Back to Bumpers

A look at Ford Anglia, Prefect, Popular and Thames bumpers

By Dean Kirsten


Just about every automobile, truck, or van came from the factory with some sort of front and/or rear bumpers. While back in the day they never were intended to protect the occupants from a serious accident, still, they did offer some level of bodywork protection in case of a slow speed crunch. In the case of the Ford Anglia and Prefect, these always came with a front and rear bumper, usually chrome plated. In the case of the Thames or Fordson van, only a front bumper was fitted most of the time, but you will find some early Fordson vans without any bumpers at all! The Ford Popular sedan (1954-1959), both front and rear bumpers were fitted, although they were silver painted in standard issue, chrome was an option.

Bumpers used during this era were basically a narrow single blade, usually around 2-3/4-inches wide, and expanded the overall length of the body and fenders. These can range from 52-3/8-inches long, to about 53-3/8-inches, depending on overall condition, and the amount of "bow found in their shape. There are no manufacture stamps or I.D. found on these bumpers, and new ones (NOS), are usually found wrapped in white cloth tape.

We can breakdown these bumpers into several categories: (Anglia, Popular, Thames), and Prefect. Next, you can divide them into early and late: 1939-1948 for early, and 1949-1953 as well as the 1954-1959 for the Popular, for the late. The basic difference between early and late is the shape of the ends: early bumpers come more to a point, while the later ones are more blunt shaped. Front bumpers are basically the same, as they all should have a centered flared hole (1-1/8-inch I.D.) for a hand-starting crank. Rear Anglia/Popular/Prefect bumpers come with only two mounting holes, while a Prefect rear has four- to-six holes. Rear bumpers can be interchanged if you must; you just end up with extra holes to deal with. The Prefect uses a "U shaped mounting bracket with two mounting holes per side, while the Anglia, Popular use a "C shaped bracket with only one mounting hole.

Mounting brackets are heavy stamped and formed steel: the front uses a right and left side, usually but not always, marked "R for right, and "L for left. These fronts are basically an "L-shape, but there is a unique shape that is a mirror image of itself. These bumper brackets are spring steel, so they do have some "give when pushed upon. The rear brackets also are right and left sides, and they cannot be switched side-to-side. These mount to the factory frame rails and contour down and around the rear apron lip. There is also a small, cast aluminum spacer used between the bumper and the bracket. If you are missing this spacer, the bumper will not only be too close to the lower apron, but it also will be difficult to bolt-up to the bracket correctly.

One last item about the front bumpers; in most cases, you will find two small stamped holes to the right and left side of the center hole. These smaller holes are used to mount the front license plate brackets. These two holes should be on the lower side of the bumper, so the license plate hangs down (and not up). Also, on some early front bumpers you will find an additional metal backing plate behind the center crank hole. These were held in place with two carriage bolts. No telling why some came with them, but most did not. I assume Ford used several different sources for these bumpers. I have seen some Anglia builders use a bumper from a Volkswagen Bug, which is about the right length, but it has way too much bow in it for my taste. And I have also seen a number of people use a MG bumper which is close in looks, but it does not have enough bow to match the shape of these cars.


This is a "late" front bumper with optinal over-riders.

Close-up view of a "late" front bumper end, with over-rider fitted.

A rear "late" bumper with optional over-rider fitted.

Factory rear bumper brackets clears the rear apron by dropping below it as shown.

Rear bumper must use these cast aluminum spacers between the bracket and the bumper (except Prefect).

Front iron brackets bolted to the main frame rail and pass through the fenders before bending outward towards the bumper ends.

Here is a good idea of how a correct rear bumper follows the contour of the rear trunk and apron shape.

A Prefect (or Tourer) rear "late" bumper with over-riders fitted. Notice the extra mounting holes.

An "early" bumper end on the left, and a "late" bumper end on the right. Notice the shape of the ends, as the early blade has a more pointed end shape.

Front bumper brackets are usually, but not always, marked with an "R" or "L" for proper I.D.

A Prefect (or Tourer) rear bumper bracket is more of a "U" shape, and requires more bumper mounting holes.

A right rear bumper bracket. This bolts to the chassis and bends under the rear apron, and connects to the rear bumper. The left bumper bracket is a mirror image of this.

An NOS Prefect rear bumper (late). Notice the three stamped holes per side.

All front bumpers should have a center crank starting hole stamped into the blade.