The Ford Puma gained instant kudos when it was launched in 1997 with an award winning TV advert by Paul Street that featured clips from the film Bullitt and it’s star Steve McQueen apparently driving the little new Coupé.
The Puma was based around the Ford Fiesta Mk4 chassis pan and running gear and came with four 16 valve engine options with power ranging from 90 to 153 hp.
Styling of the Puma followed Ford’s ‘New Edge’ styling theme that was first seen on the Ford Ka and second generation Mondeo 1996.
Like the Ford Ka the Puma was also a niche market model, one which generated four special editions and a fifth kit car competition version. The Zinc Yellow of the vehicle seen above indicates the car is one of 1000 Millenium Puma’s built in 2000 of which over 700 are still thought to be on the road.
The example above seen competing in the Regency Sprint at Castle Combe last year shared by Toby Harris and Lisa Selby is a 1997 model that has been upgraded with lightweight Carbon Fibre bonnet/hood and boot/trunk lid. The performance of this car has been further enhanced by the edition of a turbocharger.
The vehicle featured in the top photo and the one above appears to be one of just 500 wide body 153hp Ford Racing Puma’s that was based on a styling exercise seen in 1999 called the ST160. Like the Ford Sierra RS 500 Cosworth all Racing Puma’s were built by Tickford’s, and were the only Puma’s not to be built at Ford Niehl Plant in Cologne Germany. Note the wheels and rear spoiler on this car appear to be after market items.
Last year the Ford Puma 1.7 was awarded the ‘Best Gem for under £1000’ award by What Car Magazine, the most desirable of all is the Racing Puma which despite losing Ford money on each one of the 500 sold and more than half having to be palmed off on lucky Ford employees at favourable rates are holding values five to seven times that which the lesser models fetch.
Here is what one user, Ophelia, said about her Puma in 2002 “It is not a practical car, so don’t get rid of your Volvo yet but it is fun and it is effective and, all in all I do like it (but don’t tell my husband).”
Thanks for joining me on this ‘A Drivers Dream’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !