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Fitting Stainless Steel Bumpers

This winter I turned my attention to the Austin Healey’s chrome work, none of which was showing any rust but was becoming a bit dull through many years of being polished. I bought new parts for the bonnet grille and new door handles from AH Spares and fitted these and then turned my attention to the bumpers.

Last winter we repainted our Jaguar E-Type and I had the rear bumpers re-chromed. This turned from a straightforward job into a 3 month saga and cost the same as a new set of bumpers. So rather than go though the same pain with the Austin Healey bumpers I decided to just replace them. While searching for replacements (AH Spares and others) I came across a company which offers highly polished stainless steel bumpers instead of chrome.

The price worked out about the same as new chrome ones and they would have the benefit that the finish can’t develop pock marks, rust through or polish off. The only possible fly in the ointment was that they are manufactured and sold by a non UK company – based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. This doesn’t mean I am xenophobic. It is just that most of our classic hire cars (the US ones excepted) were built fairly locally I have the luxury of the parts suppliers being local, and if there is anything wrong with any of the parts I can pop in the car and return them. Not so easy to return to Vietnam.

Anyway I decided to go ahead and order them. Ordering was simple enough and they were shipped via TNT the following day,arriving here within about a week. Removing the old bumpers was really easy, as I had removed them a few years ago to clean and polish them, and paint the inside and I had used copper grease on the bolts when I re-assembled them.

As ever fitting the new stainless steel bumpers took a little longer. They were all made to the same dimensions as the old ones, all the holes in the right places and came complete with a set of bolts. Here I have two minor criticisms:

1) the bolts are mild steel and not stainless steel to match the bumpers
2) they came with flat washers but I always add spring washers – which really ought to have been included