Home » This Muscle Car Has The Daintiest Bumper Guards I’ve Ever Seen: Cold Start

This Muscle Car Has The Daintiest Bumper Guards I’ve Ever Seen: Cold Start

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We don’t normally associate words like “delicate” or “dainty” with big-ass late ’60s muscle(ish) cars, but if there’s a better adjective to describe those wonderful and tiny little bumper guards perched on that bumper of that 1969 Plymouth Satellite there, then I’ve yet to hear it. Also, what exactly are those minuscule bumper guards expected to do, exactly? Protect precisely four square inches of chrome in the event of a collision? Snap off almost immediately upon impact? Become a daschund’s chew toy, post-wreck?

Let’s look at these li’l fellas a bit closer:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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They’re not just tiny, they’re also positioned strangely. Why are they so high, and why do they angle back so much? Why is that rubber facing so stingy and thin? What are they helping, exactly? Making it momentarily harder for pigeons to fly into the grille?

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They’re no better at the rear, where they seem to be best suited to keeping rain off the reverse lamps. And these are real, not some odd affectation for the brochure. Look, here’s some in the wild!

This is all especially strange because just a couple years later, the Satellite received some of the beefiest, most useful bumper guards ever:

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Look at those things! Look at all that delicious, dark, thick dense rubber! Those bad meaux-fauxs can really absorb some impacts! Those bastards will guard the everloving crap out of a bumper!

 

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Maybe those petite bumper guards are useless and a bit silly, but there’s something charming about them, especially paired with a brute like the Satellite, where they could be guarding a huge 427 cubic inch V8 under that hood.

I think the contrast just works.

 

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Robert Swartz
Robert Swartz
1 month ago

426, not 427, I think!

Gabor Molnar
Gabor Molnar
1 month ago
Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago

Had the 73 Road Runner. With the bumper guards and can attest that they were helpful at times.

Also had a 69 RR and 69 Super Bee without the guards, thank God.

Last edited 1 month ago by Col Lingus
JDE
JDE
1 month ago

well, back then, when clutches were still a thing, these gave a small amount of rubberized surface to mate a rear bumper to a front bumper to Facilitate a bump start without scratching the ever so important Chrome.

JDE
JDE
1 month ago
Reply to  JDE

Also they were the precursor to the 5 MPH bumper and often an afterthought required by the Naders of the world looking for an excuse for themselves to have a job.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 month ago

Were they perhaps already expecting these new bumper regulations, did they see these regulations looming in the future? So maybe they were trying to see what they could get away with in terms of minimally meeting regulations? During a slightly regrettable teenage phase of reading Hunter S. Thompson’s oeuvre (at least I didn’t do that with Ayn Rand, ha) I read his book about the Hell’s Angels; he mentioned how many Hell’s Angels would get around laws requiring side-view mirrors on their motorcycles by installing dentist’s mouth mirrors which did technically meet such laws (yeah, as noted in Futurama, “technically correct is the best kind of correct.”)

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

Maybe these were the OG splitter guards.

DysLexus
DysLexus
1 month ago

Oh come on guys!?! Those aren’t some prehistoric bumper guards at all. They are bumper “handles”.

They are to help mechanics pull themselves up from under that massive engine bay AND cradle their feet against when climbing into the engine compartment.
Oil changes were practically Olympic events back in the day.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 month ago

The perky little ‘69 guards were a little shy, but then someone made a joke about ‘69’ and they got a bit excited.

Either that or it was a bit chilly back then, and thanks to global warming things had warmed up by the mid 70s?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago

“The water was cold. And shrinkage is a thing.” George Costanza.

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
1 month ago

The designer REALLY didn’t want bumper guards on his creation, but the boss insisted. So the car got the smallest, least visible bumper guards possible while still fulfilling the boss’s wishes.

Then that designer left, and the boss insisted on the biggest, ugliest meaux-feauxing bumper guards imaginable just for petty revenge.

