Buddy L trucks

Buddy L trucks and toys were produced by the Moline Pressed Steel Company in East Moline, Illinois. The company was founded in 1910 by Fred A Lundhal and originally manufactured automobile fenders and other stamped auto body parts for the automobile industry. The company primarily supplied parts for the McCormack-Deering line of farm implements and the International Harvester Company for its trucks.

Moline Pressed Steel did not begin manufacturing toys until 1921. Mr. Lundhal wanted to make something new, different, and durable for his son Arthur. He designed and produced an all-steel miniature truck, reportedly a model of an International Harvester truck made from 18 and 20 guage steel which had been discarded to the company's scrap pile.

Buddy L toysThe other kids in the neighborhood loved the toy so much they got their parents to request that Mr. Lundhal make similar toys for them. The demand made Mr. Lundhal consider manufacturing toys for the toy trade. He designed and produced 3 samples of all steel toys under the name Buddy"L". The name Buddy "L" came from his son, Arthur, who was known in the neighborhood as Buddy "L", to distinguish him from another Buddy in the same neighborhood.

Mr. Lundhal took his samples to the 1922 New York Toy Fair and received a lukewarm reception. Toy buyers thought the prices were too high; however, the toys became noted for their size and quality and toy sales took off. Therefore, Lundhal went ahead and launched the first large American pressed-steel toys - Buddy L.

Buddy L boatThe toy business prospered so much that by 1923, Moline Pressed Steel stopped fabricating full-size auto parts in favor of toys. By 1925 the toy line expanded to 20 items, including fire engines, moving vans, tanker trucks, lumber trucks, overhead cranes and sand loaders.

Outdoor Railroad

In 1926, the fabulous "Outdoor Railroad" train appeared. It was soon followed by ice trucks, coal trucks, tug boats, airplanes and a bus. Highly detailed and functional construction toys were also introduced, including some of the most desirable Buddy L toys ever manufactured.

Buddy "L" Manufacturing Company

In 1930 the name of the company was changed to Buddy "L" Manufacturing Company. The toys underwent some improvements to make them more realistic. The Junior line of trucks and toys were introduced.

Buddy "L" continued as the leader of large pressed steel toys up until World War II. Because steel was unavailable at that time, a line of wooden cars and trucks was produced. After the war, Buddy L continued to manufacture toys; however, it was never the same as before as toy manufacturers began making plastic toys.


