This photo depicts about the ugliest application of a front Bumper I have ever seen. This particular car wears a later sprite Bumper (which has the wrong shape for the front of a Bugeye) on a custom mount and it just looks wrong in every way. Correct front Mark 1 bumpers can look nice when done properly. In this post, I will share some basics about front bumpers on Bugeyes.
First, a front bumper was optional on Mark 1 Sprites sold in the UK. However, every Bugeye bound for the US of A was shipped with a front bumper. That said, many (if not most) have been removed by now, for reasons I will get into below. Most importantly, there is no law of which I am aware that requires a front bumper on a classic vehicle. I often get that question… people fear that they will not be able to register their Sprite without a front bumper. That has not been an issue on the more than 225 cars we have sent to new homes and new states. Old cars are generally immune from this sort of safety standard (not that a Bugeye bumper provided much safety anyway).
Click “read more” for additional bumper information and pictures…
These bumpers are low, so low, in fact, that unless you hit something anchored to the floor (like a sheet rock wall in your garage, for example), the bumper is nearly irrelevant. Nothing in the classic British car-O-sphere (with the exception perhaps of rubber MGBs) has grown taller since the Sprite was launched in 1958, while the rest of the world has been getting bigger and bigger, which has rendered the petite Sprites’ bumper little more than an attractive chrome mustachio.
If your Sprite is built in macho-mode, you’ll want to remove your bumper and save the weight out front. Purists often prefer the bumper, as it gives the car a gentlemanly look. And some people like a forward-facing chrome accent.
Practically speaking, the bumper is in the way. It tends to err, “bump” your ankles while you maneuver around the engine bay to perform routine maintenance. We routinely remove bumpers when we service these cars to promote better engine access, and then replace them when we are done.
A bumper can also make bonnet operation more difficult. It can be a bit more difficult to get your hands onto the front of the nose to lift it upward. And a flip-forward configuration often conflicts with a front bumper. So for multiple reasons, these bumpers are removed, stored in barns, basements and sheds, and eventually discarded long after the host Bugeye has moved on to a new home.
Not to worry, if you like the chrome accent a bumper brings to the front of your Sprite, we sell the necessary pieces as a complete kit, available in our catalog by clicking here. Full disclosure… while I have no front bumper on custom Gumby, I do have bumpers on my other two Bugeyes (“Cole” and “Egg”) primarily because a low hanging chrome Bumper is such a relic of a former era, it makes me smile to think that at some point in our not too distant past these things were perceived to be useful.
The other nice feature of a front bumper is that it gives you a place to hang your front license plate…