PH Fleet update: Ford Puma
Riggers makes his very own shed all shiny - because a wash is as good as getting that suspension sorted...
Fortunately, one of the chaps who came along for the demonstration spotted my Puma nestling forlornly beneath the trees in the car park, complete with bird-sourced garnish. Taking in the brake dust, the withered-looking window seals and said bird-doings, and muttering disappointed noises as he felt with his hand the frankly crappy nature of the paintwork, he solemnly handed me a packet of bird-dropping wipes. "These'll do for a start, but perhaps you'd like to bring your car over to us at some point, and we can show you what the full range can do."
Now, being a chap who likes the effect of a thoroughly clean car, but not the effort apparently involved, it was all I could do not to bite the poor fellow's hand off.
Now for the science bit
These are a car cleaning fetishist's wet dream, with a 'wet bay' replete with super high-pressure jet wash and a 'dry bay' with an example of every single product line Autoglym makes. And it was in these two bays that I saw Barney (kind of a Yoda figure for apprentice car valeters, only not a wizened, fictional alien) work something akin to magic on the Puma, without much in the way of visible effort.
Other titbits? If you're going to use a clay bar on your car, pop your fingers in the cellophane wrapping of a cigarette packet and run them over the paintwork of the car before and after - the plastic accentuates your sensitivity to the lumps and bumps on the paintwork that the clay removes, and the before-and-after feeling is so much more satisfying.
But, courtesy of Barney's sage advice, I now know I needn't put in too much effort, and since then the Puma has received a quick wash every weekend, followed by either a polish, a quick liquid wax, or a 'high-definition' wax.
Why so much effort on a shed?
All of this might seem borderline obsessive, especially on a car worth - at its absolute best - a grand. But if you're reading this then you don't need me to tell you that, for the likes of us, car ownership is not about logic or pragmatism.
But the ACF-50 corrosion blocker I wrote about in my last report seems to have prevented the rusting arches from significant deterioration over the winter, and I keep telling myself I'll sort out the suspension soon.
In the meantime I can keep myself distracted from the truly pressing issues by keeping AX51 GGA nice and shiny...
Car: 2001 Ford Puma
Run by: Matt Rigby
Bought: June 2011
Purchase price: 1,000
Last month at a glance: Time to get AX51 GGA spruced up with a spring clean - potential suspension issues brushed under carpet
never really liked the puma/tigra, bargain motoring thou
Mind you this puma would spank my car now
Whilst I let the girly comment pass, I wouldn't stand for the Tigra insult. There's a world of difference between them - unlike the Corsa coupe, the Puma is more than just a Fiesta in a shiny dress.
He did, however, change his tune somewhat later, and said 'Well, I think that's probably the briskest test drive I've ever sat in on'.
Wicked little cars the Puma's, as said could not be further from the Tigra, horrific chassis.
As for the paintwork, sounds like good work to me! But who wouldn't take up such an offer. I went through a stage of anal cleaning (in car hygiene terms that is, no irrigation ta), and one day thankfully woke up to realise I was spending ridiculous amounts of money on a hatchback. On the more luxurious end of a stables metal, yes. Im thinking Maser's, De Tomaso's. On most road or 'weekend' cars, waste of time in my eyes. A nice polish, wax, wheel wax etc is all good, but all these Odod pastes and accessories are only so popular thanks to some very well structured forum placements by the firms marketing and selling the stuff.
I remember following a link to a guy on detailingworld who'd bought an Arden Blue Astra VXR shortly after release, and spent a lot of time, effort and moolar on detailing it to within an inch of its life even though it hadnt got much further than delivery miles. Its a f**king Astra.
If you're looking at the suspension do NOT buy Eibach springs as they make it all but undriveable on British roads. I sucessfully ruined by wife's Puma in this way a few years back!
And the front bushes failed at 35k miles on our Puma and it was more cost effective to just get new lower wishbones with new bushes already pressed in place
Just had >700 on wifes, reear bushes and lambda being main things - amazing how you get used to it degrading and just go along with it.
It is So fast now fuleing right (revs like made), but will bring the mpg back as been crap last 6 months+. Handling now go-kart like again (Eibachs help, as do the massive ST170 stoppers on wifes.
They are BRILLIANT road cars tho, they're nippy, light and they soak up the bumps without question. Lovely gearchange - decent steering - all adds-up to a package which is VASTLY better the tedious understeering stodge of the Tigra.
For track work you'd want stiffer suspension and bigger brakes at the very least - and they still feel a bit 'top heavy' to me even then.
There are far better track slags - leave Pumas on the road, it's their habitat.