by Lorne Goldman


Standard mainstream Morgan bumpers are merely decorative. Please do NOT think otherwise. Since the accident that destroyed my first Morgan in 2002, and my pitcrew experience over 25 years, I have become an expert on Morgan bumpers. (sadly wry smile). Overriders double down on this basic fact, saving that full stock bumpers actually CAUSE more damage rather than less. They twist like licorice sticks on impact and then the mangled bumper smashes into the body and the cowl, ruining them as well. I have witnessed that many times. Perhaps overriders are a bit better than that as they are smaller. However, both can also alter the frame alignment when impacted.

That being said, they are aesthetically pleasing to most of us. But don't fool yourself into believing that they offer ANY protection.

WATCHPOINT 1: After 200,000 miles with both types, I can attest that neither of these brackets are sufficiently strong to hold the later stainless steel bumpers. DO NOT LEAN OR PLACE ANY WEIGHT ON THEM. The alloy (type 2) are not strong enough a metal to do so and the earlier painted tubular type were significantly weakened when the MMC flattened the tubes (counter-productive) and created weak points. I considered using rubber in their mountings to allow them flex, but resorted to repairing and muchly strengthened them. I have learned that replacing an item that has failed is simply asking for more of the same aggravation..and that can be far from home for us. Instead, I keep making such things as strong as they need NEED to fail.
I am intrigued with the MMC offering in polished stainless steel (shown to the above left) and I shall try them, whenever they are again in stock. I shall of course, carry a set of my stronger brackets in the car. Watch this space. 

Bumper bracket tube covers. The aftermarket offers polished metal sleeves (preferably ss) to cover the straight section just before these bracket sections. If you can't find them, use a chromed or polished nickel sleeves or even stainless steel available at any plumbing store.
N.B. A polished high quality stainless steel cover prevents rust and never fails you. Even when dented the shine is unaffected where chrome will flake off as paint will as well. My affection for shiny metal derives from the fact I work often on the car and have no wish myself to become filthy. Grime shortens the lifetime and enjoyment of a hobby vehicle. You would be surprised at how many mechanics become dismayed when they are given a pretty Morgan caked in rust and filth in the areas they have to work on.

Bumper History - (Only Applicable to North America up to 1970)
Bumper History - (Only Applicable to North America after 1970)
1954-1961. Chromed mild steel bumper with center hole for starting handle Shaped blade with flat ends. Standard at front. Option at rear. Probable Ford E93 UK small saloon  Overiders at rear as standard. These have a “shell” like appearance on the flange .
1962-1976 Chromed mild steel bumper at front as standard Rounded ends fit with standard Ford 105e Overriders
N.B. Plus8 and 4/4 versions of the rears have different hole center distances. 
Standard Ford 105e Overriders. Body as for Morris Minor and Standard 10 but fitting plate welded arcs different angle.
1977-1991/2 Aluminum  as standard Square-shaped produced for Morgan in a factory owned by Holden at Bromyard  (now demolished) Square-shaped produced for Morgan in a factory owned by Holden at Bromyard  (now demolished)
1992/93-1994 Chromed mild steel bumper Standard. Copied the alloy bumpers. Many quality issues. Short production Standard. Copied the alloy bumpers. Many quality issues.  Short production
1994-1997 Stainless steel bumpers Open ends Open ends
1998-2002/3 Stainless steel bumpers Standard. Closed ends. Optional after 2003 at 800£ for a set       Standard. Closed ends. Optional after 2003 at 800£ for a set 
2002  Overriders fit to LeMans Edition VERY large. Walrus tusks VERY large. Walrus tusks 
2002/3 to Overriders VERY large. Walrus tusks VERY large. Walrus tusks. Massive cost saving

Bumpers Overseas Variants

WATCHPOINT 2: These are complex as different agents would adopt different variants simultaneously until the Factory decided to bring overseas regulatory compliance to Malvern to increase Pickersleigh profits. This quickly led to the end of 4-wheel Classic Morgan importation to the markets involved by 2005/6. There was a short period of cars with final assembly in the destination country. Most of these variants are seriously ugly, and one, by Cantab (the eastern US Morgan agents downright ridiculous. However, they DID create a standard height protection that was NOT merely aesthetic. The Canadian version, (which I find attractive) saved our lives when our stationary car was hit by a young American at the rear at 40 mph!

