Tonka was very keenly aware of the profits generated by private label trucks. Tonka made hundreds in the Mini-Tonka and Regular series prior to 1965. Very little documented information is available on Tonka Gas Turbine private label trucks however. Every project has a starting point. The JCPenney set just below will be that starting point for what I hope will be a flood of information on 1965 - 19?? Tonka Regular series Gas Turbine, private label trucks.
In 1975, JCPenney sold the Crane Boom on Flatbed, JCPenney stock #924-0029; with the Mini-Tonka #1990 Forklift, JCPenney stock #924-0037; and the #4920 Hard Hat as a set (all in the same carton) under Tonka model #2984, JCPenney stock #924-0045. Mom and Dad could purchase the Crane Boom on Flatbed and the Forklift individually for $16.98 total or they could purchase the set that included the hard hat, for the same money. What a deal!
Tonka and Chevron had a working relationship that lasted from 1976 through 1982. Over this period of time, Tonka manufactured seven trucks with Chevron colors and graphics that were sold by Chevron distributors and service stations. Of the seven trucks, one was a Gas Turbine. Tonka assigned model #2962 to the 1977 Chevron private label tanker. Many can be found on auction websites. Many are still in their boxes. Many are still factory sealed in their boxes.
|Courtesy Micah James||Courtesy Micah James|
|No sooner had Micah opened the package and touched up the cosmetics, was this very unique Tonka Gas Turbine private label truck in the midst of it's first U.S.A. photo shoot. And you are probably looking at it for the first time right now (April 2012). Information supplied with the truck indicate it was manufactured in 1976 and available in 1977. The red and white logo decal applied on the cab side was used on US made trucks in 1976-77.
This fine example was found complete with a presentation box holding a bottle (the seal is not broken), 3 shot glasses, 2 sealed decks of playing cards and a letter introducing Eckes new liquor product. The truck and contents are believed to have been incentives given to distributors and dealers of Eckes products to help introduce and promote new to the market "ECKES - Bitter" liquor.
It is not known how many of these trucks were manufactured or who completed the modification of adding the steel tray to hold the presentation box in place. The truck itself appears not to suffer from scarcity as 2 are up for bid on eBay's German website (early April 2012). The tough part will be to find the presentation box with all contents and the original letter.
|Courtesy Micah James|