New Member, Second Time owner


Help Support ProjectPuma:


New member
Mar 6, 2019
Hello all

As the title, I’m a second time owner.
Puma was the first car I genuinely aspired to, that i could reasonably afford to own.
Having learnt to drive on a Fiesta MK2 (1.1 Holiday Special Edition) progressed to standard Fiesta MK3 1.1LX (pre cat).
Once i graduated from Uni to my first full time job in 2001, I immediately searched for a Puma.

Went for a 1.4 as I had (still have) a fairly heavy right foot and wanted to reduce my risk of stuffing myself through a hedge.

In late 2001, ended up getting hold of March 98, R plate, 1.4 in Racing Green; I remember it had a below average mileage with one previous owner; loved it, amazed by the grip and handling.
Even for a 1.4 still went like stink; seemed generally fuel efficient and didn't seem to make much difference when loaded up with a couple of passengers and a boot full of climbing gear and bags packed for a week away in Scotland. Also regularly swallowed 2 mountain bikes.
Ended up owning for 8 years, making may way through numerous brake pipes and at least 3 front suspension arm sets; I spent most weekends driving (in a spirited fashion) through the Peak District.
In the 8 years of its 11 years, it didn’t suffer from the classic rot (it did live under a carport for the last 3 years i owned it) the gremlins started to occur in the electrics, mainly related to the central locking, specifically related to the boot release, plus other bits n bobs i now forget.
At the time I couldn’t afford the ongoing costs and needed a bigger car, so sadly had to give it up; i did move to an Alfa.....

Move on 9 years, the Alfa lasted 5 years and the subsequent Honda Civic MK8 is going strong, I keep reading motoring articles referencing the Puma and how it was and still is recognised as an excellent piece of kit; following my petrolhead relatives (one ones an MG75 with the Mustang V8) I had been looking around for a car to keep as a classic, for high days and holidays; I’d considered a Rover RV8, or a Dolomite Sprint, then looked at what Pumas were available.

Recently saw a number on a well known auction site, one specifically with a low mileage in seemingly really good condition with cill work and suspensions mounts already dealt with and not suffering from wheelarch rot, albeit with a rather optimistic price.

So have now ended up with a 02 plate Thunder, with approx 42k on the clock. Picked up from deep in the countryside, so first drive home was great to get back into the feel; have subsequently spent a few hours hooning about the Peak District in the evenings and has definitely brought a smile to my face as I rediscover just how much grip the Puma has.

Things that needed looking at;
Tail gate trim and parcel shelf buttons are not fixed firmly to the boot lid (currently sourcing Focus parcel shelf buttons in an attempt to connect directly to the boot lid metal).
Parcel shelf has been repaired but with mis-matched colour rivets, so looking to replace with a black one; bit still reasonable as is.
Dashboard has seemingly been extracted at some point such that the screw cover to the far left of the central vents was missing along with the horizontal control tab to the centre left air vent missing - both resolved by buying and scavenging from a Fiesta MK4/5 black dash surround.
Have removed the wheel arch linings to inspect the full extent of the seams, which appear to be in good and painted condition with no obvious signs of corrosion.
Swept out the handfuls of soil trapped in the lower edges of the wheel arches and opened up the integral drain holes. I was going to completely omit the rear wheel arch linings but after discovering that these are an open void to the C pillars etc, I’ve decided to re-fit and ensure I regularly keep the wheel arches clean and maintained.
Throttle response is a bit flat with a lot of pedal travel and not a lot of action until the pedal is well and truely buried in the carpet and is a bit hesitant / stuttered when tootling around town; although a very late night re-fuel with high grade fuel might have solved that, I need to test it out.
But it seems to sing rather well at the upper rev range; I’ve just got used to turbo diesels so am having to re-train my brain to think Petrol (VVT).
Air con albeit apparently working fine last year isn’t really pumping out the chilled air although it might simply not be cutting in due to the current cold weather.

Well, that’ll do for now; the poor throttle response is my biggest concern and I’m no grease monkey, so it’ll be dropped off at my friendly independent to take a look.


Staff member
Oct 3, 2007
:cool: welcome back to the fold. Sounds like you've picked up a good one, if it's got a bit flat then I'm sure that this will be improved with some basic maintenance, servicing, plugs, filters etc.

Good luck getting it where you want it, have fun.


New member
Mar 6, 2019
Cheers all, thanks for the welcome.

Well, after filling up with a tank of premium fuel, it’s a completely different beast! It now has poke where you expect it to be on the pedal and that was just for doing a run around the local run road at 40-50; looking forward to getting it back out on the country lanes etc to re-discover what it can really do :)


New member
Mar 6, 2019

So decided to give it a reasonable run the other weekend after the premium fuel re-fill.
Little bugger goes and lights up the engine management malfunction warning, whilst bowling along at 80!
Gingerly made my way to a safe spot to consult the user guide; fortunately considered a minor fault, so eased my way home to call and book in to my friendly and trustworthy independent.
Booked in for a diagnosis, and general check-up for their opinion - on looking at the paperwork realised it should have a service too, so booked a basic for oil change too, which ended up needing a brake fluid change as well - okay, so no problem.
Diagnostic suggested it was a fuel fault.....I’m hoping it’s just telling me not to fill up with the cheap stuff again; and bearing in mind what we’re paying for the black stuff at the moment, premium is still coming in cheaper.
Seemingly the crew at the garage were genuinely impressed with the condition (fully aware of the rot box reputation) and nothing else was highlighted :) so happy days.

Have now tinkered with the tailgate trim; the Focus items are longer and slightly thicker than whatever the originals were (this one already having been modified to effect a repair with others that didn’t even connect back into the metal)
Needed to ream out the holes in the trim to about 7mm and trim off a shoulder on the buttons but after a bit of fiddling its all gone together okay. Essentially the tail gate trim is now partially supported by the buttons rather than the trim doing all the support as when i bought it.
Having made the repair it does become obvious just how much linear (and shear) tension the buttons are under to support the parcel shelf strings; will see how it goes but might re-position the cords in the parcel shelf to minimise the linear tension.

Well, enough for now; next to look at a hand cleaning of the engine bay with a solvent soaked rag etc (no steam cleans here) just to bring it more in line with the exterior condition.

Latest posts