The MGA With An Attitude

At 11:58 AM 11/23/05, Bill Graham wrote:
"Have you ever heard of aluminum bumpers for the MGA? Some guy is selling one, and he says they were available in cast and stamped form. I can't imagine a cast aluminum bumper is any lighter than a stamped steel one, and then what is the purpose?"

Aluminum front bumper, cast
This picture is from an eBay listing in late November, 2005.

The eBay listing states, "As far as I can tell there are only a few of these left in the world. There are more aluminum stamped bumpers out there than the sand cast. This is a rare cast aluminum front bumper that fits all years MGA. It was on my 'A' in the early 70's."

Aluminum front bumper, cast
Cast aluminum front bumper with chrome overriders.

All of this is true, but does not necessarily make it a desirable item. The cast aluminum bumper is heavier than a stamped steel bumper. The stamped aluminum bumper is weaker than a stamped steel bumper. Neither cast nor stamped aluminum will ever polish up to look like chrome plating. The polished finish on aluminum is difficult to maintain over time without some additional surface finish. Chrome plated steel overriders will show an obvious difference in appearance. To the best of my knowledge, there was never a similar aluminum rear bumper, so front and rear bumpers may not be matched in appearance.

There may be some advantage to the stamped aluminum bumper for a person who wants the performance advantage of slightly reduced weight. I do not see any advantage to use of the cast aluminum bumper, as I do not think it is any stronger than the original stamped steel chrome bumper.

The reason for existence of these parts is because the MG factory stopped production of many MGA specific replacement parts several years after end of MGA production (common in the industry in those days). Aftermarket suppliers soon stepped in to fill the demand for replacement parts. Cast aluminum is cheaper to produce in limited quantity due to the lower cost of sand casting relative to the higher cost of new stamping dies. Given a choice between a cast aluminum bumper or no bumper at all, some people did buy these cast aluminum parts.

Below are pictures of a cast aluminum bumper from eBay in October 2012. This may be as nice as it gets, having been polished, but still obviously aluminum and not matching chrome overriders.
Aluminum front bumper, cast
Aluminum front bumper, cast Aluminum front bumper, cast Aluminum front bumper, cast

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