A front-end bra (car bra, front-end mask, hood bra, auto bra, hood mask, or car mask) is a stretchy type of vinyl (usually black) that attaches to the front of a car or other vehicle to protect the bumper, hood, and sides of the fender from scratches, paint chipping, and other minor damage from rocks, gravel, and other road debris. The bottom side of the bra is lined with a feltlike material.
Bill Colgan, founder of Colgan Custom Manufacturing, Inc. successfully operated a trim and upholstery business in Burbank, California for fifteen years prior to creating the car bra business. The "Original Car Bra" was invented in 1961 when three German engineers from Lockheed walked into Bill's upholstery shop, asking Colgan if he could redesign a protective cover for their personal Porsches. The very first pattern was for the Porsche 356. The pattern Colgan designed was the creation of the one-piece "Original Car Bra."
There are several types of car bras, including full, sport, and T-style. The car bra can also be carbon-based, ostensibly to absorb the microwaves used in police radar equipment and thus minimize the risk of detection when speeding.
Some automobile manufacturers use larger bras to cover the entire vehicle (or certain parts of it) to conceal its design when road-testing.
- "bra." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. (February 9, 2010). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-bra.html
- Although not everyone agrees: car bras can retain moisture, catch air (reducing aerodynamics), induce scratches, and trash the paint. Junk on Your Trunk: 15 Terrible Automotive Accessories, Car and Driver, Phil Leitz, February 2009
- "101 Projects for Your Porsche 911", Wayne R. Dempsey, MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company, 2001, ISBN 978-0-7603-0853-0
- "A Brief History of the 'Bra' by Colgan", Bill Colgan, 1988
- "Car Bras Research Guide", AutoAnything, retrieved 2010-2-9
- "Car Bras For New Fashion", Andrew Bernhardt, streetdirectory.com
- "A Guide to the Car Bra", Waxner, 12 December 2008
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