The Puma on its way back from France. There's a ferry out there somewhere...
With a temporary absence of fancy motors in which to swan around, I've been piling on the miles in my little Ford Puma of late. But it has stood up to the task manfully.
Fog conveniently hides rusty arches...
And the trips haven't been limited to my 40-mile daily commute, either. In the past month the Ford has been to Cornwall and back, to Gloucestershire for BTaP, and even indulged in a spot of channel-hopping on a day trip to Lille (which yielded nothing more than a Christmas bauble - but that's another story entirely).
During that time it has cemented its reputation, chez Riggers, as a car that you wouldn't willingly choose for a motorway jaunt, as its already-buzzy (but willing) 1.7-litre engine isn't exactly tall-geared and that, combined with a roof shape that seems to amplify engine and road noise, makes it rather a wearing multi-lane companion.
... now protected by both grease...
The plus side, of course, is that you're keen to take the first opportunity to dive off the motorway to enjoy the crisp gearchange, zingy engine and genuinely (no, honestly) sublime chassis balance. No, it's not the world's best overtaker, but find a decent, well-sighted, lightly trafficked B-road and you can make pretty rapid progress. Only the weak brakes and, in the case of AX51 GGA, suspension bushes that are clearly in need of replacement, hold one back from really going for it.
But the looming spectre of the Holiday Season and (more to the point) its associated expenses means I'm going to have to soldier on until 2012 before tackling the Puma's suspension issues.
One issue I have already attacked, however, is the rust I mentioned in my previous report. On the advice of PHer PaulMoor I looked into getting hold of a corrosion-blocking substance called ACF50. Turns out this stuff comes in both spray can and tub-of-grease forms so, in a belt-and-braces kind of way, I thought I'd get both.
Now, if I were of a more scientific, methodical bent I would have slapped the grease under one arch, the spray under the other, and measured the (hopefully) slowed progress of the dreaded metal rot. But I've not done that - I've put both under both arches, mostly because I'm keen to offer AX51 GGA the maximum winter protection. As for whether it actually works or not, it's too early to say - I'll let you know on the other side of the winter. The good news is that the corrosion behind the arches isn't actually as bad as I'd initially feared, so a new set of wings shouldn't be necessary just yet.
PH fleet update: Ford Puma
Riggers is finding it tough to trust with his new Puma
Ps - if you want to try out ACF50 Corrosion Block for yourself you can get it at corrosionblock.co.uk
Puma tasked with a continental trip...
...to buy a bauble from here