RE: Ford Puma: Spotted

Wednesday 3rd April

Ford Puma: Spotted

Remember when Ford built cheap coupes, not crossovers?



What is it with car makers and the recent practise of reusing a formerly cool car name on a current crossover? Mitsubishi is one of the worst perpetrators, it having used Eclipse - the moniker previously applied to the pop-up headlight-wearing Mk1 and ultra-modifiable Mk2 lift back - to christen its hot-selling but bland, road-biased SUV; a car with precisely none of the quirkiness of its namesakes. Moreover, the brand has repeatedly threatened to bring back 'Evolution' for a jacked-up model, which is guaranteed to upset fans of the original Impreza-battling hero. And now Ford must be found guilty with news that it will bring back the Puma nameplate - as, you guessed it, for a compact crossover.

In the Blue Oval firm's defence, it has used the name to describe a car that's based on Fiesta underpinnings, as was the case with the much admired coupe. But if you're of a certain age, the descriptive is still synonymous with cheap and lift-off oversteery motoring provided by a simple and willing chassis, and powered by responsive atmospheric engines. It was capped by the Ford Racing Puma, of course, which is among the best front-drive cars ever made. And it became a proper competition machine, too, spawning the S1600 rally car. We can't know for sure yet, but it seems highly unlikely the upcoming Seat Arona-rivalling Puma SUV will have much interest in all that stuff.


At least the reputation of the original Puma appears intact. In fact, there seems to have been a bit of a resurgence in interest for this little Ford in recent months - or perhaps we're just drawn to more of the conversation on PH's forums thanks to our upcoming involvement in the EnduroKA series, which uses the KA that has a large percentage of shared parts with an old Fiesta. Either way, it seems there's no shortage of love for the Cologne two-door from the end of the last millennium. Like the first Focus, it's aged remarkably well. Even a good condition base-spec car can look stylish - although leave one parked in a modern car park and it'll look dinky. The new Fiesta, for example, is six centimetres longer than the 'stretched Mk4 Fiesta' Puma.

This fairly compact footprint, the simple layout of its underpinnings and the relative old schoolness of the structure meant Pumas could tip the scales at barely over a tonne. It meant every model, even the base stuff, felt nippy and eager, particularly through corners. As we know from our KA racing car, Ford's old hydraulic steering systems were really rather good, and its motors, while not always quick, enjoyed spinning as fast as possible. Coupled with good damping and you had yourself a cheap but very entertaining package.


Only 500 Racing Pumas were made, so they're rare and don't often come up for sale. When they do, they're not cheap. The most available model just so happens to be one of the next best options, the version that used the 1.7-litre 16v motor in standard 125hp form - although with so many Pumas succumbing to tin worm, only about 4,000 of these variants remain registered in Britain, almost half of what survived two years earlier. Interestingly, the lower-spec cars are even rarer, not just because their lower value will have meant rust is sending them to the grave earlier, but also because fewer were sold in the first place. Today's Spotted, a 1.4 16v, is one of just 384 left on the DVLA's books.

Could that explain why our chosen car for today is up for £5,750? Well, yes - but it has made the homepage today because it's absolutely mint. With only 12,556 miles on the clock, this 89hp 1.4 Puma has not only avoided the orangeing of metal, it's turned a path few Pumas could have ever dreamed of. It's become a collectable. And not just for the sort who see this and think how lovely it is because grandma had one back in '98; also for people who realise this era of car - when turn of the century machines were usable and fairly safe but also still light and nicely communicative - are almost completely extinct. The new Puma SUV will have a good infotainment system and be easy to live with, safe and economical. But command future classic status? Not on your nelly.


SPECIFICATIONS - FORD PUMA
Engine:
1,388cc, four-cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 89@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 92@4,500rpm
MPG: 39
CO2: 171g/km
First registered: 1998
Recorded mileage: 12,556miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £5,750

See the original advert here.

Author
Discussion

Leonardo101

Original Poster:

37 posts

14 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
A rare puma thats not rotted out like a 70's Lancia!

Shaw Tarse

28,847 posts

143 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all

sc0tt

16,146 posts

141 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Absolutely the wrong engine to be that money.

Nickp82

1,648 posts

33 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
sc0tt said:
Absolutely the wrong engine to be that money.
Agreed

Krikkit

14,778 posts

121 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Nickp82 said:
sc0tt said:
Absolutely the wrong engine to be that money.
Agreed
And another, what a miserable combination! I suppose a 1.7 transplant wouldn't be hard though, it's not like there aren't any low-mileage rotten ones to pinch bits from.
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Water Fairy

2,804 posts

95 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Shaw Tarse said:
No s**t Sherlock! Did you read the article?

mrtwisty

2,501 posts

105 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Bbwwaaahahahahahahaaa!

£5750!?!?

Now dont get me wrong, I love the Puma (had 2) but that is a silly, silly, silly price - even before you consider it has the poorest engine they came with.

At 21 years old, the mileage is more or less irrelevant unless it's going to a museum. If you wanted to drive and experience it as it should be, you would at a bare minimum want to re-bush the whole suspension.

Much better to find one that's been used often but fairly lightly and had plenty of ongoing TLC. Oh and the 1.7 motor of course. 2k would get you a belter from a club member surely?

