Replacement bumpers vs re-chrome

Haven’t seen this topic addressed lately. Restoring an XK-140. I believe I can have the bumpers re-chromed for the approximate cost of off-the-shelf replacements. I would appreciate opinions as to the best way go go. It there a notable difference between the quality of the original bumpers vs replacement? I am not looking to restore as a show-car, I am looking for a very high end driver result… Your thoughts appreciated.
Tom A.

I always try and stick with the original components. If for no other reason, I rarely have to worry about fitment.

Recently I bought a pair of 140 rear bumpers for my car from the internet. Don’t remember who from but I did not go through a normal jag parts source. The bumpers I got look very good but the profile was slightly dif from the old. It is not at all noticeable but I had to adjust (grind) the over riders to match. For a driver like my car they are very good.

If your original bumpers are in good condition I would have them re-chromed. They are probably of better material and I guess they will fit. Try the fit first before any painting if that still needs to be done as this is what is recommended for E Types and from my experience they do need fitting to the body.

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I appreciate your thoughts. That’s good advice.
Tom A

That’s an interesting issue - I wouldn’t have anticipated. Thanks.

Tom A

Yes, that seems to be the primary issue - fit. Not to be overlooked I guess.

Tom A

I had been looking to replace one’s for my XK120 but the reproductions I’ve looked at are annoyingly different in any one of three ways.


On balance I’d opt for refurb rather than replace with reproductions where possible.

You also do not know what plating treatment a reproduction item has

The originals had 3 stages, brass, nickel and chrome ( I think)

If your re-plating is done by a top quality outfit, you can question them and ensure they do it that way

I was once told to look for the shop that does Harley Davidsons for OMGs

you get to keep an original piece of the cars heritage to

always protect the inside of the metal, they rust from the inside out due to salty air where I live

To some extent, it depends on the ability and standards of the plating company you choose. I took my original 140 bumpers to Derby Plating in the UK, fully expecting them to say no, too difficult to straighten and take dents out etc. But they said they could do them, and ended up doing every single chrome part on the car, which I did not expect. They even did the original spinners, which now look better than new and obviously still have the correct wording on them with the correct sized letters. If badly worn, they take a mould of the original lettering before repair and polishing of the spinner face, and then reinstate it by engraving. I don’t know what kind of tools they use but it is impossible to tell if they are engraved or stamped.
This means the car still has the parts it was built with, which is important to me. Also, of course, every part fitted as well as it ever did, because they were fitted at the factory. I have heard terrible tales of repro parts and have had real problems with them on other makes of classic. I was particularly impressed by the headlamp surrounds, which were badly dented. New ones can be tricky to fit, but not in my case!
The icing on the cake was that the price was less than that of buying all new parts. You’d be surprised how quickly the costs add up for every last screw etc. They even managed to replate the original Lucas foglamp parts without losing the date codes. Derby plate in the original way - all polishing is done in-house, followed by Copper, Nickel and Chromium plate. Many lesser shops skip the copper stage to keep costs down.
No affiliation, just a very happy customer!

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I have a related question. My rear bumpers on my 120 have some dents that I was told would be impossible to fix (although I haven’t fully explored other service providers). I don’t know if I will show the car when it is finished, but I would like it to be show quality. is it better to have an original part with a bit of “patina” (battle scars, really) or a shiny smooth reproduction part? If it’s best to try to fix them, does someone have a recommended service provider in the U.S. that could do as good of a restoration job as Roger described was done for his?

Alan, originals are always better, and good platers can often expertly repair dents in bumpers. I use a very good plater in Omaha, Nebraska - Industrial Plating. They’ve been in business for many, many years and are totally trustworthy. Their turn around is usually less than six weeks, and the quality of their “show chrome” is superb.

You can go on their website, send them photos, and they will get back to you with a quote. I usually just mail my parts to them, and they mail them back when done. However, I live only about 120 miles from them so sometimes I visit their shop, which is very impressive.

If Industrial Plating can’t repair the dents, then I would search eBay for a suitable original in need of plating. I looked today and there’s one for $60.

I use Quality Plating in Sterling IL. He was able to smooth out some dents in my MGTA headlamp bucket shells and repair cracks in them as well. He has also done my bumpers for my '38 SS and the grille and door chrome of my '50 Mark V.

Rob and Mike, please post the contact info for your platers. (Is there such a word?)

good plating is hard to find, due to chemicals, and cost has gone up…(what hasn’t)…When I plated my bits…they asked what car…I said…MG…

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Thanks for the contact info, Mike and Rob.

Yes, thank you for info.

FYI How bumpers are rechromed: