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ARNOLD SPLIT VW V1 – WITH BATTERY

Arnold GmbH & Co KG was founded in 1906 by Karl Arnold in Nürnberg, Germany. They did quite well and by 1940, they had 4 company locations. Only the location in Mühlhausen (near Kraichgau in Baden-Württemberg, Germany) survived WWII and from November 1945, production slowly was resumed from this location. Later the other locations were rebuilt. In 1952, ARNOLD was the first in Germany to produce hard plastic bodies for their toy cars. This was the start of a very prosperous era for plastic toys and the beginning of the end for tin plate toys. As from 1960, ARNOLD concentrated themselves mainly on production of trains (N-size) and accessories for trains.

As a variation of the first regular production release with a hard plastic body with cut out windows, versions equipped with a battery were made. The battery was used to turn on special light bulbs implemented into the headlights of the plastic body. There was a slide switch lever located in the right side rear window area. Also, the chassis was reworked to accommodate a battery holder and a 1.5-volt battery that fit into the chassis. 

The catalogue number was 4000L and it came -like the regular ARNOLD- in a colorful carton with children playing with the VW in the carton design (one other carton variation is seen also).  On the box there was either a stamp "mit Licht" (= with light) or just with "Beleuchtung"(=light). Also seen are boxes with a paper sticker with the text "mit Licht".

Body details of front and rear hoods, door seams, taillights, license plate light, VW emblem and round horn grilles. Tin metal chassis with a friction motor, rubber tires, with or without front wheel steering. There is a "fir tree" symbol stamped into the side of the friction motor and this stamping indicates that ARNOLD acquired the motor and wheels from the well-known German mechanical specialist company, Gebrüder Bühler. There were 2 variations of the front light: please see the pictures.

Detailed tin plate lithograph interior of the Split Window VW era, with steering wheel and shiny metal bumpers, seldom found with drivers. Chassis stamped with the ARNOLD insignia.

There were also several other versions of the ARNOLD Split VW V1 that were equipped with a battery. Most likely these were only prototypes. Some ARNOLD VWs were made with no headlights but had a battery and blue light bulb attachment mounted on top of the roof that lit up, like on the FEUERWEHR VW number 4000/14. The ARNOLD VW number 4000/12 was a remote-control version, cable wire operated with headlights and electric motor. A hand-held control unit with batteries and push buttons controlled the VW. All of these battery-operated versions came with different colored plastic bodies as well. Furthermore, a beige Arnold with round semaphore lights is known (mounted to the front side panels) as well as a green Arnold with rear lights only.

Just as a side note, some of the ARNOLD VWs are found with the special battery holder chassis but there are no wires or light bulbs inside. Perhaps the chassis were left over inventory and were just used for the normal production friction motor VWs.

Additional Info

  • Manufacturer: ARNOLD
  • Scale: 1/19
  • Length: 215mm
  • Production Era: 1952-56
  • Country: Germany
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Color: Beige, Red, Grey
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