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how do you feel about big bumpers?

  • I like them

    Votes: 5 16.1%
  • I dislike them

    Votes: 20 64.5%
  • I don't care

    Votes: 6 19.4%
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Premium Member
1976 450SL, 1992 190e 2.3, 1984 300D turbo, 1966 VW bus
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392 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Big USA bumpers are common complaints on these cars. I was in this camp and really used to hate them.

I planned to install Euro bumpers but after owning my car for a few months, the fat ones have grown on me.
Dare I say, I may even sort of like them?
2696228



I think it adds to the battering ram, Panzerwagen effect.
Should a modern car attempt to rear end me, it seems as if their car would shatter into a pile of plastic shrapnel. Like an egg

Thoughts?
 

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1980 450 SL
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92 Posts
I know it's not a popular consenses but for some reason I like the large big bumpers better than the Euro. I do dislike the American seal beam headlights. No accounting for taste! I also like wire wheels on a R107 also not popular.
 

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1974 450SL (always needs something!) new djet engine 1991; 1961 Besasie X-3 (being restored)
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1,426 Posts
Big USA bumpers are common complaints on these cars. I was in this camp and really used to hate them.

I planned to install Euro bumpers but after owning my car for a few months, the fat ones have grown on me.
Dare I say, I may even sort of like them?
View attachment 2696228


I think it adds to the battering ram, Panzerwagen effect.
Should a modern car attempt to rear end me, it seems as if their car would shatter into a pile of plastic shrapnel. Like an egg

Thoughts?
last October, I was waiting for oncoming traffic so I could make a left turn. A woman in an HHR behind me going around 55, used my 74 450SL (US bumpers) for brakes. The back of my car was pushed in about halfway to the top well. My car was still driveable and everything worked except the trunk lid, but the unit body was bent. I had no injury. The front of her HHR was pushed at least halfway--if not more--to the firewall. Her airbag went off, and she wasn't injured. The only skid marks were from my car being pushed forward. Anyway, the point is that the US bumper did its job--I think, but the real protection was from the construction of my 107.
PS__I still want to put a Euro bumper on the front.
 

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1987 300SL
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1,079 Posts
If you own a US 107 you accept it is what it is. You bought the car because something really attracted you to them, and lord knows everything we are attracted to has its warts
I'm the same with the 107 SLC, haven't ever quite gelled with them, but after reading others opinions of them, and seeing some really nice examples at a recent meet up, I'm starting to accept them as a nice car. But US bumpers and headlights on a 107, if it was the only version I could have I'd not own one. Every time I see one side on I can't help but feel they destroy the classic lines of the 107 SL. They are handy for sitting on though
 

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Premium Member
74 450SL "Morgana" 73 280SE "Brutus"
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1,149 Posts
Was chatting with a friend about this other day.

I only knew the US big bumpers growing up. Frankly it wasn’t until this board that I even new about the other size bumpers.

Steelies vs Bundts as well with my model.

I grew up with my Mom’s R107 with wire wheels and pinstripes. Loved that car and hence why I now own a R107.
 

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1986 560 SL
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7,645 Posts
The big bumpers look much better when you tuck them in. But that defeats their only virtue.
 

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1981 380SL
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589 Posts
After lusting for, acquiring, and installing “Euro” bunmpers on my 380, I have to say I do like US bumpers. I miss mine, in fact. If I could go back in time I would probably leave it be. The slim bumpers are much cleaner, but there’s something really cool and mean looking about those big US bumpers. Reminds me of a bulldog’s underbite!

My favorite look is an extreme tuck of the US bumpers. The kind where the front stainless steel bumper trim is touching the body, and the rear bumpers are nestled underneath the tail lights. I initially went this route, but could not cut, glue, shape, and paint the front rubber bumper ends to my satisfaction. The rears turned out great, however, but it all ended up in storage in the end.

