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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Stainless Bumper Conversion

In the last two weeks I finally tackled the stainless bumper conversion on my 80/81 Spider. It was relatively painless overall, with the biggest PITA being the restoration of the '71 front bumpers.

Here is what I started with:
a) Late '80 Spider with big, black rubber bumpers;
b) Set of vintage '71 front bumpers and a NOS grille, paid $700 for the lot;
c) Vintage '71 rear bumper, paid $700;
d) Conversion bumper brackets, purchased from Alfa Source, about $300 with shipping.

As you can see none of these parts were cheap. However, the supply of original factory made bumpers is dwindling, and they are priced accordingly. The rear bumper required a light cleaning and was a direct bolt-on. The front bumpers required more work than I had anticipated, as the stainless tops were badly stained/scratched and the signal lamps were in bad shape.

The old bumpers came off pretty easily, after I soaked the bolts in PB Blaster for a few days. Each bumper has two collapsible shocks that are bolted to the body with four M6x 1.00 x 100 bolts. Below are some pics of the bumper mounts. I found that I had to trim a bit off the outer edges of the front bumper mounts to provide adequate clearance for the new conversion brackets. See the pics, below.

I also removed the fake grille halves. On the lower valance the bottom grille half was attached to a "U" shaped piece that was tacked welded to the valence in three spots. I drilled these out and removed it.
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81 Spider - 1980 VIN

Last edited by andy303; 05-09-2010 at 07:46 PM.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Bumper Conversion Part 2

Next came the restoration of the front bumpers. I ordered new stainless tops and Euro-lenses from Classic Alfa. The old, all amber lens were in bad shape, as the three mounting holes, which have deep, molded pockets in each lens, had cracked apart. These Carello lamps came with untreated steel pan head machine screws that went into aluminum captive nuts that were molded into the plastic body of the bumper. Needless to say after 40 years no amount of soaking, swearing or other persuasion would loosen these once the ferrous-aluminum corrosion had set in. A previous owner had broken most of them , and I broke the last one trying to remove them. New lenses, bulbs and some restoration of the reflectors were in order.

The pics below show the bumpers dis-assembled. The original rubber facings were in good shape overall, but were a bugger to remove and reinstall. Note the numerous tabs that are molded into the facing. These slot into the plastic body of the bumper. At each end of the bumper body there are captive studs that mount the bumper to the brackets. These had a little block of styrofoam installed at the factory to hold them in place. I used some jam nuts to hold these more firmly in place.
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81 Spider - 1980 VIN

Last edited by andy303; 05-09-2010 at 07:48 PM.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Bumper Conversion Part 3

Below is the conversion bracket set sold by many European Alfa part houses. I found this to be an excellent solution, and I recommend it. It was designed to fit the reproduction stainless bumpers to those Spiders that used energy absorbing bumpers. I found that they fit the US market bumpers from 1971 ( and I assume 72 and 73) perfectly. The pics below show my trial mounting of these on the bumper. Also shown is a comparison of the old stainless front bumper top to a new one. You can get an idea of the original depth of the bumper from the old paint and discoloration.
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81 Spider - 1980 VIN

Last edited by andy303; 05-09-2010 at 07:49 PM.
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Bumper Conversion Part 4

Before I installed the new front bumpers I first installed the chrome grille. Taking a cue from previous threads, I made a bracket from some aluminum stock that I bought at Home Despot. After several trial fittings I drilled holes into the stiffening brackets on the under side of the nose and bolted it in place.

I cleaned and repainted the bumper mounting points on the body. Note the sliding captive bracket, here shown on the right side. The last two photos show the new bumper bracket bolted in place on the drivers (left) side.
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81 Spider - 1980 VIN
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Bumper Conversion Part 5

These series of shots show the bumpers and brackets bolted in place, seen from below. The first two are of the front, the other three of the rear bumper mount.

This was the fiddly bit. On the fronts I used a thin piece of cardboard taped over the nice new stainless tops to protect them during fitting and to provide a small space between the nose sheet metal and the top of the bumper. They pretty much bolted easily into place with a minimum of adjustment required.

Ditto for the rears. The front brackets are interchangeable, but the rear brackets are two different lengths. If you look at the photos with the old bumper removed you can see that the mounting on the left is spaced further outboard than the one on the right. I suppose this was to give more clearance for the bumper shock at the fuel tank. The four bolts are M6 x 100, like the fronts. I used a jam nut on an M8 x 70 bolt to provide a fixed stud for slots in the rear bumper to fit over. More time was required in the rear to measure and check clearances from the body and distance from the top of the bumper to the light cluster on each side.

There are brackets on the each side of the bumper, meant to be attached to a stud located at the rear of the quarter panel. There is a circular place stamped into the lower fender for this mount, but there is simply no room from behind to fit a bolt or a nut. I found that not having this connected doesn't make much if any difference. Maybe one day when I paint the car I'll buy these and have them welded on.
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81 Spider - 1980 VIN

Last edited by andy303; 05-11-2010 at 09:14 AM.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Bumper Conversion Part 6 The Results

Here are the results, with a pic of the car as I received it.. I am very pleased with the results. In some respects it was easier than I thought it would be. The hard part was finding the parts and restoring the front bumpers.
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81 Spider - 1980 VIN
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 07:49 PM
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Looks very nice Andy!

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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 08:12 PM
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looks great!