Updated: 5 November 2019

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Comments (33)
Fred - July 28, 2021
Hello, a long time ago, in the mid to late 1950's, there was a limited edition,USPS Buddy L panel delivery truck. It had a overall dark blue paint job, with the silver wheel covers on the rubber tires that were about two and a half inches in diameter. The front end had the silver or chrome head lights and grille assembly. The rear had a single door with single aluminum latch and opened to the right side. I believe, there was a cargo floor in the rear of this relatively rare Buddy L truck. I am wondering if anyone out there has one in good condition or if they have color pictures of one to post on line? I would like to at least see all views, front,side, rear and top in the signature USPS dark blue. Please let me know. Thank you for your time and interest.
Butch - June 12, 2021
I have a Buddy L dump truck that has plastic keepers or brackets that push into the frame and wrap around the axle, securing it in place. I need 6 of these brackets. Does anyone know of a source for these parts?
Ron - May 15, 2021
where can i get a roof for a buddy l van freight carriers trailer
Search for 'buddy l parts' on google and you might find some online shops with parts. Will be difficult though, or try this page: Buddy L roofs.
Lenny - April 28, 2021
Appreciate any help!! Proud owner of a very nice Wood 1940's Buddy L Town And Country toy car. Missing the metal hood mascot. This version is the shorter metal piece not the long metal strip that went up to the wind shield. Thanks for getting back to me. Lenny
Hi Lenny, there are some online shops selling parts, although it's always difficult to find particular parts. There is also a collectors group on Facebook where you can try and ask.
Marjorie - March 11, 2021
I have a motorized buddy L dump truck. Turns, goes forward and back, dumps. Early 1940"s
John - February 5, 2021
Its there a link or page that Identifies 1950's and later Buddy L Trucks?
You could try the Buddy L Museum, they do appraisals and also have a Facebook page.
John - May 17, 2020
I have a buddl l toy bus circa 1924 whats it's value? This is large size ridable for toddler.
Best is to contact the Buddy L Museum for an appraisal. See link above.
Damo - January 4, 2020
I have a buddy l pedal car and would like to find out how old it is.
Hi, in the text above you'll find a link to the Buddy L Museum. They give free appraisals, maybe they know more. Good luck!
Steven - December 3, 2019
I have a 1964/1966 private label mister buddy ford ice cream walk in van truck with the blue bumpers and blue inside the truck. In really good condition I was wondering the resale value and what is the difference between the blue and red on the vehicles. Thanks for your help
Don't know the difference, sorry, but maybe you can find your truck on this page Buddy L Ice Cream for prices.
Gary - September 23, 2019
I have a Buddy L Roadster pick up truck. It looks like the roadster but has the pick up in back. I can not find any information on this toy. Did Buddy L make this truck at the same time as the regular roadster. Please help.......
Hi, best is to contact the Buddy L Museum, you'll find the link above in the description.
Bill - August 21, 2019
I ran across a Buddy L sand conveyor/loader from the 20's and wonder what it might be worth. It looks to be in pretty good condition and seems to work ok. The Budddy L emblem is still readable.
Not sure which one you have but you can have a look here for conveyors and here for sand loaders to see some prices.
Sonny - June 17, 2019
Im looking for information on a 21 inch long frame that has cast iron frame brass axels wood rims rubber tires torsion bar sispension (all thre axels) no mounting holes or bracketts but it is definitley a pull toy
Wendy - November 16, 2018
I am looking for a Buddy L truck that responded to voice commands. I got one for my nephew probably 25 years ago and it didn't do commands right. It is a family joke (on video) and his son is now of the age. Would love to recreate this.
Hi there, there are a few for sale on eBay right now. Take a look here: Buddy L Voice Command.
Brian - November 8, 2018
Witherells Auction Gallery is hosting a Coin Op/Toy online auction including many Buddy L trucks. It can be viewed on www.witherells.com. Thank you
Tim - October 28, 2018
I have a Buddy L Aerial Tramway. Any interests?
Thanks a lot, but I already have too much stuff ;-) Why not try eBay?
Ted - May 31, 2018
Hello,I'm looking for the green faux canvas cover and frame for a Buddy L Army Supply truck. Also I'm looking for a tow boom for a Buddy L Electric Co. Tow truck (it's the part that's made of steel rod). If anyone can help please contact me. Thanks,Ted
Paula - October 23, 2017
