The Arnold Mac 700

The earliest antique toy motorcycles sprang out of the same German tin toy factories making model cars in the early 1900s. Like their toy automobile counterparts, toy motorcycles made by companies such as Lehmann, Bing, and Günthermann were either push toys or wind-up clockwork pieces. Each company tended to offer at least two or three motorcycle options.

One of the first problems toy motorcycle manufacturers had to tackle, particularly when it came to wind-up toys, was how to keep the motorcycle from falling on its side. American manufacturer Louis Marx introduced its wind-up Motor Cycle Cop, in 1933, boasting its “entirely new and different motor action in a modern looking motorcycle!” The toy’s large side key was designed so that the motorcycle would automatically right itself when it tipped in either direction. The slot for the key sits just to the front of Mac’s knee.

Up until the late 1930s, Lehmann in Germany made a group of four tinplate wind-up motorcycles that maintained stability, using a gyroscopes hidden inside their casings. Companies such as Saalheimer & Strauss, Tippco, Arnold, and Mettoy also made early toy motorcycles.

When it came to making toy motorcycles in the post-Depression era, an American company named Hubley flourished. Known for its cars with working parts and doors that opened, Hubley’s attention to detail won it the rights to produce miniature versions of Harley and Indian motorcycles. These were very accurate replicas of solo motorbikes with side cars or tricycle-style bikes, with the real-life logos on their gas tanks. They were all fitted with riders—some were detachable, others were built into the toy—depicting cops, postal workers, and civilians.

After the war, German wind-up toy manufacturers and other toy makers began to reintroduce their prewar toy motorbikes, but this time with additional features like telescopic forks. Tippco’s updates included a motorcycle featuring a passenger who moved from side to side when the bike took a corner. Neidermier’s best innovation was a rider that could do headstands on the handlebars. Schuco’s Curvo 1000 featured multiple steering patterns—in the 1960s, it was updated with a modern helmet for the rider.

One of the most popular toy motorcycles of the 1950s was the Mac 700, which was Arnold’s new spin on it’s 8-inch flat-twin Zündapp. Following the war, Arnold was under American control, and their toys were stamped with “Made in US Zone Germany.” The 1950s version of the motorbike featured a civilian rider, sans helmet, with an expression that suggests he’s bracing himself against the wind. When the rider is dismounted, the bike stops, and when he is remounted, it starts.

Antique and vintage toy motorcycles are hard to come by and therefore constitute a more specialized field of collecting. To help date a toy, it’s best if you familiarize yourself with the history of innovations in full-size motorcycle technology and style.

 

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10 thoughts on “The Arnold Mac 700

  1. My older brother brought back a toy motorcycle for me from germany in the 1950’s. After winding It would run in a circle, stop, the driver would dismount, remount and then off he’d go again. Any idea which toy that was.
    Thanks for any info.
    Mike

  2. Did ARNOLD make a MAC 700 MOTORCYCLE that had a flat headlight lens? All the examples I’ve seen had a lens that was rounded outward. I’d appreciate any info you can provide. I have the chance to buy this toy but it has a flat lens in the headlight and was wondering if it is original. Ted

    1. No Ted, it’s a convex lens. I am not familiar w/ that distinction on the headlight. I’ve noticed variations in the clothing of the riders. This is really a cool toy that is supposed to be worth some bucks, but I wouldn’t sell it. I wish I knew more about the particulars of the toy, I’d be happy to pass on any info I had, but you’re doing the right thing by asking around. Good luck!

  3. I have red Mac 700 like this one in your pictures. The grey piece on the windup shaft is present like on yours. I have two other Mac’s (not red) that do not have this grey piece. Don you have any info on this piece?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jim, I ‘m not certain about the piece you mean. Everything I know about the toy I learned form looking around online. Look for toy collectors. Good luck!

  4. Why do some of the Mac 700 cycles have the handle bars bent down like a racing bike and some are straight? Are these supposed to be one way and someone had bent them or did they put out differant kinds. You can look on line and if you find 10 cycles 3 or 4 will have the handle bars bent down in the racing style. Looking for an answer…THANKS!!

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