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Old 04-18-2013, 08:16 PM
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Custom Impala bumper

I've run into a dead end in trying to modify the bumper on my Biscayne (Impala). I would like for it to look like the attached pictures. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:37 PM
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Are you having trouble with the modification, taking the chrome off??? What part of the modification are you having trouble with?

Ray
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:42 PM
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Ray;

Making the modification. The biggest thing I want to get out of it is a smaller opening for the license plate. I really dislike the filler that goes in on the factor bumper.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:30 PM
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I'm not big on this generation of b-body, but that's a bit of metal work for a stock bumper. Sure it's not glass?
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:40 PM
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Pretty sure it isn't glass. There are some others out there with similar mods that are in metal.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renegade6 View Post
Pretty sure it isn't glass. There are some others out there with similar mods that are in metal.
Ah, I see. It looks good, I like it and I can see why you'd want to do it. Maybe Randy (NewInteriors) would have some tips on it. The thing that looks the hardest is closing in the license plate. Could it have a different year b-body bumper center grafted in where the 3 piece seams would be welded? I know the impalas had quite a few changes in the 60's, but they all run those three piece bumpers in the back. The middle looks like my buddies 66 coupe.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie5.7 View Post
Ah, I see. It looks good, I like it and I can see why you'd want to do it. Maybe Randy (NewInteriors) would have some tips on it. The thing that looks the hardest is closing in the license plate. Could it have a different year b-body bumper center grafted in where the 3 piece seams would be welded? I know the impalas had quite a few changes in the 60's, but they all run those three piece bumpers in the back. The middle looks like my buddies 66 coupe.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, I had a personal situation that came up last night and I needed to take care of it.

Randy, "NewInteriors" would without a doubt be one of the most competent people I know, on how to solve a problem/situation such as this.

I'll try and help out as best I can. You have a 3 piece bumper that's chrome plated. The first thing that I have done is get the chrome off the bumper, sandblast, take it to your local chromes shop and have them strip it, either way get the chrome off. Bolt the bumper back on the car as to where you would want it to be when it's all said and done...tack weld all three pieces of the bumper together. If you have bumperettes, tack weld them in place. Make sure that you have enough welds so that the bumper stays together when you take it off the vehicle. Take the bumper off with the brackets on (unbolt it from the frame)

Now, make all of your welds solid, I leave the inside bolts holding the bumper sections in place on the bumper and weld the sections inside and the outer face...the metal on bumpers is thicker than steel on sheet metal, make sure you get good penetration. Take a black spray bomb and paint the backside of the bumper with the brackets on. Remove your bumper bolts, you have square holes left and a perfect outline as to where the brackets go, what I have done here is use threaded rod the same thickness as the thread on your bumper bolt...make a square patch for the square hole left from the bumper bolt, drill a 1/8 inch hole in the middle of the square patch, plug weld the threaded rod onto the square patch and then weld into the square holes on the bumper. Weld the threaded rod from the backside as well.

Now you have a one piece bumper that is solid, will fit your car and can be painted body color because there isn't any chrome on it. You wanted a smaller opening for your license plate. BY looking at the photo, not having an early 60's Impala rear bumper in front of me, judging what to do from previous modifications I have done on vehicles, I would hammer form and weld a piece of metal, the same gauge of metal as the bumper for the center section of the bumper in place of the usual dented aluminum that you have now. Mark off where and what you want your license plate bracket to be and look like. Sometimes on the intricate pieces, smaller pieces of metal shaped and welded are easier to work with than trying to make one large piece of metal and duplicate it so that it looks the same on both sides. When you make one piece of metal, make a mirror reflection of the piece for the opposite side at the same time. Weld the metal in place, grind your welds and prep for primer.

I hope this helps and I'm sure if I have been fortunate enough to answer a few of your questions, you have more questions left unanswered. If you need a more specific response, I would need a more specific question and would be happy to help...if I can.

Ray
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 69 widetrack View Post
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, I had a personal situation that came up last night and I needed to take care of it.

Randy, "NewInteriors" would without a doubt be one of the most competent people I know, on how to solve a problem/situation such as this.

I'll try and help out as best I can. You have a 3 piece bumper that's chrome plated. The first thing that I have done is get the chrome off the bumper, sandblast, take it to your local chromes shop and have them strip it, either way get the chrome off. Bolt the bumper back on the car as to where you would want it to be when it's all said and done...tack weld all three pieces of the bumper together. If you have bumperettes, tack weld them in place. Make sure that you have enough welds so that the bumper stays together when you take it off the vehicle. Take the bumper off with the brackets on (unbolt it from the frame)

Now, make all of your welds solid, I leave the inside bolts holding the bumper sections in place on the bumper and weld the sections inside and the outer face...the metal on bumpers is thicker than steel on sheet metal, make sure you get good penetration. Take a black spray bomb and paint the backside of the bumper with the brackets on. Remove your bumper bolts, you have square holes left and a perfect outline as to where the brackets go, what I have done here is use threaded rod the same thickness as the thread on your bumper bolt...make a square patch for the square hole left from the bumper bolt, drill a 1/8 inch hole in the middle of the square patch, plug weld the threaded rod onto the square patch and then weld into the square holes on the bumper. Weld the threaded rod from the backside as well.

