Chrome Bumpers vs Plastic Bumpers - Torrens 408

By: Glenn Torrens

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Glenn Torrens once again discovers some old-school car owners are capable of proper old-fool grumpiness

If there's one thing that gives me the shits about this awesome classic car scene we have here in Australia, it’s the narrow-minded attitude of some members of the chrome bumper crowd. Some of them seem to think they have a monopoly on car shows, weekend cruising and the wearing of club-spec historic permit/registration plates.

Well let me tell you, all you grumpy-bumpers fans, the plastic bumpers crowd is growing… it’s gonna take over the world! Bwahahhah ahha!

As they are for many readers of this magazine, the chrome-bumper classics are a big part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my being propped on a booster seat – you know those hugely dangerous ones with the chrome-steel frames? – in the back of my parents’ Grecian White HK Holden Belmont sedan, fascinated by the different shapes and sizes of the 50s and 60s Holdens, Falcons, Beetles and the Pommy stuff such as Austin Freeways and Morris Major Elites that populated Aussie roads in the mid-70s. Later, dad bought a VH Commodore and my first car was a ’74 ‘Jap Crap’ Chrysler Lancer... all chrome-bumpered.

But do I expect someone whose dad drove a Toyota Corona Avante or a Nissan Bluebird TRX Series III or a VL Commodore Berlina or an XF Ford Fairmont Ghia to automatically appreciate chrome-bumper cars? No. Should fans of chrome bumpers think it’s OK to criticise an enthusiasts’ car because it was made to run on unleaded petrol – in the 1980s or 90s?

No.

Yet some people do. Earlier this year, I saw a spirited discussion on a parts company Facebook page.

It asked a question along the lines of: "Do you think plastic bumper cars should be eligible for Historic plates?"

The page almost caught fire!

Plenty of the dozens of responses included pics of ‘their’ classics – 1980s Celicas, VK and VL Commodores and of course XD-XG Falcons, all of which have plastic bumpers.

There were also quite a few snide scribblings from the Chrome Bumper crowd including one from Sue, who wrote: "They’ll eventually ruin it for all of us with legit classic cars!" Belinda, offered: "people are ripping the system off! The Muscle cars are more the classic cars. Not the shit made out of plastic."

Right! Thanks for your opinions, folks. Now go and tell that bloke over there his 1982 5.8-litre XE Ford Fairmont Ghia ESP isn’t worthy of its historic plates or the description of ‘muscle car’. Or that fellow with the Blue Meanie VK SS Group A Commodore with Brocky’s signature on the glovebox…

Another bloke, Jay, wrote: "Nah, keep the rolling [year] rule. With time and natural selection weeding the numbers down nice and low, even what we consider boring shitboxes these days will deserve a place on the permit scheme if they stand the test of time... Not everything on it has to be chrome bumper, rare or expensive. It just has to be loved and appreciated by its owner."

Well written, Jay.

I’ve got two plastic classics – a 1989 VN Holden Calais V8 and a 1990 Mazda MX-5. For me, each represents an awesome period in my life and I bought both to enjoy on H-plates when they’re eligible in NSW. And if any old grumps want to deride me for that, they can get stuffed!

 

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