View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR2/3 bumper vs TR3A bumper (front)

07-15-2009, 08:16 AM
I seem to be asking more questions then I am answering these days, but I promise to make it up to you in the morning.

In my hunt to figure out why my starter handle hits my bumper I am wondering if I have the wrong front bumper bar. Is there a way to tell which one I have? I bought it in 1988 but back then I did not know that my registration had the wrong year for my car (the registrations said 1957 but the Comm. Number would indicate it is a 1959) so that may have lead to the wrong bumper bar.

If anyone knows the differences and if they are easy to describe or if there is some quick way to tell which one I have I would be most in your debt.


07-15-2009, 09:08 AM
If you had the wrong one, you wouldn't be able to get it on the car at all. The difference is in the position of the mounting holes in the bumper.

I can't describe all the detail -- it's been a long time since I looked that closely at a small mouth -- but the bumper and it's mountings change at the same time that the small mouth 3 becomes the wide mouth 3A.

07-15-2009, 09:12 AM
Thanks Moseso. That means my bumper has too much curve perhaps. At the centre the bumper is 1.5 inches away from the apron and at the mounting points it is .75 inches away from the apron. I am running out of possible answers as to why my starter handle hits the bumper.

Andrew Mace
07-15-2009, 12:02 PM
Essentially, the early (pre-TR3A) bumpers were more or less flat-faced and mounted on brackets that came up from under the front apron. The TR3A bumper, in profile, is more rounded (sort of pot-bellied shape in profile if you will), and it mounts to brackets whose bolts go THROUGH the wide-mouth apron to support brackets behind.

07-15-2009, 12:31 PM
No doubt I hve the TR3A bumper then. I is pot bellied and the over rider has a sharp andgle in the cut out.

This leave me with trying to figure out if it has too much curve or if somehow my apron is too far forward. Though the fact that the fat part of the starter handle is right inside the support, that is mounted to the apron makesme think the apron is in the right place.

How things (projects) expand. This all started with me wanting to replace front suspension bushngs and rebuild the carbs, now the appron is off the rad is out and I am looking at painting the engine bay and engine plus, plus plus.... :smile:

07-15-2009, 12:37 PM
I can't remember how much you said the interference between bumper and crank was -- but there ARE slots in the bumper supports where they bolt to the frame, allowing some fore/aft adjustment. They are not real long, but maybe enough? Have you looked there?

07-15-2009, 12:50 PM
There have been reproduction bumpers on the market that really weren't very good copies; perhaps you have one of those?

The line of the bumper should follow the car pretty close; with only about 3/8" - 1/2" gap. I'd say that 1.5" is your problem; and that you have both a bumper that is out of shape, and adjusted too far forward.

07-15-2009, 02:14 PM
I think Randal has it right. Given that I have a 3/4inch difference in te spce between the car and the bumber over the length of the bumper. I think my brackets were all the way back.

To answer Moseso's question, my overlap is in the area of 3/4 inch tomaybe even an inch.

If you go to my web site you can see from the car pictures how much curve thee is on the bumper. It was bought from RTF in 1988 but a body shop installed it and I have no way of nowing if they "tweeked" it or not.

07-15-2009, 02:26 PM
I'll bet that also explains the missing prop rods, between the overriders and the inner wings (through the openings in the grille). The rods have only a little room for adjustment.

07-15-2009, 02:28 PM
Hmm, 1988 would have been just about when I bought my front bumper. It had been returned (to a major vendor, not TRF) for being such a poor copy, so I got it cheap.

07-15-2009, 02:58 PM
I'll bet that also explains the missing prop rods, between the overriders and the inner wings (through the openings in the grille). The rods have only a little room for adjustment.

And I am hopingto get the prop rods and install them when I reassemble the car this time. It will be fun.

Don Elliott
07-15-2009, 06:55 PM
Here is how to tell if the bumper on your TR3A is original or not. Here is mine. It's the original one. The ends are rounded and curve back toward the fender.

Don Elliott
07-15-2009, 06:58 PM
Because the repro bumpers were not made on the same presses, the end flares outwardly like wings instead of curving back. I've also seen some repro bumpers which have welding on the back-side in these curves.

07-15-2009, 07:54 PM
The bumperless look is IN.

