Where to begin… I used to have a truck like this when I was a kid.  Looking at the current ones being sold, I was unimpressed, as they are made of plastic.  I found this on Ebay and decided to buy it with the intention of a frame-off restoration.  I also decided that if I was going to go through all the effort on what is in essence a $20 truck, I might as well have fun with it and turn it into a restomod.


Step 1: involved drilling out and removing the rivets and separating the different parts.

Step 2: remove all surface rust, dirt debris and other material.  Clean all the components, including tires, wheels and the cab parts.

Step 3: sand blasting of the metal components. (in picture 3 you can see the sandblasted tonka truck bed in the background)

Step 4: powder coating.  The frame is finished in a gloss black powder coat. (photos below show the before and after of the powder coating process.)  Instead of finishing the body and dump bed in the traditional yellow, I instead used the “Cadillac Blue” powder coat from Eastwood.

Step 5: reassembly.



-I wasn’t able to find the right length rivets for reassembling the cab, so I instead opted for machine screws.

-I decided to not buy the replacement stickers.  I might find someone to make me custom stickers, not sure yet.

-Wheels.  I considered CNC milling new aluminum rims for the truck, then I realized that might be excessive.  Wheels are easy to change, so it’s still an option in the future.

-Why not just use spray paint? Because the truck was originally finished in powder coat, and I didn’t want to compromise the quality of my restoration job.  I want this truck to last another 30+ years, and spray paint isn’t going to do that.

-Powder coat finish: The Cadillac Blue finish came out great.  There are a few inconsistencies from the prior rust, but that’s my fault (painting is all about the prep work).  Overall the truck looks great and so does the color.  At night the truck almost looks black, and during the day the color looks almost like indigo blue.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.


It’s a one of a kind RestoMod Tonka Truck!


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