SOTW Special: Ford Puma

Riggers blocks out rust-prone areas...
Riggers blocks out rust-prone areas...
I knew it was too good to be true. My beloved BMW 328i Touring (bought last summer amid much SOTW fanfare) has gone to the great scrapheap in the sky (well, Surrey).

Of course, as a car of dubious mileage, patchy history and crumbling bodywork (in places), it was unlikely to last all that long, but it still saddened me to have to wave it off as it trundled away on the salvage merchant's low-loader.

That is, of course, the game you play with shedding. Your bargain-basement purchase might last you for years, or it might go pop, as mine did. And you can't get sentimental with a Shed and start lavishing time and money on it, because that way lies penurious ruin (see Garlick's PH fleet updates for details - though none of his cars are technically sheds...pricewise).

So when the head gasket went on the Beemer's big six (after 11 months and 5000 miles of trouble-free running) I knew it was time to get rid.

But there is always a silver lining to such things, and in this particular case it means getting to go and buy a new car. A process I love. Endlessly browsing the classifieds, vowing to go and see several cars, promising yourself that you'll carefully and dispassionately assess every one... and then falling in love with the first one you actually go and see, and sticking some money down. Sadly, a lack of funds means that the Riggers household must stick strictly to a one-shed rule, and so I don't get to do this all that often, which is a shame.

After much deliberation, the OH and I had narrowed our options down to one type of car - A Ford Puma. I knew from us having previously featured a Puma as SOTW that these chirpy little coupes are plentiful and cheap, so the wait for the right one was on.

As the 3-series sat mouldering on our driveway, a parade of Pumas danced across the PH office laptops (generally when I should have been doing something more productive), but none was right. Too leggy, too dented, too expensive, too far away or - most often - too rusty.

But eventually the search homed in on the car you see here. A Goldilocks Puma. Not too pricy, not too high mileage, not too far away and - crucially - with service history and evidence of a cambelt and head gasket change in its recent past.

In the metal the Puma proved to be as tidy-looking as the pics promised. A thorough going-over and a brief test drive threw up nothing worse than slightly tired brakes, and a whole lot of good stuff - tight gearchange, firm and healthy suspension, no clonks, whirrs or other nasties from the engine.

As a 'Thunder' edition it's also one of the last Pumas built (1000 came in Silver, another 1000 in grey) and gets a load of extra kit including leather, a heated windscreen, special alloys (everybody say 'ooh') and traction control (everybody say 'aah'). We were sold.

In doing so we technically bent the rules of SOTW somewhat, because the chap had it advertised for £1150, but we did shake on £1000, so we do still squeak into legitimate shed territory.

So what do I think so far? Well, we're barely 12 hours into the ownership experience as I write this, but it's ruddy great so far. The 123bhp 1.7-litre motor still feels zingy, the gearchange is oh-my-God lovely and - so far - everything still works. I have my fingers crossed that this will continue to be the case...

Advert is reproduced below


2001 Ford Puma 1.7i Thunder, MOT June 2012, Tax August 2011, Air Con, Full Leather Interior, Alloy Wheels, ABS, Traction Control, Heated Front Windscreen, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Remote Central Locking, CD PLayer with MP3 Connection, 2 New Front Tyres, Recent Cam Belt Change, Head Gasket & Thermostat. All old MOT's & Part Service History, Drives Well and Bodywork in Good Condition. Reluctant Sale.

Out with the old (sniff, etc...) ...
Out with the old (sniff, etc...) ...
...and in with the new. Mmm... shiny new things...
...and in with the new. Mmm... shiny new things...


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Comments (253) Join the discussion on the forum

  • BadgerBill 15 Jul 2011

    Fwd - check
    Sub 2 litres - check
    Spanish 'box - check
    Less cyl than wheels - check

    Shed - fail.eeknonobiggrin


  • Dave_ST220 15 Jul 2011

    Have you driven one?

  • Rawwr 15 Jul 2011

    BadgerBill said:
    Fwd - check
    Sub 2 litres - check
    Spanish 'box - check
    Less cyl than wheels - check

    Shed - fail.eeknonobiggrin

    OP fail.

  • Papa Hotel 15 Jul 2011

    Awesome! Is the Puma the first car to feature three times as SOTW?

  • theironduke 15 Jul 2011

    Lots of cheap ones on the bay well below SOTW money (mine included frown)

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