The Ford Puma is a compact coupé that was produced by Ford Europe from September 1997 to July 2002. The Puma was built exclusively at Ford’s Niehl plant in Cologne, Germany. The Ford Puma follows common design cues with other Ford cars at the time, and is in the New Edge family of vehicles.
All Pumas are front-engined, front-wheel-drive, three-door coupés with four seats. They came with 15-inch (380 mm) alloy wheels as standard, (although the Ford Racing Puma was equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels) with front disc and rear drum brakes. The car was based on the Mark 4 Ford Fiesta, with new engines (codeveloped with Yamaha), a new body, stiffer suspension, wider track and close-ratio gearbox, among other changes.
The Ford Racing Puma was the name eventually given to Ford’s concept Puma, the Puma RS, which was first unveiled to the public at the 1999 Geneva Motorshow. At the time, Ford were keen to stress that this was no mere styling job and the idea was to transfer the know-how and technology learned directly from Ford Puma race and rally programmes to a road car. It was created by the Ford Rally specialist team at Boreham. The strictly limited production run was initially pencilled to run for 1000 units, with 500 destined for the German market, and 500 for the UK. All conversions were carried out by Tickford, Daventry UK. In the end, only the 500 destined for the UK market were produced and sold.
Less than half of the 500 cars were actually sold directly to customers, with the vehicle’s high price (£23,000 when new) often cited as a reason, as rival performance cars such as the Subaru Impreza (with an additional 50+ BHP/Turbo, four-wheel-drive and rallying pedigree) were being offered for a maximum of £21,000 with the optional Pro Drive pack. The lower than anticipated demand had Ford offering Racing Pumas to senior managers through their MRC scheme, which enabled cars to continue being registered and converted. The lack of demand when brand new has actually paid off in the longer-term, as the rarity of the Racing Puma has allowed it to maintain an increased value over the standard Puma.
LSD, Air conditioning, ABS with traction control, Dual airbags, Electric windows, Electric heated door mirrors, ‘Quickclear’ heated windscreen, CD player, Perimeter alarm, Safeguard vehicle immobiliser.
All Racing Pumas left the factory painted metallic Imperial Blue to signify their special racing edition status; a hue only merited by the illustrious Ford Escort Cosworth and Mk.1 Ford Focus RS edition models. Our in house team have carefully corrected the paintwork and the results are fantastic with a consistent lustre throughout. Perfectly proportioned and well presented this Puma pops beautifully in the studio and in natural light.
Bodywork has been beefed up with wider lightweight aluminium front and steel rear overhangs, covering a substantially widened track at both the front and rear requiring unique driveshafts. The S1600 rally Puma is just 35mm wider! A front aerodynamic air splitter and modified wider front bumper with sports grill round up the styling accolades.
The interior space fells identikit Super 1600 rally stage – entirely focused and draped in Motorsport blue. Sparco were commissioned to provide high-grip bucket seats that proudly wear the Ford Racing embem whilst the wheel is also treated to Alcantara – both seats and wheel exhibit excellent colour and texture. The door cards, rear seats, and rear interior were also trimmed with the same material that have survived well in keeping with the rest of the cabin space.
Subtle bright work to the Gear knob and Racing sills are a welcome addition alongside the aluminium look dash facia.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Due to spiralling project costs the project to turbocharge the engine was shelved; the Racing Puma engineers were forced to keep their changes within a normally aspirated engine. New camshafts, air intake, a complete exhaust system by Janspeed and a revised engine management software help to increase power by 30 hp.
The standard IB5 gearbox was strengthened on the Racing Puma in comparison to the standard models. It contains modified shafts which have been shot peened to withstand the extra load. In this case the gearbox has been overhauled with the addition of an LSD making a marked improvement in performance.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
Rally stage Speedline Corse Turini alloys present unmarked wrapped in premium rubber with plenty of tread depth remaining. Ford partnered with Alcon Design to produce a 4-Piston Motorsport braking system that is more than a match for the power to weight ratio; discs / pads are on good shape. Brakes have been stripped and rebuilt twice to ensure they operate as they should.
These brakes are one of the defining attributes of the Racing Puma and they contribute significantly to enabling the standard 1,174 kg car to pull a substantial 1.1g+ of braking force in the dry.
The original service history log features the RAC provisional pass on the 7th September, 2000.
In addition to 12 stamps in the book a chronological history file of paperwork lists almost the entire parts and service history including clutch repalcement and IB5 gearbox rebuild with LSD.
A full book pack with all original literature and spare key are also present.
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