By on February 28, 2018

Image: 1978 Datsun 280ZThe TTAC Slack chat got to talking about Datsuns this week and, among mentions of the 280ZX Black Gold and 260Z, Datsun vault of knowledge Chris Tonn posted a picture of a late-Seventies 280Z.

It looked utterly terrible with its gigantic bumpers, and I soon became nauseous. But once that went away, I was left with a relevant and overarching question: Which car models were most negatively affected by the giant American bumpers of the 1970s?

Image: 1978 Datsun 280ZMost of you lived through it, but some of you whippersnappers (and me) were not so fortunate to experience the Malaise starting shortly before the Carter era. A quick summary:

Image: 1977 Lincoln Mark VThe large and in charge vehicles of the 1960s carried minimal bumper protection for the sake of styling, which lead to increasing repair costs in minor fender bender accidents. Much to the dismay of everyone beside insurance companies, the government decided to step in and offer up some regulation.

Image: 1977 Lincoln Mark VBeginning with model year 1974, 5 mile per hour bumpers were required on all new vehicles. The regulation said that at an angled 5 mph impact, the bumpers must ensure no damage occurs to a car’s lights, engine, or safety features. Awful bumpers ensued.

Image: 1978 Dodge Magnum XEThe regulators decided this wasn’t enough protection, and for 1979 the standard was raised to state that zero damage could occur in the same impact. Bring out the battle bumpers!

Image: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SLAs the Malaise cooled, so did the regulators fervor for bumpers, and in 1982 the law was scaled back to 2.5 miles per hour. That’s where the regulation still rests today. All the cars you see here were made between 1974 and 1980, and I’m sure you B&B can make us a nice list of those most disturbed or ruined by bumper regulation.

Have at it!

[All images via their respective sellers at ClassicCars.com]

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93 Comments on “QOTD: Can We Inventory the Worst Bumpers of the 1970s?...”


  • avatar
    tonyola

    Checker. I win.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2f/Checker-Marathon-2.jpg/640px-Checker-Marathon-2.jpg

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I love that Lincoln, it brings back memories. The Marks were beautiful cars. Even with the 5 mph bumpers they far outclass today’s sterile auto designs.

  • avatar
    Proud2BUnion

    The 1974-77 Mercury Comet has some real awesome bumpers!

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Back in the day I owned a ’75 Comet GT and it came with awesome bumpers. I remember one time a Datsun 310 at a stop sign on a snow-covered hill slid backwards into my Comet. The whole back end of the Datsun was pushed in, but there was no damage at all to my Comet.

  • avatar
    TR4

    1974-1980 MGB. It didn’t help that they raised the car on its suspension to meet US bumper height requirements. True Malaise Era vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I was going to say the exact same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      The MGB is a great call, but I submit that the rubber-bumper MG Midget was even worse.
      https://www.classic-chrome.net/upload/Photos/201704081719111536562351_1.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      They are terrible compared to the chrome bumpers, but you need to give them credit for at least making it look somewhat decent compared to a lot of other monstrosities out there. The rubber bumpers for Spitfires are much worse, as are pretty much everything hung off German cars of the era.

      About the only cars that looked OK were Volvos and Saabs, since they were tanks to start with.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Yeah, I think MG actually did a great job of integrating the bumpers, I don’t think they look bad at all. Different, sure, but black-is-the-new-chrome was just catching on about then, it sort of worked.

        I even like the Spitfire’s approach, keep the classic chrome bumper and tack on some black gobstoppers. When I look at the car my eye just sort of edits out the black nubs. But if you fixate on them, yeah, they’re pretty bad.

