Vintage Volkswagen Bumper Differences

NOS '67 Beetle Front Bumper

Not a week goes by without someone emailing about their bumpers. The conversation usually goes something like this.

“Hey, 1967beetle.com. I’m about to re-chrome my bumpers but am not sure if they are German or not. Is there any chance you can you help?”

You’ve come to the right place; let’s talk. To keep it simple, there are 2 different types of bumpers on the market today; original and aftermarket. But it gets more confusing than just that statement alone. If you don’t have a trained eye and know what to look for, your restoration could end up with the lessor of the two. I’ve had this happen myself.

Let’s explain the differences I’m aware of. This research comes from many conversations with the amazing Jay Salser, research from John Henry, along with our friends at Wolfsburg West.

302885_1
Aftermarket
The easiest way to spot these cheap bumpers is the ugly black plastic grommet between the overrider tube and the blade. Unlike the better quality units, the fit isn’t there to allow a smooth union between the parts. This also means the tooling making these bumpers is so worn out it can’t even get close to the right tolerance. Once you know this, this grommet screams “cheap aftermarket!!” And the plating at the end of the tubes is usually notoriously poor, leading to rust forming easily and quickly in this area. A bolt accessible from inside the blade secures the tube to it. Here’s a look at that cheap plastic wedge up close. 
aftermakretB

Blade steel thickness: .060″
Upright steel thickness: .060″
Fit and finish: Very Poor
Chrome Quality: Fair at best


 

r_bump

Wolfsburg West
These gems are made for our friends Wolfsburg West exclusively. The quality and fit are far superior to any other bumper on the market. These bumper components differ from the cheaper products in two critical ways. The chrome is a true triple plate show quality. Secondly, the overrider tubes are fit to the bumper blade without using the black plastic grommets that the cheaper brands use. These bumpers are identical to the original in every respect.

Blade steel thickness: .090″
Upright steel thickness: .090″
Fit and finish: Excellent
Chrome Quality: Excellent


 

f_bump
Original Volkswagen
I bet you already know what I’m going to say. Volkswagen of old set the bar with everything they produced. These bumpers are by far the best you can get your hands on. That is, if you can actually find them. Or, your project came with a set which is becoming more rate. Not to mention that the ’67 Beetle rear bumper is a one year only item.

Blade steel thickness: .090″
Upright steel thickness: .090″
Fit and finish: Excellent
Chrome Quality: Excellent


So there you have it. What type of bumpers are on your ’67 Beetle? Comment below and join in the conversation. We’d love to hear from you.

The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™
The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™

Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I founded and curate 1967beetle.com. I also co-founded Lane Russell with my wife Amanda. I drive a '67 Beetle daily, and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

36 Comments

Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

My front bumper is a Wolfsburg West and my rear is OG German, due to it being a one year only item.

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Elango

about 2 years ago

HI, What are the key differences between a 66 and 67's rear and front bumpers?

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

The '66-'67 front bumpers are the same. The '67 rear is a one year only item and have slanted overrider tubes. They are hard to find.

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jay salser

about 2 years ago

Hello, Elango...Please see this Link for a good explanation of Rear Bumpers: http://1967beetle.com/67-beetle-rear-bumpers/

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Elango

about 2 years ago

thanks guys, hot topic indeed. another question, is there a difference in engine lids for the 67? it is pretty obvious that the lids for 66 are different. but, are there any 67s with that came in original with a 66 lid? and, are the 67 engine lids the same as 68s or 69? who knows, someone was obviously playing tricks on us back then, tweaking specs in the tiniest details. thanks in advance.

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jay salser

about 2 years ago

Elango...To our combined knowledge...no '67 Beetle came into the USA through a dealership with a different decklid--all were the same and were particular only to the 1967 Beetle. The decklid and the rear apron both were one-year-only items. I cannot speak for Australia--for I believe that the '67 there wore an earlier decklid and rear apron. This also may have been the case for Mexican Beetles and other locations around the World. The new decklid for 1967 featured the positioning of the license plate light holder so that it was affixed more straight up and down rather than so slanted. For '68, the decklid again changed for Beetles imported into the USA, as did the latching mechanism and the rear apron. All of this exercises the brain, Elango! jay

Ryan Pettit

about 2 years ago

Great article and very helpful. I was under the impression that Wolfsburgwest didn't make a bumper for 1967?

