Dogs and bumper bars

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I had a good mate called Alan. Came from the UK and was a serious bike rider. The sort of serious bike rider who goes to the Isle Of Man every year, rain, hail or snow, and you can be guaranteed to get at least two of those options. Alan died a couple of years ago, and even had his ashes spread on his favorite corner of the course. Alan was a good bloke, though a little over the top with dogs.

He had two, one I called ‘Needle Nose’ which was supposedly a Doberman, and the other a giant mutt of a dog, a Rottweiler. Collectively, I reckon they had about as much brain power as my kitchen tap, but then I’m not really a dog guy.

One day I dropped around and found him standing knee-deep in dog as usual, but peering at the rear bumper of his Honda Jazz. Or I should say, where the dogs had eaten the rear bumper of his Honda Jazz. I kid you not, the damn dogs had eaten the left side of the bumper where it (used to) join on to the body, the metal of which now also had canine dental imprints.

Now when zoo animals attack humans they are shot. If the Jazz had been mine, they would have been calling for the K9 undertakers, though I might have had one stuffed just so that I could kick its doggie backside when I felt in need of cheering up.

You see, this was not their first attempt at eating cars. Previous attempts included one car tyre, while still attached to the vehicle I might add, and another episode where they ate the seat and the electrics and fuel injection hoses off his motorcycle. Puts a new complexion on the term “omnivore” doesn’t it?

Now that tale does have some importance in this week’s column, because have you noticed just how today’s bumper bars just fall off the vehicles they are supposed to protect from minor bumps? Come on, that’s why they were called “bumper bars” in the first place. So, how many cars have you seen recently with tape holding the bumper bar in position, both front and rear bars? Lots, is the answer.

Of course, that is referring to new or nearly new cars. Old cars had two dumb irons out the front, attached to which was something about the size of a piece of railway line, but it was chromed. It was bolted in place and it took three days soaking in oil before you could get the nuts to move. Those were real “bumper bars” made of steel, none of this newfangled plastic stuff.

And when you think about it, just how much use is the thermoformed plastic as a bumper? About as useful as a hip pocket in a swim suit. The slightest “bump” when parking, and the retaining clips all fly off and the so-called “bumper” falls on the ground. In theory, if you could get some new clips, you should be able to affix said bumper back on the car, but like all good theories, they don’t always work in practice. New clips as a single item do not exist. They come with a new bumper, they tell me. And we were all led to believe that the new bumpers would be so much cheaper than repairing the old metal ones, with all that beating and rechroming. However, I must say that a new one is definitely quicker to replace – provided the clips came with it.