    • 0 avatar
      roverv8i

      And don’t forget there were mid year 74 B’s and Midgets that got the big rubber bricks on the chrome until the readyed the styled rubber bumpers. For example:

      https://classiccars.com/listings/view/1022364/1974-mg-mgb-for-sale-in-gautier-mississippi-39553

      Not sure if these had the raised height

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Growing up then, they didn’t seem awful, they were just “bumpers”.
    Whatever you grow up with, no matter how awful, can feel pretty normal.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fTzEybULzRg

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      Agree completely. I was born in ’73. To me cars were just cars. Even this looked normal to me:
      https://dxsdcl7y7vn9x.cloudfront.net/608026/F83CD9FA-9A87-46B4-99AF-FDF8E0ACCD10_1.jpg

      In general, looking back, I’d say that the American cars wear their 5mph bumpers well but all the imports look horrible. The distinctly-a-bumper style that followed is much preferable to the latest smooth One-Piece-Bumper-And-Fenders that necessitates replacing half the car body in the case of a slight bump.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/1987-1988_Honda_Accord_Si_hatchback_01.jpg
      or

      https://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/gallery/ACURAIntegra-1248_1.jpg

      vs:

      https://server86.texasdirectauto.com/JM1BL1VGXB1375676/005_0005.jpg

      Looks like the smoothed over nethers of a Ken doll.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    A long time ago, Consumer Reports always included a round with their “Bumper Basher” as part of their car tests. The expectation was that cars should not sustain any damage from it (I can’t remember how fast it hit the car.) They stopped the test after standards were revised and pretty much every car failed it (which was expensive, since CR sells their test vehicles after they are done with them.)

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Fiat X1/9
    http://topclassiccarsforsale.com/fiat/199624-1975-fiat-x19-clean-rust-free-unmolested-original-example.html

    E9 BMW Coupe
    https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1974-bmw-3-0-cs/

    Datsun Z and MGB get dishonorable mention.

  • avatar
    deanst

    But how can we play Ralph Gilles and save people from burning vehicles if we don’t have mega bumpers?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    it seems sport cars were the worst lookers with these, while I agree with the x19 , the MB SL were worse and worst of all in my eyes were the Jags bumpers mostly on the e class IIRC and the xj6 were pretty ugly also. Maybe less car made the bumpers stand out.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    The E28 and E24 BMWs really suffered with diving board bumpers. Pretty much all of the late-70s and 80s BMWs had awful bumpers.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    Bricklin SV-1.

  • avatar
    Rasputin

    During the 1970’s I was “into” Italian sports cars. Dreamt of Ferraris, Lambos, and Maseratis, but sadly could only afford Fiats & Alfas. The bumper regulations completely disfigured both makes.

    I had purchased a new 1973 124 Spider that was a lemon – a new head gasket every 10,000 miles. After the second one, and looking at the end of the 30,000 mile warranty, the sympathetic dealer (a family friend) gave me a fantastic trade-in deal on a 1974. Butt ugly! I couldn’t resist the deal, though, and other than the bumpers I loved that car.

  • avatar
    ernest

    Corvette. The switch to plastic bumpers destroyed much of the charm of the sharks.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    I vote for 75-78 Cadillac Eldorado.

    I know people cry about the ugly bumpers of yore but I whacked a large palm tree in my 1981 Dodge Colt. And because of the UGLY 5-mph bumper the damage was almost imperceptible.
    Conversely, I now have a minor scrape on the front bumper of my 2014 Kia Soul and it is now a $900 repair.

    Sometimes ugly but functional is not such a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Ding ding. I come here to praise 5-mph bumpers, not bury them.

      At least the 5-mph bumpers actually “bumped” without too much damage. As I’ve said before, the 5-mph bumpers on my 1982 Celebrity (whatever it’s other faults) saved my stupid teenage self more than once.

  • avatar
    kkop

    TTAC has a slack presence?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    ’73 Chevelle; park bench sized, can knock down a building and Uggggggly!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Chevelle#/media/File:1973_Chevrolet_Chevelle.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      My mom drove a ’74 Chevelle er Malibu. The floor was rusting out by the time we sold it.

      The next owner apparently took a disliking to the car and took a few shots at it with his rifle. At least that’s the story we heard.