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Ryan. They make the front. The rear they make only fits to 1966.

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Kevin

about 2 years ago

My last 66 sedan project came with those junk bumpers with the black grommets. I immediately replaced them with the Wolfsburg units. I recommend that everyone apply at least three coats of Mothers pure carnuba wax to each new bumper as soon as they are installed. Although they are top quality chrome, any new item should be protected with wax.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Good note, Kevin!

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bob Ebert

about 2 years ago

Eric, just read the article. when out and took a look at my bumpers.I believe they are after market, no rust. ? Could the over rides be after market and the bumpers not.? everything in Canada rusts. Bob

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Bob. Yes, they could be mixed and matched. You could email me a photo for a look.

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D. Degenstien

about 2 years ago

Do the OG (original German) bumpers have any kind of stamping on them that indicates they are OG? I have a few pairs of what I assume are OG bumpers in my 'dented and rusting' pile (they came off old cars, so no reason to think they are repros ...and not plastic grommets) but I can't find any markings on them???

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Yes. An org VW bumper also is stamped in the metal with a VW mark in the center. I should have mentioned that but I was keeping it to a summary.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

I'll see if I can find a photo of the VW stamp. If so, I'll post it.

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timm

about 2 years ago

No comment.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Now now....

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Russ Keller

about 2 years ago

Wolfsburg all the way. Excellent bumper, shipped in a heavy weight box with extra padding and each ones comes in a thick felt bag.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Agree!

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Here's the location of the VW stamp on a German bumper.



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D. Degenstien

about 2 years ago

So ...is that an August, 1967 stamp? 9VW7 .... Looks like it would be difficult to spot if one didn't know exactly where to look, and, being on the bottom edge like that, easily obscured by rust. ...... Thanks!

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D. Degenstien

about 2 years ago

Sorry ....September, 1967

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

It is.. And you're welcome!

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Mark

about 2 years ago

Just a reminder, if you are doing a "correct" restore that early 67 rear bumpers did NOT have the slanted overrides. They are the same bumpers as the 66. The slanted overrides were a mid year change.

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jay salser

about 2 years ago

Hello, Mark...Please see this Link for a complete treatise on Rear Bumper Over Riders: http://1967beetle.com/67-beetle-rear-bumpers/

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Tom

about 2 years ago

I have an original bumper on the rear of my cabrio that does not have slanted over-riders. The plating and heft of the metal are far superior to the blade on the front (aftermarket). The rear also has the correct dealer installed bumperettes with a rubber insert on the face. The chrome on the rear is also still quite good considering its life in Canada. The article above is quite helpful but does not answer the question asked as I see it. Is it a viable option to rechrome with a reputable chrome plating firm on an original bumper since most of us will be unable to find NOS bumpers for our 67's? Or is Wolfsburg West the only real option? Plating might (probably would) remove the original factory stamping especially if the plating is on both the inside and the outside of the bumper. (a common practice to eliminate rust in some show car applications). I agree that cheap doesn't cut it even on a daily driver but rechroming, good rechroming to factory standard is surely as good as Wolfsburg West which is still an aftermarket product, a very good one for sure. Just some thoughts.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Tom, I agree with you. If I had to put it in order, I'd go German bumpers re-chromed if you can find them. If not, Wolfsburg West is the next best thing. My rear '67 bumper has been re-chromed and the quality just can't be touched. It's still such a great bumper almost 50 years later. Forgive me if I didn't cover everything. I've had the bumper thing in my head for a long time and wrote it quickly over lunch.

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Tom

about 2 years ago

Eric, You cover a lot and it is most appreciated. Did your VW stamp survive the plating process? Unfortunately when I moved I think I threw out my straight but very tattered original front bumper. Am contemplating rechroming my rear bumper but it still shows well with only a few blemishes. Had a quick look on ebay and there is not much in the way of NOS or correct bumpers. Again thanks for all you do. Always fun to read about new finds and the cars of others!

