A Beast of a Bumper-Grille

When Buick restyled the beautiful ’49 Buick for 1950, it made a change that continues to inspire strong emotion, both positive and negative. Buick replaced this beautiful grille . . .

. . . with this toothy beast:

The sales brochure referred to the new design as a “bumper-grille”, and it consisted of heavy-duty vertical bars that were attached to the bumper so that they both formed the grille and served as bumper guards. The bars, according to Buick advertisements, were heavy enough to absorb “normal impact” and individually replaceable to save money in the “unlikely event of damage” (now note the damage to the grille shown above).

Unfortunately, the bars each had a different part number and were not at all interchangeable, and that made stocking and replacing them relatively expensive. This diagram showing the part numbers and prices was found in the 1958 edition of Motor’s Flat Rate & Parts Manual:

Buick had advertised the bumper grille as “something that makes so much sense that it’s safe to say that it will start a new trend in styling,” but no such trend materialized and even Buick abandoned the idea for 1951.

1950 Buick Roadmaster Convertible
1950 Buick Jetback Sedans

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