Chrome plating bumpers or stainless steel bumpers?
To get straight to the point: this is probably the most common question among our customers. Am I going to have my old set of bumpers chromed again or will I opt for stainless steel bumpers? For some, stainless steel bumpers are an entirely new discovery as an alternative to chrome plating. Both options obviously have their pros and cons, as with so many things in life ...
There are a number of points of interest when choosing between stainless steel bumpers and chrome plating the old bumpers. We will explain these further:
- Originality and availability of parts
- What does a stainless steel bumper look like compared to a chrome bumper?
- What does re-chrome plating of bumpers cost?
- Museum piece or driver's car?
Originality and availability of parts
The use of many chrome (and stainless steel) parts is part of the era and appearance of many classic cars. Well-polished, enthusiasts' cars will beam towards you on sunny days. We at Bumperworld love it! There are plenty of chrome replica parts to be found for many classics, but most of the time they don't beat the original in terms of quality and appearance. For wear parts, the original parts (such as Bosch ignition parts) are often still well available. In the case of body parts such as bumpers, however, there is often no choice. Finding a "NEW OLD STOCK" (NOS) bumper is of course beautiful, but usually an illusion. Repairing or replicating original parts is then necessary. We have many customers who are genuinely happy with the fact that their long-sought bumper is available at all! In addition, the polished stainless steel bumpers are of a different class than the chrome replicas. Our customers' classics are often produced in limited editions and built by hand. Consider for example a Maserati 3500 GT. Real customization.
A Rolls Royce Silver Cloud (1957) with its (original) stainless steel grille and stainless steel bumpers.
Stainless steel bumpers were already used by some manufacturers in the 60s and 70s. And what about the stainless steel grille of the majestic Rolls Royce Silver Cloud?
What does a stainless steel bumper look like compared to a chrome bumper?
The looks: important! Certainly with a cherished classic. A frequently asked question with us is whether the bumpers can be distinguished from chrome. The answer: the difference is almost invisible. The stainless steel is polished so that the surface is smooth, and shines like chrome.
Our customers are usually convinced when they have seen the bumpers with their own eyes and have felt the material. That is of course possible at one of the many trade shows at which we are present or after making a personal appointment to visit our showroom.
What does chrome re-plating of bumpers cost?
The costs for chrome plating bumpers and other parts often form a large portion of the restoration budget. Prices that are paid for chrome re-plating vary enormously. Grinding and polishing of the parts before they can be chromed takes a lot of time and requires absolute knowledge and skill. The quality of this preparatory work is very important for the end result. In addition, not all bumpers can be saved. The basis for the bumper to be chromed must already be good if a good end result is to follow. If the original bumper has become very thin, and rust pits cannot be completely removed during roughing, the result may be disappointing. Sooner or later, rust will come back and chrome peeling will become a fact. Recently a customer came with the BMW 503 bumper below. The customer had been to various chrome companies, but recovery was not possible or extremely expensive. He ultimately opted for customized stainless steel:
The original bumper of this BMW 503 was fairly rusted...
The new custom made BMW 503 bumper in stainless steel.
Museum piece or driver's car?
A car that has spent its life preserved in a museum will have little trouble with rust on chrome work. However, most of the time classic cars have been through a lot and luckily most of our customers use their car for what it is meant to do: drive!
Even for classics that participate in rallies or rides in wind and weather, the stainless steel bumpers offer a solution: with occasional maintenance and cleaning, the bumpers are in top condition again. In addition, it is possible to dent out bumpers and re-polish them in the event of damage. Chippings also give no problems with stainless steel bumpers. With chrome the top layer gets damaged and rust gets free rein in the long run.
Given our experience and the experiences of our customers, we dare to say that we have found the perfect alternative to chrome with polished stainless steel bumpers.
Restoring and maintaining classic cars entails many choices. Sooner or later, the bumpers will take their turn as well. Sometimes the old bumpers can no longer be repaired due to damage and / or rust. Moreover, good original bumpers are often no longer available. Repairing and re-chroming bumpers is in many cases expensive and not always the best solution for the longer term. Given our experience and the experiences of our customers, we dare to say that we have found the perfect alternative to chrome with polished stainless steel bumpers.