I have a coca-cola delivery truck with the number 421 Q on it. Distributed by Buddy L. Says it was package in 1989. Can you tell me what it's worth? Oh! The bar code is: 9 25347 00421, if that helps. And do you carry a 1956 crown Victoria ( no plastic on the roof) all metal? I've been looking for the all metal crown Victoria 1956 for years. IF you don't have one,maybe you can help me find someone who sells this die cast car. I want to say Thank You Very Much for allowing me to ask all these questions. Thanks again Paula
Hi Paula, the coca-cola is around 20-35 USD in original packaging, without it of unfortunately much less.
Dino - September 11, 2017
Wanted - Classic Buddy L U.S. Army 2nd Arm Div Transport Vehicle 1979. For sale or shipment to South Africa. Pretoria. Gauteng.Thanks Dino
Also check regularly this page: buddy l army.
Tom - August 18, 2017
I have a 1920 Buddy L Tanker truck in need of the tank. Does anyone have one for sale or even a reproduction one if available? thanks Tom
Jeff - June 21, 2017
Hey all, I have uncovered a large collection of Buddy L ride on's, trains, trucks, and the most interesting that I cannot find much out about. Three of the model 5000 bi planes and the three plane hangar model 5010. I would consider to be in good to very good condition. I sent info to Buddy L museum to find out about selling all of it. Are there any other groups to achieve that? I have about 50 pieces total and a large train collection in N, G, and HO sizes, tin, pressed steel, etc.. Thanks for your input.
Hi Jeff, you could also try this Facebook page, lots of collectors on there!
Frank - June 12, 2017
I am looking to buy couplers for a recently acquired Buddy L outdoor railroads set. I have five cars.Thanks! Frank
Hi Frank, also try this search: Buddy L outdoor trains
Cooper - April 2, 2017
I need a windshield for the buddy L turbo truck. The long one with the overbody roof. Any help would be highly appreciated. Thanks
Also try these sites: toydecals and Thomas Toys and Antique Toy Parts.
Theresa - September 1, 2016
Hello, i am looking for someone that can tell me how much two Budd L toys are worth, one is very rare as I am unable to find another anywhere.
This Buddy L toy museum does free appraisals.
Ray - October 29, 2015
Where can I get a regulator for a Buddy L, Brown, 2 burner camp stove?
Well I guess eBay is your best bet, but at this time there are none for sale unfortunately...
Dave - January 31, 2015
Looking for plastic parts for Buddy L teepee trailer...cover, bed, wings...
Did you try this search: Buddy L Teepee?
Michael - October 16, 2014
Looking for the tailgate for 1923-1929 Buddy L dump truck with chain crank
Search for a tailgate here.
Bobby - October 3, 2014
Anyone know where I can get the canvas top for a Buddy L Army Supply Corp truck. Replacement is fine. Doesn't have to be original. For my display only, not for resale. Regards. Bobby
Terry - August 25, 2014
Does anyone know where I can get replacement headlights for a Buddy L dump truck?
Daniel - November 23, 2013
Hello buddy, Im Daniel from Mexico, I have one of your oldies toy, one military jeep, I have some troubles or problems to fix it,the car is very old, I wonder ask if maybe someone of you people have an electric diagram about the function of this car.
Will be difficult... Maybe if you can locate your jeep through: Google images you can find more info.
Mike - July 7, 2013
I have a Buddy L Army Combination Set #5561, I have box, trucks, cannon, 2 stretchers, but missing the army tent (field hospital) green pup style with red cross, not sure how many soldiers were with set, but anyone having any info on the field hospital would appreciate it, thanks Mike
No idea Mike, sorry, you could search this site frequently with these terms: Buddy L army to see if someday one pops up.
Curt - January 28, 2013
I have a 5pc Buddy L Fire Truck set. They are from the mid to late 60's. They are or seem to be about 1/32 scale or a bit larger. They are still in the original box and have never been played with, I was looking at you web page and did not see anything like it.Sorry, I have no pictures to sent at this time but will have soon if you wish I can sent them to you as soon as I get them.If this is something you are interested in, Please send me an E-mail.Thanks Curt R.
Difficult to say because Buddy L made different kinds of fire trucks. Better to browse through ended Buddy L auctions to see if you can find yours and what it can fetch.
Gary - December 8, 2010
i have 2 1968 or 67 camaros 1 red 1blue metalliic both white stripe red mint blue is fair to good, also a rare ? mustang 1967 fastback friction state police, buddyl /japan 9 inch or so has buddy l mark camaros do NOThave buddyl mark but do believe they are buddyl as well cannot find police car anywhere and camaros only list blue 1 so can any one help me im intereted in selling if i can find out info on them no boxes just cars and for the most part they are well taken care of
Butch - October 25, 2010
I have a nice '57-'58 set of two army trucks, the hospital, 41 soldiers and the 9" cannon that goes behind one of the trucks. Everything is in near mint to pristine condition. Any idea what they are worth?