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MG MGA - Re-Chrome or replace?

Guy's. I am trying to decide on re-chroming the bumpers and overriders or just replacing them. Itís obvious the originals are a much heavier and better quality piece, but is the re-chroming cost worth it?
Bill Robinson

I've been looking into this seriously recently. It will cost about $1700 - $1800 to rechrome (triple plate) both the front and rear bumpers, including the overriders. Whether it is worth it is entirely up to the individual and will largely depend on how the car is to be driven and/or shown.

Right now, I'm looking for a good front bumper set so that I have the option.

Steve Brandt

Re-chrome the original parts and use the best plating shop you can find. I use Paul's Chrome Plating in Evans City, PA ( Their work is excellent. IMHO, there is a big difference between a high-quality re-chroming of an original part and the chrome plating that comes on a repro part. To me it is well worth the price.
Frank Nocera

I could not afford to get my originals re chromed , went with vic/brit re pros . Most in our club have aftermarket , but I was very tempted to use a Sebring nose and no rear bumper with some cool chrome nuts/caps for the bolt ends . .

I replaced our rear bumper 11 years ago with a new one from Moss. I have no complaints so far, but you never know when they may change suppliers.
John H

If you want a show car and are not going to drive it, have the originals replated at a quality platers. If you on the other hand are going to drive your car, the repro bumpers are a good choice. If they get a ding or two over time, or start to rust after a few years, just replace them again. I drive my MGA as much as I can, and don't worry about getting rock chips in the paint or dings in the chrome. That would take the fun out of driving these cars.

Ed Bell

How can you tell if they are original or not, unless you have had the car from new?
Are they marked in any way?
Nigel Munford

Good point Nigel,

I know the repros in the '80s were a different shape, but can you see any difference between the current Moss parts and originals?

I have both original and repro overiders and I cannot really see the difference.

Neil McGurk

Apparently the repros have a more angular moulding in their cross section than the original which have a smoother curve on the cross section. I have a repro fitted at the moment ( cost me £40 at a show 2 years ago and not showing signs of rust yet - but I do spray on waxoyl in the winter) whilst I decide whether to re chrome the original (will cost about £100)- it is quite difficult to spot the difference at a casual glance even when both are side by side - cheers Cam
Cam Cunningham

My experience may be different from others. I bought my repro bumpers and over-riders from 3 different suppliers MANY years. They have been on my car for 7 years now with summer liesure driving only. It is stored during the winter.

The front bumper came from Warshawsky & Co.( the sister company to JC Whitney 25 years ago) The rear bumper came from Start Your engines (eventually became part of Moss) the overriders came from Scarborough Faire. As you might expect, to get things to fit, a grinder was put into service. Edges only were ground to fit. The overriders were ground to match the profile of their respective bumpers. The front bumper end pieces were ground to match the indent of the center piece. The back side of all were painted with silver spray paint.

So far, knock on wood, everything is holding up very well. Many have commented favorably on the shape of the front bumper. From my experience, you can buy many new bumpers for the cost of re-chroming.

Chuck Schaefer

Well, I acquired, with my cars, both a rusted original and some older worn reproductions. There is clearly a distictive difference between the two. The original is a much heavy metal, with clear distinctive profile lines. it has a much heavier appearence. The Reproduction one is much thinner with rounder line and more of a tin like metal. I would clearly perfer the original one replated. However, for 100 bucks I can get the new one. I am trying to figure if the old one is worth plating.
Bill Robinson

Are you keeping the car?
Do you care how it looks?
Do you want to have to rechrome a few years after you buy new?

Rechrome the originals - you'll be much happier.
Bill Spohn

On both my A's I have repos as my origional bumpers were in terrible shape and basically not reparible. It took me four orders to get two good bumpers. On my TF I had to have the origional repaired as the repos I ordered did not come close to matching the profile of the car on the rear bumper and quality was bad. The same for the Healey I am doing now. If your origional bumpers are reparible I have found that it will cost you approximately 3 times the new price to get them repaired but the quality is better. Have a good day!

John Progess

I don't know if it can be checked but if, as I suspect, the same press tools were in use for 100,000+ cars then the later original bumpers are likely to be a different profile from the early original ones.

