posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 09:47 PM
I think some older cars used to have pistons or springs on their bumpers which could absorb some minor shock. I remember a car as recent as 1990
having an actual steel bumper inside some plastic piece. It was possible to accidentally ding a pole or a snowbank at slow speed with no worries.
But anything newer than that and the term "bumper" for anything outside of a pickup truck is a complete misnomer. Cars really don't have bumpers
anymore. They're pretty much all made of high-density foam that crumples into pieces at anything resembling a 5mph impact. The PVC or thin
polycarbonate on the outside of that pretty much shatters easily too, so even the most minor ding has the potential to leave a car looking like hell
until you or your insurance manages to fork up the dough.
I guess there's some money to be made in $700 pieces of injected foam plastic, and bumpers that actually functioned as such aren't as profitable. So
outside of some niche applications (eg: offroad vehicles) they don't make real bumpers anymore.
Of course some people would argue that it's done some to improve pedestrian collision safety. But then again, the 3000lb car might not break your
leg... But a push into the non-giving asphalt from a soft-crumple car still likely to cause some serious injury to a pedestrian. Kind of a pointless
"advance" in my book.