07-15-2009, 08:03 PM
Because the repro bumpers were not made on the same presses, the end flares outwardly like wings instead of curving back. I've also seen some repro bumpers which have welding on the back-side in these curves.

Very helpful visual reference, Don. Definitely going to file this tip away to help in future part hunts.

07-15-2009, 10:00 PM
Very useful picture Don, thanks. would you happen to have the same shot but of the middle section of the bumper. I want to get an idea if mine is curved too much.

Don Elliott
07-16-2009, 06:51 AM
Adrio - I restored my 1958 TR3A from 1987 to 1990. The body was finished and painted by the end of 1989. Then I sent all the parts for chroming to the local chrome shop owned and run by a bunch of Harley guys. I cut a piece of of plywood (I still have it somewhere if you want it) of the profile of the front of my TR and gave this profile "gauge" to the chrome shop along with the bumper. They straightened the bumper (front end smash in 1963 Echo Rally had deformed it) to conform to this profile about 1/2" ahead of the bodywork and then they triple plated it. When I got it back I mounted it and across the center of the TR there is a gap of about 1/2" when you stand above the bumper and look straight down. Here is a photo from the Ottawa show where we met in 2005.

Don Elliott
07-16-2009, 06:58 AM
Here's how it had looked after the 2:00 AM smash on the Rouge River Road north of Hawkesbury in 1963. After this, I had the valance bodywork corrected and I used a 5 pound hammer to "straighten" the bumper till it was re-straightened correctly according to my profile gauge and re-chromed in 1990. YES FOLKS, - the same valance and bumper.

Don Elliott
07-16-2009, 07:09 AM
A bumper fabricator in Vietnam is making new bumpers for the TR3A. It's owned and run by some Brits over there. They are made of stainless steel and the guys in England have reported that they are extremely satisfied by the workmanship and the polished shine of the stainless. However I believe they are painted black on the back-side. This might be removed or sprayed silver to "look" correct.

From photos I saw of these new bumpers, I seem to re-call that the ends of the bumpers are rounded correctly as in my photos above.

They also do bumperettes.


07-16-2009, 10:24 AM
I have one of those Vietnamese bumpers on my car.
Fit of the front bumper: Excellent
Fit of the rear "bumpers": Had to re-work the keyhole slots in 'em to get 'em over the bolts on the car.
I think they're lighter gauge than the originals, making them even more fragile. Of course the originals didn't "protect" much either...

07-16-2009, 10:11 PM

Thanks for that picture from Ottawa. From that it looks like my bumper has too much curve. For sure it is not parallel to the apron profile. Do you remember if the straitening you had done would have damaged the chrome on a slightly over arched bumper like mine.

I notice in your before picture that your grill was curved inwards. Mine was like that before my front end accident on my honeymoon in 1988 (my car was parked and the wife of the local paper editor in the small town I was having lunch in miscalculated her parallel park). Did they all look like that from the factory?? I have always wondered if my apron was deformed or if I was wrong in asking the body shop to "fix" it so that the new grill would be flat.

Don Elliott
07-17-2009, 06:37 AM
Adrio - You are right. This was 1963. The grille was pushed in after the accident. About 6 inches. The valance too. I was coming over a rise on this gravel road at speed and the headlights were aimed up into the trees. I went over the top and then the lights came down again to illuminate the road. It had gone - the road turned to the right. I drove straight into a fencepost and it was only the tightness of the wire fence that kept me from going down about 20 feet into the raging white waters of the rapids in the white water rafting Rouge River. That photo was taken at the finish where everyone was having breakfast. My brother was there and he took the photo. That's his new green 1963 Volvo 544 which he had just bought at Carling Motors.

After that, the grille opening was too small to fit a new one, so for years I had no grille. When I did my restoration, I bought a new grille and used a small hyrdaulic jack and pieces of wood to push up the opening till the new grille fit perfectly. After the car was painted, I was easily able to fit the new grille into the opening so it was flat. It's been flat since 1990 as you see in the 2005 photo.

Here's the repair we did to get the grille opening correct. The grille on my 1958 TR3A was flat when I bought the car new.

Don Elliott
07-17-2009, 06:39 AM
And here is a top view.

07-17-2009, 09:34 AM
Don, thanks for the top view photo. That shows me my bumper is too curved and too far out both. I will have to do something when I am reassembling my car. iam sure it will not be fun to solve but I want the starter handle to work.