Now you have a one piece bumper that is solid, will fit your car and can be painted body color because there isn't any chrome on it. You wanted a smaller opening for your license plate. BY looking at the photo, not having an early 60's Impala rear bumper in front of me, judging what to do from previous modifications I have done on vehicles, I would hammer form and weld a piece of metal, the same gauge of metal as the bumper for the center section of the bumper in place of the usual dented aluminum that you have now. Mark off where and what you want your license plate bracket to be and look like. Sometimes on the intricate pieces, smaller pieces of metal shaped and welded are easier to work with than trying to make one large piece of metal and duplicate it so that it looks the same on both sides. When you make one piece of metal, make a mirror reflection of the piece for the opposite side at the same time. Weld the metal in place, grind your welds and prep for primer.

I hope this helps and I'm sure if I have been fortunate enough to answer a few of your questions, you have more questions left unanswered. If you need a more specific response, I would need a more specific question and would be happy to help...if I can.

Ray
Nice write-up, Ray! After hammer forming the metal would you suggest some work on an english wheel to smooth it out? I've personally never done anything that intricate as far as metal forming goes...
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:15 AM
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hammer forming it while it's red hot seems like it might work, if you were wondering about those raised areas around the license plate. then you could weld in the lip around the plate. There's a lot of metal to grind there so that works in your favor. You can make that thing look clean!

Last edited by tech69; 04-20-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie5.7 View Post
Nice write-up, Ray! After hammer forming the metal would you suggest some work on an english wheel to smooth it out? I've personally never done anything that intricate as far as metal forming goes...
The reason I didn't get into to much equipment use is because if they had equipment, I would assume that they would know how to use it. Although, I'm dealing with a situation right now where a fellow has more equipment than most shops and refuses to use it what it's for. Everybody has access to a hammer (hopefully), it may not be the right hammer for the job but a hammer none the less. Tech 69 brings up a good point of heat, metal as thick as a bumper will form better with heat, no doubt and it would be much faster. If the OP had a full selection of tools at his disposal I'd perhaps suggest a metal brake to get the inner contour of the lower middle section of the bumper, instead of hammer forming...That way it would be more even and the curve would be more controlled. After the metal has gone through the brake, I might try the English Wheel, I know mine is to small to make a big difference on metal that thick.

I've done work on the bumpers of the 55, 56, and 57 Chevy's and and many years ago did an old I believe it was a 55 or 56 Studebaker front bumper...(2 door wagon, gorgeous car, tried to buy it but no sale, look it up, the bumper is huge and intricate) to mention a few. I had access to any and all tools you can ever imagine, including bumper presses and dyes made for specific bumpers. It still takes hours and hours to complete custom bumpers, or anything custom...it's taking the vision of what you have in your head and turning it out in metal.

Ray
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:40 AM
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Gentlemen--Thanks for all of the advice. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:44 AM
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The first thing I would do is be hunting for a bumper that you could swipe the center out of for yours. The hard part is finding the shape that would match, but there are a LOT of bumpers out there.

Do you want to chrome it or do you plan on painting it? That would make it a LOT easier of course but if you were to find a bumper with the center lower section that would work you could butt weld it in there and it would be chrome-able.

Brian

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:04 AM
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I'm going to get it chromed (brushed finish).

I have an extra 63 bumper. I've looked around and really can't find anything with the same profile.

This may be another option for me, minus the exhaust cut outs.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:15 AM
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The thing is right where the filler is there is very little shape. You could get another bumper and put something between the two "guard" like areas on each side that doesn't even match at all, but creates the look you want.

I had an interesting thing said to me by a woman at a tile store a few months ago when I was looking at making a new cabinet for my kitchen. It's a 65 year old kitchen with original black and yellow tile. I was out looking to find a tile or a similar tile for this cabinet and this lady said to me "If you can't find the exact tile go completely different, that way it doesn't look like you were trying to match the tile at all". How brilliant was that, I am trying to match the tile and to "get close" was my thought, she sent me in another direction and I put a butcher block top on this cabinet and it looks perfect in the kitchen instead of looking "close" to the rest.

So maybe there is a bumper you could get that center section from that will weld in at each side even though it won't look like the surrounding area it will look good. I mean lets face it, that part that Chevy put there sure as heck doesn't match at all. So maybe something like that may work. Just tossing out ideas.

Brian
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:29 AM
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Interesting thought. Have any ideas on what other bumpers might work? I've looked at the other GM B bodies from those years and they are significantly different.
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