If the lack of recent updates didn’t already betray it – progress has been slow. Delays seem all too normal and wait times continue to grow. After about a month at the body shop, I was able to pick up my new front bumper. And by new, I mean a used pre-’99 bumper I was able to find from a local RX-7 buddy. He had the bumper sitting in storage for years and was kind enough to give me it for FREE! On top of that, the bumper was actually in great shape. Typically, the plastics melt and deform from heat and sun exposure over the years. The top portion will become wavy, with darker colored cars being more prone to this. It’s hard to find a used bumper in the condition I was looking for across the country… yet I was able to grab this one a few miles from my house at no cost. Sometimes, things just work out.
The reason why the bumper took so long to get painted was because it had to be redone twice. I was explicit on getting a couple minor dips removed, since any imperfection will be visible to plain sight when painted black. I suspect that I am in the minority – having opted to go back to the older bumpers. Going through 2 ’99 bumpers has made me weary of them. They look sharp from certain angles but odd and bulky from others. With their narrower profile, the pre-’99 bumpers maintain a higher level of sleekness and look better without a plate, in my opinion.
Figuring out the front bumper for this car has been quite the ordeal. My primary concern was the fitment and lack of structural deformities, like the curled edge from the ’99s. Thankfully, this pre-’99 bumper has a better overall fit and finish. I may raise the hood latch up slightly in the future to tighten the gap in the front.
I screwed up mounting the front emblem because the double-sided tape wasn’t trimmed perfectly clean. It was already too late because the emblem had been stuck on and the tape bonded. This caused me to spend 2 extra hours carefully removing the emblem and scraping off all the tape residue. The task was particularly stressful because the bumper had fresh paint.
I purposefully chose the regular R-package front lip to stick with the “stock body” theme. The other idea was to leverage the RX-7’s more retro appeal. With the bumper installed, I planned on installing the wheels and lowering the car back onto the ground. Unfortunately, since I am no longer running a 5mm spacer at the front with the Advans, the extended ARP studs hit the top of my Project Kics REVO lug nuts. This means I will have to buy another set of Project Kics lug nuts in open-ended form to mount the front wheels… awesome. I’m sure you can see how this stuff can get expensive, fast.