Malcolm Asquith

Interesting Thread. I guess in reality, we are discussing two issues: The first is how much money do you want to spend on your car and the second is what is the value to you of the resultant appearance where the bumpers are part of that statement? To me, it boils down to two extremes with many of us falling in between. One end of the extreme is as long as their car looks like an MGA, it doesn't matter what it has for an engine,seats & etc. or if some of the parts were made in China. On the other extreme, the car must be totally BMC where the most obscure part is sought out as long as it is original and can be restored or better yet NOS. If any of you are long time British car owners (25 years plus), you will understand the true market of these cars. As the MGA continues to increase in popularity so does the value and the importance of provenance. Look at the cars currently up the food chain: The A/H 3000 and Jaguar Series I. For the cars bringing the real money, repro bumpers are not even a topic. The MGA is heading in the same direction. The MGA's that have closed the gap considerably are all on the other end of the extreme in quality. The day will come (soon) when the market value range of our cars will be three times the present median value. We're already at two The Healey is almost a four (a bit over priced at the moment) with the Jag presently stalled at four times median value. Take Bill Spohn's advise and invest in the original bumper.
Don Tremblay

I was hoping someone would mention Scarbofaire. They have their own dies and are suposed to make a duplicate that matches the original curves. It is cheaper from them but I had mine rechromed as they are original and stronger.

Don makes a good point about value and future value. I would recommend that if you have the original bumpers and decide to go the aftermarket route for present cost considerations, by all means, keep the originals stored away. you never know when you will need them.

My experience with rechroming is mixed. I used a very good house for the windshield and bits. But I still had some problems with a couple of pieces being prepped poorly and missing plating. If you have a lot of parts re-plated, be prepared to have some of them done over a second time and maybe even a third.

Either way you go, as Rosanne Rosanna Danna once said, "If it's not one thing, it's another!"

Oh, by the way, does anybody else remember the aluminum aftermarket front bumpers from the 1970's? Now there is a strange bird! I have seen a couple of them and they stand out like a sore thumb. Just don't look right at all.

Chuck Schaefer

The alumimum front bumpers from the 70's are from JC Whitney and are very thick. I wonder how they would look polished.

Jeff, Right you are. I would swear that the thicker alloy bumpers were stronger than OEM bumpers. At least they looked that way!

Polished alum up still has a white, shallow shine IMHO.

The 70's (+80's) were a bad time for British car parts here in the US. If you went to a dealer, the parts would take several weeks to get shipped from England. They stocked very little here in the US. After the demise of the MG in the US in 1980, parts were near impossible to get anywhere. The MGA was just an old British car. No value and No parts availability. It's amazing that JC Whitney would even tooled something like that back then no matter how different from stock it was. I think that I paid about $75 in the early 80's for my front bumper (steel and chrome) from them. Now you can get just about anything for the MGA from many vendors. How lucky we are!
Chuck Schaefer

It isn't just an originality thing - I'd be the first to jump at an after narket part if it was superior to the OEM bit.

In most cases - and nowhere as much as in bumpers - the after market parts are cheap and shoddy.

I have had brand new bumpers rust sitting in sealed bags on the shelf. The quality of chroming is so bad that you may as well save yourself the grief of fitting and then refitting. I know this sounds over the top, but I have taken brand new Moss (and the others get theirs from the same sources) chrome and sent it straight off to the plating shop to be stripped and replated.

I have asked Moss to supply a premium set of bumpers, plated to the same standard as OEM, and their answer is that no one will pay $400 for a bumper that will last forever when the competition is selling the $100 version that flakes if you look at is sideways. Yes, it is crap, but it is also cheap, and the hobbyist has themselves to blame if Moss is right, and people won't pay for premium parts.

I suspect that there is an element of salesmanship there too. How could Moss (or anyone) continue to sell the regular quality (=crap) chrome if they also carried a premium line - wouldn't it be tantamount to admitting that the basic product was shoddy?

Anyway, if you are keeping the car, have original parts refurbished. Take them to a plating shop that deals with the local bikers - they get fewer come backs :-)
Bill Spohn

I don't have the time at the moment, but will someone call Scarbofaire and talk to Cecelia about her chrome. She is always claiming she has the best product. It would be interesting to see what she has to say.

This discussion has made me re-think my bumpers. I have the originals, which are pretty beat up, and also new replacement front bumper that is still in box from previous owner. I had some old bent up bumpers re-chromed for a Volvo PV544 at a chrome shop in Spokane, WA several years ago, and they came back smooth and shiney and they still look perfect. I guess I will do the same for the MGA.

This thread was discussed between 23/05/2007 and 25/05/2007

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