It’s a beautiful story of malicious compliance and petty revenge.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
1 month ago

I feel like I just watched a lost episode of “The Office”

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
1 month ago

Those bumper guards were nothing compared to the “rubber baby buggy bumpers” that ruined the aesthetic looks of A LOT of cars back in the 70s.
The Malaise Era was in full swing at that time!

W124
W124
1 month ago

Of course it is possible that a Satellite might have had big block Chevy power under its hood, but I guess you were supposed to write “huge 426 cubic inches V8” instead of 427. Although 426 aka Hemi wasn’t even the biggest engine available, there was of course also the 440 ci big block.

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
1 month ago
Reply to  W124

427 could also be Ford!

And the biggest here would be the 383 hipo in the satellite sport- the 440 and 426 were reserved for the roadrunner/gtx

W124
W124
1 month ago

You’re actually right. Even though those were basically pretty much same car, with the name “Satellite” the 383 seems to be the biggest option now when I checked. I stand corrected.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago
Reply to  W124

By 73 the 383 had morphed into a 400 ci. Same block as the 383, but nowhere near as fun as they were a few years earlier. The famous rumble at idle had been silenced forever.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago

I don’t have an answer to the bumpers, but I do have questions about the guy holding the Chuck Taylor in the bottom pic.

Is he bashful about being in the photo because he’s the one who put a dead body in the trunk and knows that his work is only 1/5th done, with 4 more shoes to collect? Is hiding a “Jane Fonda Is Right” tattoo underneath that very wide-necked sweater? How is it possible he’s bald on only 20% of his head? Why is his neck so itchy?

OnlyFlans
OnlyFlans
1 month ago

It’s not the size, it’s how you use ’em.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
1 month ago

Kinda like the automotive version of Tyrannosaurus rex arms.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

Remember that in the 60’s/70s – bumper guards were a factory accessory that your friendly local dealer would gladly sell you and bolt onto your new car to protect your big beautiful new chrome bumpers.

Why we can’t get anything better than cheap black aftermarket stick-on strips, clear paint protection wraps and the occasional trunk/hatchback ledge thing to protect our big painted un-bumpers 40 years later is beyond me.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

The big rubber blocks, meanwhile, were legally required to meet new impact standards that took effect in 1973 in the front and 1974 in the rear.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

Yeah, ’73 was a transitional bumper year for most cars. My ’73 BMW Bavaria had similarly chonky bumper guards, and the bumpers were mounted further away from the body than in ’72, but they were still the smaller chrome bumpers, whereas the ’74 switched to the diving board aluminum and rubber numbers. Most American-made ’74s just got more massive chrome bumpers to meet the new regs.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

No – Big rubber blocks were not mandatory. Look up any post-1973 US Spec Volvo or BMW.
Even rubber on the bumpers was not mandatory.
Example: Google image search for 1973 Galaxie – or 1974 Chrysler Newport or Dodge Monaco.
You’ll find several examples with no rubber or bumper guards at all.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago

These are just 60’s Dagmars. By then, they were mere Twiggys.

AlterId
AlterId
1 month ago

Damn you! That was going to be my line.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

Dear Jason,

Thanks to you, I now have to clean up the coffee that shot out my nose AND a new euphemism to add to my lexicon. Meaux-fauxs shall live forever rent-free in my head.

Many thanks,

Stillnotatony

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

Thanks to the other day’s piece about small accidents, I find it extra humorous to view these now in 2024, where our vehicles have expensive painted complex body paneling to protect the bumpers. Meanwhile, in those days, bumpers were giant pieces of metal, but designers thought “no, they need more metal!”

I feel we need a reference to martinis at lunch and the Apollo landing here now…

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago

The ‘69 bumper guards are the vestigial, evolutionary characteristics of the great chrome-toothed beasts of the 50s and early 60s. Kind of like hip bones in whales or tonsils in humans. A new ICE age in the 70s would see the return of massive protective bumpers as cars got slower and heavier necessitating the development of better defensive attributes.

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