      Bonus story – this was the car that my dad took me to the hospital in after a stick went into my eye socket (and thankfully missed my eye). He apparently had the ol’ malaise 350 engine pegged the entire way.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Actually the model year 1973 was when the bumper standard was required on all new vehicles. It was 5 MPH front and 2.5 rear. Then in 1974 the regulation required the rear bumper to be 5 MPH.
    My folks 73 Impala coupe had the battering ram like front bumper with a less obtrusive rear bumper.

    The British Leyland vehicles got the large rubber bumper guards before the 1974 and up full rubber bumper MG with Jaguar and Triumph’s having a more of a diving board look.
    When the regulation was weakened to 2.5 MPH in the early 80’s American BMW models reverted back to the more Euro style. However the weaker standards led to higher insurance claims.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I quite disagree about Congress suddenly deciding to do something about this horrible state of affairs – those laws were bought and paid for by the insurance lobby.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Absolutely correct. I remember ads from Allstate? insurance where they ran a then current (1971?) Ford LTD into a barrier at 5 mph and then ran a Model A Ford into the barrier at the same speed. The new Ford had several hundred $ in damage, while the old Ford was pretty much unblemished, which they stated would save on insurance if all cars had strong bumpers.

  • avatar

    The bumpers on that 280Z look great compared to the even larger ones on the 1974.5-1976 260Z.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll go with anything from British Leyland, with a special (dis)honor to the MG Midget.

    https://www.mgexp.com/registry/pictures/76398/1975_MG_Midget_Red_Cale_Thurow_000.jpg

    Awful. Just awful.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    I think it’s always a matter of craving what’s different. As a German, I actually like those huge 5 mph bumpers, yes even on the SL pictured. And I’m not alone — I knew one guy who actually converted his ’70 VW Bug convertible to 5 mph bumpers and round taillights, creating what never existed before: a post-’75, non-Super Beetle, convertible Bug. And I liked it a lot.

    That being said, I agree about the “rubber boat” bumpers on various British roadsters, they’re awful indeed — although the increased ride height of those models added to the ugliness, and when you see one lowered and with painted bumpers, it’s actually not that bad.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    The worst technical solution was by Peugeot which suffered no damage at 5 MPH but at 8MPH, the nose was so beefed up for the new bumpers that the forces were dissipated back at the firewall, causing bending so far in that the cars got written off.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      lol… well that was the letter (if not the spirit) of the law.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Now cars get written off because a piece of plastic gets marred.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I too would prefer real bumpers that could get ‘banged out’, resprayed or easily replaced instead of the expensive, plastic nonsense that now hangs off most vehicles.

        Any chance of returning to the hydraulic (water bladder) bumpers of the early 1970’s? The cost in extra fuel consumption would easily be offset by reduction in body damage/insurance claim costs.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          The impact on mileage would be less on cars with regenerative braking. The additional energy needed to get heavier bumpers up to speed, would be recovered when braking. Regular cars just waste additional energy used to get more weight up to speed.

          But driver assistance systems should eliminate cars running into each other and things, so this should become a moot point. No need for bumpers. We can all have art ev’s.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Mid 70`s AMC Matador sedan. What started out as a clean, attractive design morphed into a nose heavy, bulbuous front end that looked like AMC sub-contracted it out to a Junior High School shop class.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Some of the 5mph bumpers were abominations. I thought the ’79 Chev wagon I had looked just fine with the big chrome bumpers.

    There were lots of bonuses. I could push other cars with zero damage. The real chrome finish did not become sandblasted like the front ends on newer cars. There was no damage in parking lot mishaps and they minimized damage in more serious hits.

    Now, the slightest touch is hundreds of dollars. Anything worse and you’re into the thousands. People spend much of their time behind the wheel of a machine used in very close quarters and contunious movement, worried about so much as touching something else. Drive in the winter or on gravel roads and they get pitted.

    Yes, the weight had a mileage penalty. But if anyone thinks the insurance industry regrets the passing of robust bumpers, they’re dreaming.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    The Mk2 VW Scirocco was absolutely ruined by the “diving board” US-spec bumpers. Pull those suckers and replace them with euro bumpers and it completely transforms the car from a turd to a thing of beauty.

