Union Jack

Restoration of My 1948 Prefect


The Bumpers

Enfo Logo

Note: Each photo below can be clicked for a larger view


Back bumper Front bumper The saga of the bumpers actually goes back several years, at least to the time at the original Classen shop with John and David. These photos show both bumpers as they were when I got the car. Unfortunately, they don't show the problems clearly. the back bumper is a few inches too far from the body and it has a slight twist and a few little dents that don't really show here. Also, the over riders appear to be tilted to the rear a little. The front bumper has a significant distortion just left of center (right of center as seen in the photo). Also, the curve of the ends is different from right to left ends. Finally, it has no over riders. These flaws show a little better in the larger photos (click on the small ones to see). Of course, they both need to be re-chromed.

Overriders The missing over riders I solved fairly easily. I had been checking my favorite source, Anglia Obsolete, for most things related to upright Fords off-and-on for years for good ones with no luck. Somehow, I found another source, Anglia Brokers, who had a pretty good pair. Unfortunately, they no longer seem to be in business. They look good and the chrome is good. The mounting bracket on one, however, is missing and to replace it will require welding which will, of course, ruin the chrome. The back bumper was, if not easier, at least cheaper. My friend Harold worked with me on his 20 ton hydraulic press and we had it quite straight in a half hour or so. The front was to be a different story. We spent at least a couple of hours on the press trying to remove that distortion and correct the curve at the left end to match the right. Every time it seemed we made a little progress, it caused another distortion or wrong curve somewhere else. I also spent at least a couple more hours with hammers and such with no more luck. It looked like it would require a lot of heat to reshape it properly. I don't think I can produce enough heat to work. Bumper front

Suddenly, things changed. Desmond, a gentleman in Dublin Ireland, contacted me through this web site with questions related to repairing a gearbox. Through several conversations back-and-forth, it came up that I needed a front bumper; I had been asking Anglia Obsolete for that for years too. It turned that Desmond was retired but owned a salvage yard that his son runs and they had a bumper for my car. He sent a bunch of photos of it, a couple of which I have shown here. Yes, it is rusty and the chrome is peeling but it is straight. That's Desmond showing its painted back side. Bumper back Bumper rust

I always figured I could just get them redone at one of the local platers. And I guess that is true. When we checked on the Model A plated parts, however, sticker shock happened. They are charging $100/hour for grinding labor and these bumpers need a lot of grinding and polishing. Dick is lucky in that he can purchase all his plated parts new for less than $1000 if all else fails. It was sounding like plating would be closer to $3000. I am not so lucky. I decided to try my own hand at grinding and polishing. I mean, how hard can it be? Yes, I'll probably have to leave the final polish to the professionals but I can surely do much of the preliminary work and maybe save a few hundred. I started with a grinding wheel on my 4-1/2 inch electric grinder and worked it until there was no peeling chrome and no rusty steel. I don't know for certain that the nickel is all gone but I am pretty sure all the chrome is. As you can see in the first photo below, this left some pretty significant scratches. I was very careful to keep the disk as flat as possible so there were really no significant gouges. I followed that with one of those grinder disks loaded with small flaps of 36 grit sandpaper. I worked that until all the deep scratches from the grinding wheel were gone. The next photo shows the result of the 36 grit sanding, a big improvement. Progressively finer grits will follow.

Detail after grinding Detail after 36 grit Bumper after 36 grit

Front overriders Rear overriders Front dent Rear welding damages Meanwhile, I located the overriders and started working on them too. They will need the same grinding and sanding treatment as the bumpers but some additional work is also necessary, as mentioned above. It turns out that the front units are complete although one has a pretty big dent. The missing mounting brackets are on the rears. I now remember having to remove them due to rusted and broken bolts. The bolts are inserted behind the brackets before they are welded into the overriders. They can't be removed/replaced without first removing the brackets. the photos show both sets as they are initially.

The lower photos show the big dent in the one front unit and a previous welding mess in one of the rears. I suspect the DPO had to remove the mounting bracket and later weld it back in but managed to burn through. this, of course will have to be repaired by welding or brazing before all that grinding, sanding and polishing. I salvaged the brackets but they no longer fit. In order to do as little damage as possible to the overriders, I did most of the grinding on the brackets instead. This made them too narrow to reach the sides of the overriders without being too deep. I turned them 90 degrees then ground the the ends down, being careful to keep the bolt hole centered. They won't be as strong as before but should be fine since I don't intend to have the car push anyway.