Journal: Which Classic Car Looks Best Without Its Bumpers?

Which Classic Car Looks Best Without Its Bumpers?

By Michael Banovsky
March 25, 2016

Until bumpers actually did something for safety, they were mostly to protect bodywork against low-speed bumps, scrapes, and potential run-ins with other motorists in the parking lot. Despite how large and elaborate they may seem—especially on ’50s and ’60s American machines—they’re often sturdy enough to tie your shoe on, but are as effective as tin foil as far as stationary objects concerned.

Since they do little (and you won’t hit anything while parking), why not take them off?

Period privateers used to unbolt them before driving to the circuit for a weekend of racing, a low-cost weight-loss regime that promised quicker lap times, better fuel consumption, and lower brake and tire wear—provided your bumpers and other ditchable accessories were heavy.

Though not precisely “tasteful”, I adore the look of early Nascar and stock car racers, with their fearsome, towering fascias revealed once the chrome braces are removed. Rear bumpers taken off of mid-engined cars—especially if it means you can see the engine—are also quite special to behold.

What do you think—which car looks best without its bumpers?

Photography by: Federico Bajetti, Maxim Gurianov, Nat Twiss, Rosario Liberti,


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Filip Matić
Filip Matić(@filip_matic)
3 years ago

Vw Beetle. Without bumpers that thing has a few lines that resemble a porsche 356

Sifu Alex
Sifu Alex(@sifu-alex)
4 years ago

Well Alfa’s of course!

4 years ago

my healey 100 M

4 years ago

All of them!

4 years ago

This one’s purdy without all that extra weight:

comment image

Harry Swincer
Harry Swincer(@haza-waza-34)
5 years ago

Man the Ferrari 250 GTO for sure. Such a gorgeous car

Per Eldh
Per Eldh(@per)
5 years ago

Err.. Neither the 250GTO or the Delta S4 ever had bumpers.

5 years ago

Jaguar XK-120/14. Bumpers on the 120 were especially pointless as they were bolted to the body, as an afterthought. For the 140 they switched to frame mounted, but obscure the “breathe” cooling vents.

Emanuel “Wrestler Bowler Guile” Linton
Emanuel “Wrestler Bowler Guile” Linton(@emanuellinton97)
5 years ago

I wish Petro had with-bumper photos to compare non-bumper photos.

Barney Hylton
Barney Hylton(@barney42)
5 years ago

Your wish almost answered with the impact bumper article just posted.

Ollie Streek
Ollie Streek(@olliestreek)
5 years ago

Aston Martin DB4

4 years ago
Reply to  Ollie Streek

exactly my thought!

Colby Shenkle (Leggera Creative)
Colby Shenkle (Leggera Creative)(@leggeracreative)
5 years ago

certainly the BMW 2002, as mentioned. Also, the BMW e28. Really, anything that had bumpers which, due to colonial laws, has to be increased & thus ruin the entire car.

Steve Goudy
Steve Goudy(@steve-73)
5 years ago

The later Fiat 124 Spiders with the large double tube bumpers.

Sean Fandam
Sean Fandam(@fandam)
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve Goudy

Fiat 124 Coupe too. Much prettier without.

Barney Hylton
Barney Hylton(@barney42)
5 years ago

Plus Elan +2 and Ford Cortina GT. Set pictured below.

Barney Hylton
Barney Hylton(@barney42)
5 years ago

To add a few… Giulia Super, TR4, Fulvia Sport Zagato and Fulvia Coupe.

5 years ago

Agree with Harold, the Porsche 356, much cleaner!

Gas Project
Gas Project(@gasproject)
5 years ago

Lancia Fulvia. Goes from pretty coupe to proper rally car in a handful of bolts.

Harold Singh
Harold Singh(@n2pwrsche)
5 years ago

Porsche 356! They should all be bunperless! Such a nice smooth shape with out bumpers!

Doug Escriva
Doug Escriva(@dougie)
5 years ago

No question, the Austin Healey 100-S.

Fernando Souto
Fernando Souto(@brklynfbm)
5 years ago

Well, that’s easy…67 Giulia.

Nick Ayrton
Nick Ayrton(@nschots)
5 years ago

The 275 GTB Short Nose, by far.

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt(@jrl1194)
5 years ago

I guess all of them!

Pascal Bruyland
Pascal Bruyland(@pascal124)
5 years ago

MG Midget !

5 years ago

Where is the Aston Martin DB4 GTZ ? <3

5 years ago

The easiest question ever…pretty much all of them.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago
Reply to  Derelict

Agreed ! The better question being ;

Which classic doesn’t look better sans bumpers ?

Answer ? None I can think of !

5 years ago
Reply to  Derelict

Unfortunately, my 1966 Volvo 122s looks horrible without bumpers as they were integrated into the design along with the sheet metal.

Victor Siret
Victor Siret(@xtremedude13)
5 years ago
Reply to  Derelict

I would say old british roadsters look nicer with bumpers, TR4, Spitfire and the like.

Pretty much any old car with classic chrome bumpers looks more refined with them, even an E-Type, unless it’s a lightweight replica with a racing look.