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jay salser

about 2 years ago

Hi, Tom...Been a while since we last talked! There are re-chrome shops and then there are re-chrome shops. In the USA it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find a quality chrome shop. One of the best is Paul's in Pennsylvania. Not cheap but guaranteed workmanship for the life of the part. You can look at their process Online--they are very clear about what they do and what it is going to mean to you, the owner of the part. Also, Paul's sends parts with stampings, that might become obliterated by the process, to an engraver. The engraver deepens the script, part number, etc. to insure that it will show after the piece has been re-chromed. A good example is the Hella SB-12 head light rings--without the engraving, the part indications would become less legible. Take care and send some cooler weather to Texas, please! jay

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Tom

about 2 years ago

Jay, Some great info here and clarifies the logo issues. You are right about rechrome shops for sure. On one of my other cars I had the bumper bars plated 40 years ago and the chrome is so supple you can still get lost in the depth! I got some cowl lamp arms plated at another shop that "specialized" in pot metal and ... well, luckily the lights themselves (original nickel plating) dazzle the eyes! You have to shop and see the work done for sure. It is averaging about 95 to 100 degrees here (#30 to 33 Celsius) with the humidex (Canadian jargon for darn hot) so.. I'm gonna' ask if you can stop sending that weather our way, please! LOL I promise though that when it is -25C here in a few months, I'll try to send some by Purolator. As always, great to read what you guys write!!! Tom

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Tom, Thanks so much! Yes, it did survive the plating process. No problem.

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jay salser

about 2 years ago

Whoooooa, Tom! What's with the heat up there? We are fixin' (as we say in Texas) to have a cool wave to drop through here which will give us some relief. In Dallas, it was 101F officially today. Our altitude is about 500 feet above sea level--we get all of the warm, humid breezes off the Gulf of Mexico. When they are burning the fields in Mexico, on a good (bad?) day we can smell the smoke! jay

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Tom

about 2 years ago

Supposed to be cooler tomorrow as a cool front comes in (possibly from Texas!!!) It read 33 degrees C.(90+ F.) today in my regular car, Beetle is hiding and waiting for cooler weather! Highest temperature of the year yesterday, here. No smoke, just a lot of haze in the sky. The humidity today with morning rain showers made it brutal (worked outside all day) Enough to rust your bumpers! Especially the aftermarket cheap ones LOL Stay cool! Tom P.S. My cabrio decklid has two sets of louvers and a special air flow system attached (inside) to direct cool air into the engine compartment, which makes this decklid a one year only rare item to be sure. The Karman cabrio's have some interesting differences or variations on the one year only theme. Again guys. Thanks for the great information and banter!

Shaun

about 2 years ago

Hi Eric, Great write up but there are some exceptions to the rules.I'm sure most are aware that Volkswagens were manufactured in Australia by VW of Australia. Government protectionist policies at the time meant local manufacturers had to increase the local produced content in their cars; consequently GM, Ford and Volkswagen all produced parts locally; VW by ~1967 had 90-95% local content in their cars. The locally produced VW stamped bumpers have the rubber gaskets between the overriders and the towel rail where fitted and the later produced models had stainless steel bumpers with chrome plating at the same thickness as the steel ones. Local production stopped after 1968 with the introduction of the 1500 Beetle but the Australian '67 1300 Deluxe had stainless steel US spec bumpers and rubber gaskets but was essentially a 64 beetle with a 1300cc engine. One was for sale on oldbug; see link below to an Aussie '61.5 (yes 61 and a half!) http://www.oldbug.com/61aussie.htm Cheers!

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Eric Shoemaker

about 2 years ago

Shaun, Hey, bud. I'm going to have to disagree with you on this. I've read factory VW literature and they never included the plastic grommets. Also, the bumpers on the OldBug car are not German. Look at the fitting of the tubes to the bumper.

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Shaun

about 2 years ago

I agree; they are not german, they were made in Australia. VW Germany doesn't have any records on the Australian produced VWs, my chassis number isn't even recorded with VW Germany. The Australian manufacturing operation was closed due to finances so alot of records were lost.

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