumpkin Camper and Merry Melon Dumper (1972)

ALSO SEE: Vintage 1970s Playskool toys, dolls, ride-ons & other fun for kids

Perky Pear Mixer

Peerless Plum at the controls. Pear mixer spins manually.

Vintage Tonka Toddler toys - Perky Pear Mixer (1972)

Tonka Tote-a-Phone and Stackable Shapes preschool toys (1980)

Tonka Puts a Plus in New Preschool Toys: They’re everything that basic preschool toys should be. And then some!

In each one, Tonka adds a little something extra to keep a child happy and busy for hours. Bright and fascinating, they combine learning with fun. And all Tonka tough, too!

Tonka Tote-a-Phone and Stackable Shapes preschool toys (1980)

Tonka Scrub Tug and Rainbow Top preschool toys (1980)

Tonka Scrub Tug and Rainbow Top preschool toys (1980)

Tonka Builder Playsets & toys (1979)

Bigger Pieces, Bigger Fun For Little Kids

From 3 to 6 years old. a kid’s got enough problems. Like buttons and zippers. Tonka thinks that a building set ought to be something that he or she can build things with. And have fun with.

So meet the new Tonka Deluxe Builder Play Set. With big, easy-to-assemble pieces. And double-fun: fun to build, fun to play with. Variety, too. With the deluxe set you can make any of 3 different buildings. You can take the garage and ramp apart and build a gas station. Or a car wash.

For extra play value, there are 2 nifty Tonka Scramblers’ trucks that add to the fun. Tonka builds ’em to last, too. They’re not just tough, they’re Tonka-tough!

Down with frustrations …up with fun! Treat your child to one of the new Tonka Builder Play Sets. There are 3 individual Tonka Builder Play Sets to choose from, too. One’s a pizza shop, another a custom van shop, and the third’s a fire station. Easy to build, fun to build!

Tonka Builder Playsets & toys (1979)

ALSO SEE: Remember playing with these classic Fisher-Price preschool toys?

Vintage Tonka trucks: Strong Arm construction toy (1979)

Tonka’s done it again! A totally new kind of toy, a totally new kind of fun. The Strong Arm. A unique new 22″ high walking toy that a kid operates from the end of a long, strong handle.

He can lower the bucket, scoop a load of dirt or sand, tilt it back and take it away. For roadbuilding, mountain making… whatever a big imagination suggests.

Vintage Tonka Strong Arm construction toy (1979)

MORE: Vintage Big Wheel ride-on toys helped millions of kids move on from tricycles

Vintage Tonka trucks for construction & firetruck (1984)

Vintage Tonka truck toys from 1984 (1)

Vintage Tonka trucks: Action vehicles, built for lasting fun (1984)

Vintage Tonka truck toys from 1984 (2)

Introducing My First Tonka (1987)

It takes a special kind of toy to be called Tonka. And now there’s a special Tonka built for toddlers.

My First Tonka’s colorful moving parts and happy sounds will thrill your child for hours at a time. From trucks to trains to planes, each one is built Tonka-Tough, just like our Mighties.

My First Tonka. Built for fun. Built to last. The only preschool toy that’s built like a Tonka.

Retro My First Tonka preschool toys (1987)

ALSO SEE: Hey 80s kids! Remember sitting around with Toys R Us catalogs picking out the best stuff for your Christmas list?

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest. Thanks for visiting and for supporting a small business! 🤩 


You might also like...

The fun never ends:

Comments on this story

One Response

  1. Hi my name is Willie. I am living in South Africa. I am also a Tonka and Buddy L fan. Got over 500 models of these toys . Got my first Tonka when I was 9 or 10 Years old , The Mighty Dump truck . My Brother got the Mighty Loader . The cost was R9.95 . 30 Years later I started Collecting . Now I just want more , I hunt them where I can and buy them to put in my little museum at home. I AM a firefighter and I collect toys.

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.