  • avatar
    red60r

    Triumph TR-7

  • avatar
    Acd

    Maserati put some pretty terrible looking bumpers on their U.S. bound cars during the 1970’s. The rear bumpers on the Merak, Bora and Khamsin were particularly bad.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Porsche 911

    The elegant little chin bumpers morphed into a dining room table in the mid/late 70s.

  • avatar
    turf3

    You totally have the wrong end of the stick.

    Many cars of 1968 would sustain heavy expensive damage if they were struck on the front or rear with anything other than lightest blow.

    In fact I remember seeing an article about how if a 1968 Corvette happened to get struck on the front at some incredibly low speed, the whole front fender would just cave under, breaking from the lip of the wheel well clear over the top of the fender down toward the hood opening.

    The 5 mph bumper regulations meant that you could actually drive a car normally and if you happened to tap another car or a bollard you had nothing worse than a little scuff on the chrome or even better on the rubber strip many of those bumpers had.

    At some point the regulations were rescinded and now if you lightly tap another car (as in, parking) or a bollard, you have a multiple-thousands-of-dollars repair bill to replace your broken huge plastic part. In truth it’s even worse than back before the 5 mph bumpers, because in those days at least SOME cars had big heavy bumpers, and many times you could beat the bumper, brackets, and associated panels back into shape with a 2 lb hammer and avoid expensive repair bills. Today when your enormous plastic part gets broken in half, it flops around and drags on the ground; you can’t even halfway get thing drivable by yourself.

    I would pay extra for a modern car with actual bumpers. Chrome or aluminum, mounted on those springy “shock absorber” like mounts, with a rubber strip.

    But I can’t buy such a car. In fact, even pickup trucks, which till recently still had actual metal bumpers, now largely have plastic bumpers with a vacuum-metallized piece overlaid to make it look like they have metal bumpers – but it’s the same cheap plastic crap as the passenger cars.

    Today’s bumpers are the bad bumpers. The 5-mph bumpers were the good bumpers.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I remember the Allstate ad touting 5 mph bumpers, showing a Model A, quoting a repair cost of $12 for a 5 mph impact, and contrasting that with modern cars without 5 mph bumpers, and their repair costs running into the hundreds of dollars.

    • 0 avatar

      By all means, for the sake of saving a few dollars on low impact collisions, let’s hang big, heavy battering rams on the ends of cars. That will surely help with vehicle dynamics and fuel economy. Yep. Uh huh.

      I feel as though I’m losing IQ points having to explain this to you, but the plastic fascias on modern cars aren’t bumpers, they’re just trim. Behind that trim is some kind of solid beam made up of steel or aluminum that itself is mounted via shock absorber type devices to the frame, just like those battering ram bumpers of old.

      Modern bumpers aren’t terrible. I got rear ended in snowy, bumper to bumper conditions in Chicago during the auto show. It was a low speed collision but enough that I felt my head hit the head rest and there wasn’t a scratch on either car.

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        Ronnie, you are flat-out wrong on the use of shock absorbers on today’s car bumpers. These haven’t been used in about 20 years — I think VW/Audi were the last.

        Also the steel or aluminum beams do not extend to the full width of the front or rear, meaning there’s typically only empty space behind the plastic covers’ corners. This is why you see so many caved-in corners.

        The 5-mph bumpers didn’t have to be overly heavy battering rams. The Volvo 240 used aluminum bumpers to save weight and they had thick, real rubber bump strips. And of course these bumpers were mounted on shock absorbers.

        I’d still rather have metal (especially chromed) bumpers today — I hate the fact that the lightest of taps makes unsightly scratches or imprints on today’s gigantic plastic covers.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        OK, you want to be snotty about it, let’s run this pop fly out.