2696275
 

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1973 450 sl
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149 Posts
I know it's not a popular consenses but for some reason I like the large big bumpers better than the Euro. I do dislike the American seal beam headlights. No accounting for taste! I also like wire wheels on a R107 also not popular.
Like this?
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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8,051 Posts
Me too. I like the Bumper Tuck look that I did it on both my 380SL and my 560SL.
 

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1988 560SL Currently, 1972 350SL (RIP)
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403 Posts
I don’t hate the US bumpers but I agree the Euro slim ones compliment the cars lines much better and just make the car sleek, I will be doing the conversion at some point. The headlights don’t bother me at all, I actually kind of like the US headlights and as for the wheels... I’m all about the gullideckels on 560s and bundts on all the others.
 

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Premium Member
1988 560SL, TRQ
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90 Posts
Big USA bumpers are common complaints on these cars. I was in this camp and really used to hate them.

I planned to install Euro bumpers but after owning my car for a few months, the fat ones have grown on me.
Dare I say, I may even sort of like them?
View attachment 2696228


I think it adds to the battering ram, Panzerwagen effect.
Should a modern car attempt to rear end me, it seems as if their car would shatter into a pile of plastic shrapnel. Like an egg

Thoughts?
I need a place like that for my champagne glass.
 

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1989 560SL; 2014 E350
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1,586 Posts
Never thought about the bumpers when I purchased the car 10 years ago. It was several years after and another thread on this issue, and when I realized there was a choice, I felt very comfortable with the 560 bumpers that I have. There are a couple of other things that I might consider changing, but I'm a bit of a purist so I have no serious ambitions about changing things.
 
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1985 280SL (Euro)
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385 Posts
Bear in mind that the 107 was designed with Euro bumpers. It was only some safety nut with a bug up his/her arse in the US that bastardised both the bumpers and, for good measure, Americanised the headlights. Perhaps the park bench bumpers do add something to safety margins, but as RCMonte3 said, it was the construction of the car itself that really saved the day. Consider also that shock absorbing bumpers were designed more to protect against minor bumps and nudges than real collisions. Although I think the big bumpers do detract from the appearnce of the car they can't altogether ruin it
 

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1987 560SL (L.Tonk) [92,700 miles]
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522 Posts
The 5mph bumpers were legislated to reduce the cost of repairs in minor accidents, primarily benefitting insurance companies (who probably lobbied for it) so not really safety related.

Here’s an interesting editorial from 1975 with a very recognizable lead photo!

 

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1980 450 SL
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92 Posts
I remember back in the 70's there was one car that was totaled by something like 5 or 10 mph bump. It helped fuel the legislation. I was thinking it was the Yugo but that would have been in the 80's
 

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1980 450 SL
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92 Posts
After lusting for, acquiring, and installing “Euro” bunmpers on my 380, I have to say I do like US bumpers. I miss mine, in fact. If I could go back in time I would probably leave it be. The slim bumpers are much cleaner, but there’s something really cool and mean looking about those big US bumpers. Reminds me of a bulldog’s underbite!

My favorite look is an extreme tuck of the US bumpers. The kind where the front stainless steel bumper trim is touching the body, and the rear bumpers are nestled underneath the tail lights. I initially went this route, but could not cut, glue, shape, and paint the front rubber bumper ends to my satisfaction. The rears turned out great, however, but it all ended up in storage in the end.

View attachment 2696275
Yes I think the tuck looks really nice! Eliminates the open space at the back bumper so they don't quite stick out so far. Did you do the modification?
 

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1981 380SL
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589 Posts
Yes I think the tuck looks really nice! Eliminates the open space at the back bumper so they don't quite stick out so far. Did you do the modification?
Thanks! Yes, I did the mod. Getting the bumper flush with the car is easy enough. Collapse the bumper shocks, drive a bolt through the shocks to immobilize them, and cut the trim. The hard part is shortening the rubber bumper sides. Takes a lot of patience, elbow grease, experimentation, and a keen eye. There are several good threads here documenting other users bumper tucking adventures.
 
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