The Land Rover Writer

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Return of the Wonderbra Bumper

British car fans from the 1970's will remember, with much pain, the creation of the rubber bumper "Wonderbras" that afflicted our beloved sports cars of that era. 

First came the MGB of 1975; in order for it to meet US safety regulations, it had to be jacked up in height and affixed with front and rear "rubber bumpers" in lieu of the stylish chrome items of earlier models.

That same year the MG Midget received its own version of the same bumpers; because of the car's 1962 design, it needed a less ugly version of those bumpers.

 A year later the Triumph TR-7 came standard with those same bumpers, this time integrated into the overall wedge shape.

The Triumph TR-6 avoided this only because Leyland ended production so as not to compete with the TR-7. The Triumph Spitfire's design, also from 1962, allowed it to get away with rubber bumper stops over chrome bumpers until the 1979 models [it would remain in production only through 1980].

While those sports cars hung on for dear life, most enthusiasts will rue the loss of minimal bumpers and considerable horsepower - due both to excess weight and strangled engines from emission controls.

I thought the worst of these excesses was over until I saw the latest Euro-Wrangler from Jeep in today's Autoweek. Take a look at these "pedestrian friendly" rubber bumpers; somebody at Fiat must have dipped into the Fiat 124 Spider archives to find these bumper designs for this European-only Jeep.


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