        1) Have you priced one of your beloved “bumper covers”? Well, I have. For my car which is currently worth about $10,000, the “bumper cover” costs about $2000. I currently have it held up with zip ties because the little plastic tabs that hold it in place were broken by an extremely low speed contact with the top of a curb as I was pulling into a parking place. If I had been driving my 1987 Mazda with its steel air dam instead of my car with its plastic “air dam” which is integrated into the front “bumper cover”, I would have been able to lie on the ground with a hammer and a pair of pliers and bend it back into place. (I did in fact do this more than once.) But the new(ish) car has no repair possible. I either pay $2000 (parts, don’t know about installation but it’s probably not real expensive), or the thing hangs down making the car undrivable, or I zip tie it in place looking like poopie.

        2) Are you old enough to have been low-speed rear-ended in a car with real bumpers? I have, many times. Most of the time there was no damage other than scuffs to the rubber strip. Once I had to get a pipe wrench and bend the bumper back into pretty close to its shape. Now when my wife got hit in a Toyota Camry some years ago, the cost of the “bumper cover” part alone exceeded the cost of the metal panel repairs and repainting.

        3) If you want to argue that vehicle dynamics are adversely affected by putting a big steel or aluminum beam mounted on shock absorbers on the end of the car where you can see it and it has just a black rubber strip on it, then don’t turn around in the very next freaking paragraph and write the following:

        “Behind that trim is some kind of solid beam made up of steel or aluminum that itself is mounted via shock absorber type devices to the frame, just like those battering ram bumpers of old.”

        4) And don’t try to give me some BS about how if I were just more careful none of this would happen, unless you are prepared to write me a check that will cover the cost for me to retire to a rural county where there are no parallel parking spots, no illegal immigrants driving without licenses, and no idiots driving under the influence without insurance. As long as I have to live and work in cities, there will be minor low speed impacts. If you think it’s a great idea to risk a $2000 repair bill that 30 years ago would have been $100, every time you pull out of the driveway, be my guest.

        But don’t imply that I am stupid because I want a car that can function in the real world without having to be treated like a 300 year old Venetian glass vase.

        • 0 avatar

          1. If I was damaging my cars that frequently, I might take lessons on how to park.
          2. I got my driver’s license before 5mph bumpers were part of the FMVSS.
          3. There is a significant difference between the way energy absorbing bumpers are integrated into the design of modern cars and the way they hung heavy steel bumpers on the extreme ends of existing designs as they did in the 1970s. Hanging that weight on the front and back of cars was terrible for vehicle dynamics.
          4. I always look for opportunities to improve my driving. You, on the other hand, are apparently a driving avatar, someone who could give driving lessons to Senna and teach a New York City cabbie how to park.

          • 0 avatar
            turf3

            Well, you didn’t answer any of my points and you doubled down on ad hominem.

            I will give your posts the appropriate amount of attention in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Good points turf3.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Modern bumpers are energy absorbing structures, covered with bumper covers. Why not make the structures look half decent and do away with the delicate flimsy civers. After all function is supposed to be inherently aesthetic. BMW and Porsche say so.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “By all means, for the sake of saving a few dollars on low impact collisions, let’s hang big, heavy battering rams on the ends of cars.”

        Absolutely, I’d add a cow catcher as well. Why does all sense have to be sacrificed for edge cases? Madness.

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          OK, drive around lower-income parts of town (where people just keep driving cars with minor damage without fixing it, as long as the cars will still go) and look at “bumpers” (or “bumper covers” if those particular vocabulary words will make you happier) and then tell me that cars’ bumpers coming into contact with other objects is a vanishingly rare limit case.

          Total BS.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Out here in the Desert Southwest where those at poverty level are still driving Aveos you will see lots of missing or partially destroyed bumper covers due to the dirt roads and approach and departure angles that would exceed the abilities of the vehicle.

            “Real” bumpers would certainly help them.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    porsche 911 – and having a hard time believing mine was it’s first mention.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    HA! My first two cars.

    First, ’75 Vega hatchback, the base model with the forged aluminum 5 mph bumpers, without the thick rubber rub strips that were included on the nicer Vegas, and the GTs. At least they were somewhat polished, and had a nice shiny anodized aluminum coating, which kept them looking nice. And there was black rubber between them and the body.

