Author Topic: 56 Front Bumper Replacement  (Read 167 times)

Offline stzomah

  • Posts: 75
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30309
  • Name: Wayne Elder
56 Front Bumper Replacement
« on: August 29, 2017, 11:05:14 AM »
I had a re-chrome job done back in 1980.  I totally disassembled all chromed metal on the car and took it to a local (Millville NJ) plater.  Everything was in really good shape (no heavy rusting).  The place did a pretty poor job on the plating but it stopped it from more rusting and it was sort of shiny?

Jump 27 years later…  I am surfing Ebay as I normally do and up comes this awesome 56 front bumper.  A plater in CA had it offered at a great price and was willing to ship it across the country to me in Jersey!  I know It was a risk but after speaking with him on the phone for a ½ hour, I liked the guy…WTH  I bought it.  It arrived a week later.

WOW… my first impression was how he wrapped it for shipping.  He put a 2X4 into the bottom section and wrapped it with bubble and then wrapped in shrink wrap!  The bumper ends came in a heavy cardboard box that accompanied the wide bottom section.  But when I got to un-wrap everything…That was the real excitement.  The bumper was in pristine condition and was chromed immaculately!  What a deal it was!  I felt great.

It sat in my garage about a year till last weekend.  I just finished rebuilding the rear and leaf springs (other blog) and had a few days free.

I rolled the front end up on ramps to get better access.  I took pictures to show when I possibly sell the original bumper.  I also took many pictures prior to disassembly.  That is very useful when I get amnesia during the assembly process!  I may have inhaled too much undercoating the previous weekend?

I enlisted my wife to help me remove the last 2 bolts holding it on the car.  It has to come out a half inch, then down to clear the fender chrome pieces on the sides.  She did great considering this thing weighs a 100 pounds or more.

I used an air ratchet to disassemble the bumper on the ground outside.  I set up a long folding table with a furniture blanket to protect my new bumper in the garage.  I systematically removed each bolt then moved to the folding table and set up the assembly using the new bumper parts.  I only needed to reuse the bumper end top moldings from my original bumper.  My nifty purchase somehow did not include them :-\.  Mine were in good shape.  I taped and sprayed the backs with Rustoleum to prevent continued oxidation.

I took a wire brush to a few steel parts and shot them with flat black Rustoleum.  Parts like the main support brackets and the small grill hold downs we brushed and sprayed.  I remember taking the grille apart as a 20 year old back in 1980.  I did not want to do that again!  I just cleaned it up and reset some of the slats.

Aligning the bumper parts was a little tricky.  I have seen other 56 bumpers that just do not look right.  The center bar is not correctly aligned and droops down.  I was sure to assemble and tighten specific bolts to make things align.  I had to loosen and repeat a few times.  That center bracket has a slot in the top.  I used some wood blocks to spread the cross bar from the bumper bottom to get the proper uniform alignment.  I used a tape measure to ensure it was spaced correctly across the entire width.

Once I got this thing together on the table, I stood back and looked at it.  What a piece of automotive jewelry!  It is just totally stunning!  I just had an eyeful of Cadillac history at the recent GN show.  50’s Cadillac’s have the most ornate massive chromed front bumpers in history.  Harley Earl was a true genius.  The design is both one of aviation engineering and bit sexual.  I have heard them called the May West bumper!

I asked both my wife and daughter to help put it back on the car!  It was easy once I got the inner fender sheet metal going the right way!  All that was left to do was a use little window cleaner for the finger prints!

Anyone interested in a used 56 bumper in good shape?  Needs chrome job.
1956 Series 62 Coupe
owned since 1975

Offline Daddio

  • Posts: 39
  • Name: Mike Atkins
Re: 56 Front Bumper Replacement
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 09:49:05 AM »
I love those dagmars!! 
It's good advise for anyone who's thinking of rechroming their bumpers, to take LOTS of pictures before / during tear down. 
I thought I had when I did mine years ago. But when I got them back weeks later,  I couldn't believe how many different ways they could go back together.
Now for your rear bumper!! Good luck.

1959 Eldorado Biarritz
1956 Thunderbird


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