Remembering The Good Old Days! How Chrome Bumpers Evolved To Shape An Era?


Throughout the history of the automotive industry, metal chrome bumpers have been greatly used for visual expression as much as for function.

Visit any classic car restoration club, and you’re sure to come across at least one such conversation about chrome bumpers, which ties in to ‘good old days’.

In this article, we’ll present a brief look at the history of metal chrome bumpers, and how bumper designs were affected by government regulations.

Are you the owner of a classic car? 

Then keep reading, cause we have something for you at the end of this article.

History of Classic Cars with Metal Chrome Bumpers

Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft (1897) was the first automobile with bumpers, but the fun part, it fell off the vehicle after traveling a short distance.

Several years later, Frederick Simms, a British engineer, began testing impact-absorbing bumpers for which he received a patent in 1905.

Years down the line,  every automobile on the road had chrome finish metal bumpers - from the aerodynamic wings in the 1930s to the finned shark of the 1950s and the muscular cars in the 60s.

Even though chrome metal bumpers were last seen on the American cars in the early 1990s, the trucks still have them.

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Chrysler Airflow (1930) added a unique style to bumper designs, grouped metal bars positioned a few inches away from the vehicle. 

The purpose of any bumper is to absorb low-speed impacts and protect the whole body from damage.

Before the 1940s, bumpers were made of steel bars fitted at the front and back of a vehicle with relatively large gaps between the bumper and the vehicle.

At that time, bumpers were given an occasional curve depending on the model of the vehicle.

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During the early 1970s, chrome bumpers trimmed and became slimmer, especially on performance driven cars like the 1970 Chevrolet Camaro.

After World War II, styling was a prime aspect in designing chrome bumpers.

Creating them with curves and contours served as a continuation of the body flow.

Till the early 1970s, bumpers went from mild to wild, and again went back to mild before government regulations affected their design and function.

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The U.S. Federal Bumper Regulations and How they Affected Bumper Design Trends

Before 1973, there were no standards governing the level of protection bumpers provided.

Studios followed form over function rule to design components, leaving consumers with repairs that were too expensive for their pockets.

This is because stylish bumpers provided least damage protection.

In 1973, The U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 215 mandated that bumpers must be strong enough to prevent headlights, fuel system, tail lights, and other safety components from damage after a 5 mph frontal impact and a 2.4 mph rear impact.

Corvettes (1974) were early adopters of plastic caps at the rear, to cover more steel bumpers required to meet federal regulations.

The cars that were launched in 1974 had to have bumpers that would protect engine, light, and safety systems from 5 mph impacts because tests were done at an angle.

Regulations became even more tougher on the 1979 models, stating that all body parts must be protected from any damage.

During 1980-82, the toughest standards were put in place, which put limitations on the damage the bumpers can sustain.

Get Your Bumpers Fixed Today! Classic Car Restoration Available at A&G Customs

Owning a classic car can put you in a lot stress because if you are looking for a particular part that is missing, then you are sure to source it with a lot of difficulty!

Are you looking for classic car restoration near you?

A&G Customs offers replacement chrome bumpers. 

You don’t need to put up with any sort of damaged, faded or even corroded chrome bumpers any longer.

Whether it’s straightening, re-chroming or de-rusting your old bumper, A&G Customs does it all.

Contact them at 215-669-3072.