1976-1996 USA (ISIS Imports)  This variant consisted of mounted dampers to absorb impact forces and the Morgan bumpers covered a hefty impact tubular bar. The shocks were covered by a bellows-format rubber cover. In a short time, the heavy weight of the reinforced forced them to sag down, thereby ended the all-important matching height of all other vehicles. Additionally, the bellows shredded over time exposing the shock and the wiring as indicator lights and  registration  plates were made to hang from the bumpers.
1986-1990s USA  CANTAB) This is the worst bumper variant ever, both aesthetically and from any practical point of view.
The bumpers themselves copied the ISIS format, the original Morgan bumper hiding a very heavy reinforcement underneath. However, brackets, rather than being impact absorbing, were made of solid iron bar stock. These will transfer any impact to the cockpit, to a very HIGH risk to driver and passenger, negating the famous Morgan ability to ABSORB these forces BEFORE they get that far,much like todays Formula One racers. These brackets and bumpers are SO heavy they require two men to lift them into place, thereby muchly adding to the cars weight and prejudicing its balance and comportment. These cars reportedly weigh 2400lbs (aka 1100 kilos) or 25% more than the stock Plus 8 of their day, (a massive prejudice to performance and mileage)
WATCHPOINT 3: You will also note that the owner added front clearance killing oil cooler. Road-going Rover/LR V8s (up to the higher pressure GEMS version) use a low oil pressure system that has never been reported to overheat oil). Use of an oil cooler merely is a holdover from the Triumph engines of a previous generation of Morgans. Additionally, the only available placement is most unfortunate in a Morgan as the naturally higher oil heat turns the coolest part of the radiator, the bottom, hot thereby causing the coolant to overheat..especially in traffic!! Additionally, each extra oil connection, adds another engine destroyed risk unnecessarily. 
Post 1996 USA No Morgans were shipped overseas from 1996-1998. Morgan overseas regulatory compliance was, instead, brought to Malvern at that time. The work was very profitable. However, the Factory Management had very little experience in this area. Compliancy is considerably easier when one has a ongoing relationship with the US compliancy officers. Accordingly, overseas compliancy became spotty and delayed until ultimately, mainstream Morgan could no longer be shipped to the super lucrative American market.  During the period of 1998 to 2006, Morgan used the Isis bumper format saving that the bumper became a trigger for the airbags.

1977-1995 CANADA
The Canadian dealers of the day also used bumper
 bars hidden behind the Morgan standard bumper similar to the ISIS USA variants. However, they used different and shorter shocks to hold them under covered bellows-like flexible covers. This brought the bumpers much closer to the body of the cars and, in my humble opinion, looked far more "trim" and did not affect the sublime lines of the car. The shocks are almost unnoticeable. I may be biased, as this configuration, according to the police and the insurance  experts, had no doubt they saved our lives. I am adding an image to the left that shows what happened when these massively reinforced bumpers were impacted. The shock brackets exploded to 3 times their original length, pushing my wife and I away from the impact.


I have another 19 years of mogging since they accident referred to above. I have had another 19 years experience since then and I have studied many more Morgan accidents since then. Of course, the accident referred to TOTALLY, destroyed the Morgan involved, but I have had two other Morgans since, one built to a special specification concocted by myself, my friends at the Factory at that time along with the Morgan cogniescenti and another restored down to last nut & bolt by a perfectionist at Tudor Motors!  

I have come to the conclusion that impact safety is better built into the construction of the car, as they attempted with the Aero line, the route most  automobile manufacturers have taken. That eliminates the need for bumpers. Especially bumpers that are aesthetic only, the type which Morgans (and many other cars) have always sported. My last Morgan, which I still treasure deeply, is such a car with impact provisions built INTO the car by the Factory and myself. None of this is new design, merely Morgan (Malvern) ideas that I asked for to be added and refined. It also saved an enormous amount of weight..not merely in comparison to Overseas renditions, but overthe stock iterations as well.