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Posts Tagged ‘rear bumper’

Rear Bumpers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM step beds during 1955-1966 are almost the same. They even use identical tailgates. Thus GM did not find it necessary to change the rear bumper stamping during these 12 years. However, there is one important difference which distinguishes the 1955-1959 from 1960-1966 rear stepbed bumpers.

 rear bumper plate

During 1960-1966 GM placed two stamped square holes (not in 1955 through 1959) on either side of the center dip below the license plate. This is because the later series had their license plate bracket attached to this bumper, not to the rear bed cross sill as in the earlier 1955-1959

Rear Bumper Options

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Ever wonder why GM pickup rear bumpers have been an option for so many years?


Beginning in 1951 these bumpers became an extra cost option and have remained this way ever since on most pickup models.

The reason relates to trucks being mostly for work. Though protecting the bed from minor rear damage, a bumper also kept the driver from backing up against a loading dock. GM found that many farmers and construction workers had been removing the rear bumper to get the truck flush against a dock. This eliminated most of the gap between the truck and dock. Broken legs of livestock and employees during loading were also greatly reduced.

The following picture is an example of a 1955 and newer GM step bed pickup. Its owner went against the current trend of adding the optional rear bumper during its restoration and kept his truck basic. It is important to note, that to protect the license plate bracket without a bumper, GM placed it on the left side. Holes are in the middle of the rear cross sill from the factory to make it easier for the dealer to install the rear center license plate bracket while adding the optional bumper.

Note the rear spare tire arm is at an angle to also protect it from damage if backing or being even lightly bumped in traffic.

This picture shows an optional right taillight. From the assembly line this truck would have only the left light with attached license bracket.

rear bumper options 1

Without optional bumper. Owner has added a right tail light. (above)

rear bumper option 2

Factory installed optional bumper including correct tail lights and license bracket (above)

1954 Rear Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In 1954, GM introduced their new deeper improved stepbed. With this design the optional rear bumper required the license to be moved to the center. This eliminated clearance problems between the bumper and the left side mounted license plate.

To save the creation of a totally new rear bumper, GM placed a dip in their pre-existing 1947-1953 unit. This was necessary to allow for complete viewing of the license in its new position.

The following picture shows the correct bumper with a good view of the license plate. The other pictures are of the earlier bumper on a 1954. Only a portion of the license is visible.

1954 bumper 1

Earlier incorrect bumper on a 1954 (above)

1954 bumper 2

Earlier incorrect bumper on a 1954 (above)

1954 earlier bumper 3

Correct 1954 Bumper (above)