1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 08:21 PM
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Well Done!!

Thank you for an excellent report on the how to's. I will be adapting 71 rear bumper to my 73 and have started the process of removing the rubber portion of the front bumpers to put on the 71 bumpers onto my 73 Spider, so your photos and description are very helpful.
Your Alfa looks beautiful now!

Neil



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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 11:39 PM
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Nice result ! We could now be (almost) twins ! Is the bottom end of the grille also secured, or just hanging free ?

Chris
1977 Spider 2000
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Nice result ! We could now be (almost) twins ! Is the bottom end of the grille also secured, or just hanging free ?
Thanks Chris. The bottom is just hanging in the breeze at present, but with the top bracket I made it is very solid. I have yet to fabricate a little bracket for the nub at the base of the grille. One problem I encountered was that the bottom valance is slightly bent, and the bottom edge of the grille has a gap on one side where it is supposed to fit into the "V" opening. I tried to do a little sheet metal work to straighten it out, but I was afraid of making it worse, so I quit. It will have to wait for a some professional work with a repaint, maybe next year. Then I will have the side lights filled and license plate lights removed then our cars will be closer in appearance.

I also have Carello headlight covers to fit, but again I may hold off on that job until I paint the car. I will replace the center console with an earlier one to use the earlier "big" ashtray and I will post some pics when that is done.

Andy
81 Spider - 1980 VIN
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spider4me View Post
Thank you for an excellent report on the how to's. I will be adapting 71 rear bumper to my 73 and have started the process of removing the rubber portion of the front bumpers to put on the 71 bumpers onto my 73 Spider, so your photos and description are very helpful.
Your Alfa looks beautiful now!
Thank Neil. I found the rubber still to be quite pliant even after nearly 40 years. It is held to the plastic bumper body by a series of molded tabs that fit into corresponding slots. These tabs having a wedge shape and ridges that hold them firmly in place when pushed into the slots. Be careful where the rubber thins out to just a strip above the signal lamps. Here there are the most tabs, and the hardest to access, and of course the most stubborn to both remove and reinstall. I found that some lube and thin bladed screwdriver, and some patience were useful.

On the installation I used a pliers to pull the tabs through. Most were easy accept for the ones at the corners of the lights. I had broken out in a sweat by the time I had them all in, both from the effort and the fear of breaking something!

A word on the lenses. They don't come with new screws. I used stainless pan head screws from the hardware store, with washers and nylock nuts. The pan heads are (of course) too large for the Carello lens, so taking a tip from another thread I ground and polished them to the right size to fit. The original captive nuts were mostly broken away, leaving a neat round holes in the back of the plastic, hence the washers and nuts. If I ever have to replace a bulb it might be easier just to unbolt the bumper and do it on the bench.

Andy
81 Spider - 1980 VIN
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 06:55 AM
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Nice job Andy! Reminds me of when I did mine. As I recall....the brackets arrived the day before my wedding. So what do I do... I am out in the driveway on the day of the wedding bolting those babies on...as I told the wife....so the car would be prettier in the pictures. I didn't have time to secure the grill properly so I used a piece of rope fished through the two screw holes and up through the holes in the sheet metal underneath the hood right behind the nose. I tied the rope around a open ended wrench I was using...and whala!

Do as I did on the covers...leave it for the body shop guys to install. Paint behind the trim rings and bucket lip is probably rough. Not to mention the little rectangular holes needed, etc. Be sure to have them fill and clean up the lower nose where that pop-welded grill bracket was located

Nice job!

Best Regards,
John M

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1978 AR Spider Veloce 2000....the first and still here...Bianco
1984 AR Spider Veloce............the second & gone to the parts bin....Rosso
1992 AR Spider Veloce............the third and still here...Bianco
1991 AR 164L........................the fourth and traded on the SS....Rosso
1965 AR Sprint Speciale..........the fifth...in boxes....sold....Bianco
1978 AR Spider Veloce 2000....the sixth gone to be a parts car...slow black
1967 AR Giulia Sprint GT.........the seventh with Gregg and sold......Rosso
1993 AR Spider Veloce............the eighth with Gregg and still here....Verde Inglese
1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi.............the first and still here....Azzurro
1999 Ferrari 355F1 Spider........the second and still here....TdF Blue[/SIZE]
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 07:09 AM
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Looks great. I just finished my 82 as well. What a difference in the look. I fabricated my own front brackets and used the bumper shocks in the rear. I didn't know at the time the brackets you used were available. Those front plates that the bolts go in, were a PIA cause they were so wobbly. My under side below the grill is different, wonder why Alfa changed that.
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2010, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by John M View Post
Be sure to have them fill and clean up the lower nose where that pop-welded grill bracket was located

Nice job!

Best Regards,
John M
Thanks John! I know my limits on body work, so when it goes into the shop there will be a number of things to be addressed. The car has (mostly) original paint, and so has 30 years of unrepaired dings. It looks good from 5 feet however.

BTW, your previous posts on the subject were both an inspiration and a big help. You obviously have great taste in both cars and women!

I tried to get my brackets made by Randy, but with his health issues he was unable to get to the job, so I bought them "abroad". I would have preferred to support an Alfisto closer to home. I am surprised that no one else has stepped up to make them available.

Andy
81 Spider - 1980 VIN

Last edited by andy303; 05-11-2010 at 09:40 AM.
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