PH Fleet update: Ford Puma

We don't really do product reviews here on PH. So when Autoglym popped along to PH HQ a little while back, eager to show off its brand-new, re-formulated range (complete with a new-look bottle, logo and everything), we were a little embarrassed. How could we give them a bit of coverage without it seeming like nothing more than editorial puff?

The Puma calls
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

Enough products for you?
Enough products for you?
A couple of months later I duly arrived at Autoglym's HQ in Letchworth. After a brief tour of the facilities that included the lab (like a posh school science room, only with expensive machinery that actually works) and the main factory (oddly like a distillery or wine-maker's, but with cleaning unguents in the massive vats instead of alcohol) we headed off to the valeting bays.

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.

A spot of 'beading porn'
A spot of 'beading porn'
I won't go into detail over each product he used, as it would not be the most exciting thing to read. But a few things really stood out. Like how much dirt you can shift without using a sponge, or how you wash and polish in straight line rather than swirls, so scratches are less likely to show if you accidentally get grit on your sponge or cloth.

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.

As I left - with a very clean car indeed - a bag chock full of various polishes, waxes and shampoos was pressed into my hand, most of which I must confess I already had tucked away in my collection at home. Like I said, I like the idea of a wax-tastic car, but suffer too much inertia to actually get stuck in on a regular basis.

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.

Autoglym's best efforts can't reverse the march of ferrous oxide on the Puma's rear arches, of course, nor can it sort out the suspension, which I am convinced is far from perfect, but haven't yet had the guts - or cash - to tackle.

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...

Fact sheet:
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

Previous reports:
Continental jaunts and Corrosion block for Riggers's Puma
Riggers is finding it tough to trust with his new Puma

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (35) Join the discussion on the forum

  • FWDRacer 19 Mar 2012

    Was all that handbagging less than a set of polybushes for the Puma.

    Talk about scewed priorities. Polishingheads now is it?

  • Dave Hedgehog 19 Mar 2012

    the foams worth more than the car wink

    never really liked the puma/tigra, bargain motoring thou

  • Riggers 19 Mar 2012

    Dave Hedgehog said:
    the foams worth more than the car wink

    never really liked the puma/tigra, bargain motoring thou
    Tigra? In the same sentence as the Puma? How very dare you... wink

  • Dave Hedgehog 19 Mar 2012

    Riggers said:
    Dave Hedgehog said:
    the foams worth more than the car wink

    never really liked the puma/tigra, bargain motoring thou
    Tigra? In the same sentence as the Puma? How very dare you... wink
    I did resist mentioning "girly car" after the death threats I got in the boxster article tongue out

    Mind you this puma would spank my car now frown

  • MadDog1962 19 Mar 2012

    These Pumas are really great little cars. Just because you only pay a grand for it ("shed" money) doesn't mean it does not deserve a bit of TLC.

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