In grand world of Gearheadom, it seems like the quickest way to find common ground with another member is via mutual, enjoyable bitching about something. And there seem to be some things in the car-world that almost everyone likes to bitch about. But just maybe some don’t deserve the universal hate?

Here’s an example of what I’m thinking of: bumper standards for any car sold in the U.S. changed in 1974, requiring all cars to be able to absorb, without damage, a 5 mph impact. That’s a pretty good whack.

Because of the pretty-goodness of such a whack, cars started to come with massive, diving-board-like bumpers mounted on beefy shock-absorbing struts. Almost everyone I know hates hates hates these big-ass bumpers, and I used to totally agree.

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Now? I’m just not so sure anymore. I mean, sure, aesthetically, I prefer the elegant chrome blades of the earlier bumpers, but I can’t help but respect those massive 5 mph ram-bars for how well they do their jobs. I’ve driven cars with them, and been in minor wrecks, and those big brutes do exactly what they say: absorb impact, and protect the car.

So, I now think maybe, just maybe, they don’t deserve the scorn and wrath they receive. I’m sure there’s plenty of other fantastic examples, so, please, tell me what you think deserves a break! I’ll keep an open mind.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.