    The second one was my ’78 Audi Fox, which also had forged aluminum battering rams, with a brushed finish, which stood away from from the body on hydraulic absorbers, with no fairings. And a heavy duty, pointy in section rubber rub strip, which I kept shiny with the then-new product, Armor All.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    Original Lamborghini Countach (LP400) with those horrible front “bumpers.”

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    They ruined the Boat Tail Riv

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    A GM commercial from 1972 showing the ’73 Caprice, and its 5 mph front bumper (rear bumpers for ’73 were designed for 2.5 mph):

    “A good-looking bumper that can take it.”

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      In 1973 GM outfitted 100 NYC Impala and Bel Air cabs with soft molded plastic bumpers and headers.

      https://mobile.nytimes.com/1973/10/21/archives/taxis-test-bumpers-cushioning-material-cushioning-material-key.html?referer=https://www.google.com/

      Here’s a picture of one from the Stepford Wives

      http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_27567-Chevrolet-Bel-Air-1973.html

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far in and no one mentioned the Ford “battering rams”; e.g the 1972 Gran Torino (Like the Movie) was beautiful, and then for 1973, a quote from Car & Driver “Ford just chrome plated a railroad tie and hung it onto the front end of the car.” In most cases, the bumpers on Mopars of that 73-74 era didn’t change too much, except for the big rubber guards.
    https://www.mecum.com/lots/CA0816-244449/1972-ford-gran-torino-sport/

    https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2013/08/23/hemmings-find-of-the-day-1973-ford-gran-torino-sport/

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      Yes, I had a 74 Gran Torino with those huge bumpers front and rear. I think Ford did the best they could with the standard at the time. The bumpers absolutely worked. My wife rear-ended an early 70’s Mercedes at low speed. The Mercedes lost its tail lights and sheet metal. The Torino didn’t get a scratch.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    The Countach 5000QV U.S. Model. The giant stupid affront to US buyers up front and the 4 segments of black blech out back…

  • avatar
    Oreguy

    Early DeTomaso Panteras had a beautiful nose featuring the small, albeit useless chrome bumperettes. The late 1972-on L-models featured the ugly black rubber snout.

    Still a beautiful shape overall, but after this tragic mandate, a bit less so.

  • avatar
    Mike

    Here’s what the Maserati Khamsin SHOULD look like.
    https://www.classicdriver.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_full/public/import/articlesv2/images/_de/8279/Maserati_Khamsin_02pop.jpg

    Here’s what it looked like in the US.
    http://www.iagclassics.com/CarPix/75MaseratiKhamsin/ebay/75-Maserati-Khamsin-020.jpg

    Please not the travesty that is the taillights.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I always liked the ’74 GrandAm, kind of looks like it’s playing the harmonica.
    http://media.motortopia.com/files/5891/vehicle/463fcf5ade9ae/74_grand_am.jpg

    I believe Volvo stopped importing the P1800 due to the bumper requirements, which made me sad.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Whats a bumper? Do cars even have those?

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Anyone else remember the 1973 CHryslers (and some 1974s) with their bumper guards with four-inch thick rubber cushions?

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Did the 5 mph law go away in 1982? Being into West German cars, I guess I missed it. Porsche and BMW kept their 5 mph bumpers through 1988, and Porsche even used them in Europe on 911s. They were just the thing for protecting the cars from class warfare conducted through sloppy parallel parking.

  • avatar
    CrystalEyes

    I owned one of the 1974 and 1/2 MGBs mentioned above. I liked the look of the ‘rubber bumper’ cars, but the changes to the suspension (not just raised ride height) sucked. I eventually swapped the front suspension sub-assembly out for one from an earlier car and replaced the rear leaf springs with ones that were slightly stiffer and ‘de-arched’ to get the ride height back down. Ditching the original hydraulic dampers for adjustable gas charged ones, along with better tires and a stiffer anti-roll bar in front, transformed the handling of the car completely. I didn’t see this as modifying the car so much as correcting the mistakes and bad decisions under which it was manufactured…

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    1981 VW Jetta.

    Dear god.

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