Shaw Tarse

28,847 posts

143 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Water Fairy said:
Shaw Tarse said:
No s**t Sherlock! Did you read the article?
I could abuse mod privileges & delete, but I'll getmecoat

GranCab

1,417 posts

86 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
You just know that the white background = overpriced "classic" ....

maxwellwd

127 posts

26 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
I have a love/hate relationship with these cars. I bought one last year (1.7) which I thought was a good one, but literally within a couple of months there was bubbling on the rear arches and creeping along the cross member

I then bought a failed MOT thunder model so I could swap out the leather interior and I just couldn't believe how bad it had rusted. Never seen anything like it. Was an 02 model as well so one of the last (must feel old as it doesn't seem that long ago)

But these cars are great great fun (in 1.7 form) handle wonderfully, amazing gearchange and sound good when revving the nuts off it. bound for classic status for sure as there really are not many good ones around. This one is a joke at this price, it is essentially a fiesta with a puma bonnet in 1.4 guise.

I got rid of mine in the end before the rust spread even further and got a mini cooper s for similar handling thrills

egor110

11,107 posts

143 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
You'd be mad spending that on a puma .

Spend around £500 and just enjoy it , if you keep it a year then it fails the next mot big style it'll still be £500 well spent .

BUG4LIFE

1,372 posts

158 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
My Mum has a 2001 Puma with she bought when it was 6-months old. 18-years later, it still has less than 40k miles on the clock!

It's a nice spec too. Thunder Edition [leather, nice wheels, 1.7 etc]. I've often wondered how much it would be worth. I think near £6k, like this one, would be to much...I think it does have a bit rust, even though it's always been parked in the garage at there house.

Edited by BUG4LIFE on Wednesday 3rd April 09:38

maxwellwd

127 posts

26 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Just had a poke around on ebay and surely this is a much better bet if you want uber low mileage

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ford-Puma-1997-R-17-000...

Dal3D

601 posts

91 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
mrtwisty said:
Bbwwaaahahahahahahaaa!

£5750!?!?

Now dont get me wrong, I love the Puma (had 2) but that is a silly, silly, silly price - even before you consider it has the poorest engine they came with.

At 21 years old, the mileage is more or less irrelevant unless it's going to a museum. If you wanted to drive and experience it as it should be, you would at a bare minimum want to re-bush the whole suspension.

Much better to find one that's been used often but fairly lightly and had plenty of ongoing TLC. Oh and the 1.7 motor of course. 2k would get you a belter from a club member surely?
Decent ones are getting harder and harder to find these days. There are a few decent ones about for around £2k if you know where to go and what to look for.

Funny how when I co-created ProjectPuma.com about a dozen years ago they were still largely ridiculed as a girls car. But as modern cars have become lard-arsed technology fests, the little relatively lightweight and revvy coupe has made many new fans, not least on the cheaper end of track days.

it's just a shame the old tin worm has taken so many now making them quite a rare sight on the roads. frown


As far as this new model goes - The 48v Mild EV aspect might be clever and I'm sure it'll be a decent car but it won't have the spirit of it's namesake. They should have stuck with "Bronco" or even gone back to the Pumas prototype name "Lynx" or something just to be different.

Edited by Dal3D on Wednesday 3rd April 09:38

mrtwisty

2,501 posts

105 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Dal3D said:
largely ridiculed as a girls car.
I had a bit of that from a couple of acquaintances when I had mine years ago. My reply was always to throw them the keys and ask them what they thought when they got back from a drive.

I never found anyone with an ounce of petrol in their veins who didn't have a lot of fun in a well sorted Puma on an interesting b-road.


dunnoreally

272 posts

48 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
sc0tt said:
Absolutely the wrong engine to be that money.
+1

I had a 1.4 Puma as my first car. It was pretty darned cool as a 17yo, if I do say so myself, but even then it didn't take me long to realise it badly needed more power. I still yearn for a good 1.7, in part so I can do all the laundry list of engine tuning mods you find on the two forums and then raz it up Shelsley Walsh a few times.

cluckcluck

715 posts

125 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
Am I doing this right?!


bangerhoarder

22 posts

8 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
That is strong money for a 1.4!

My little 1.7 Black now stays garaged all year, the rust on that was borderline whether it could be saved, but a lot of welding (and fibreglass rear arches) got it last year's ticket. I'd hope it passes again this year, since having a suspension refresh, cambelt and new 280mm front discs. Not been cheap, but it's just so much fun!

Squirrelofwoe

2,645 posts

116 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
mrtwisty said:
I never found anyone with an ounce of petrol in their veins who didn't have a lot of fun in a well sorted Puma on an interesting b-road.
yes

Me too.

In my opinion they represent the most motoring fun you can buy for £500 (and less!).

Close family have had various 1.7s over the years, from a very tidy early example in the classic Blue, to a Puma Thunder, and a 1-owner red example purchased for not much more than the cost of a night out- and I would never pass up the opportunity to have a drive driving

Dal3D

601 posts

91 months

Wednesday 3rd April
quotequote all
mrtwisty said:
I had a bit of that from a couple of acquaintances when I had mine years ago. My reply was always to throw them the keys and ask them what they thought when they got back from a drive.

I never found anyone with an ounce of petrol in their veins who didn't have a lot of fun in a well sorted Puma on an interesting b-road.
Exactly that. Educate the uneducated.

Squirrelofwoe said:
yes

Me too.

In my opinion they represent the most motoring fun you can buy for £500 (and less!).

Close family have had various 1.7s over the years, from a very tidy early example in the classic Blue, to a Puma Thunder, and a 1-owner red example purchased for not much more than the cost of a night out- and I would never pass up the opportunity to have a drive driving
I'd have another in a heartbeat if I come across a decent one even though I've nowhere to keep it biggrin