Panther black Puma from Prague


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Feb 24, 2019
Prague, Czech Republic
Hi everyone,

My name is Ondra, I am currently 22 and I come from Prague in the Czech Republic. I have been on this forum for a while and haven’t really been active here. But lately I have found out, that the Puma community here is amazing and a lot of posts from the guys here have helped with my own car. So I thought that I would also like to introduce my own Puma, which is my first and so far only car.

My Puma is a Panther Black 1.6 model from June 2001 (I was also born June 2001 :)). It was first sold in Italy where it had only one lady owner. It then had been imported to the Czech Republic by the end of 2018 by a car dealership where I have bought it in March 2019 with 170k kms (about 106k miles for the Imperial units guys :-D). It was even before I had my drivers license, so we had to bring it home on a trailer with my dad. Here is a photo from our trip home. :)
Since it was driving on Italian salt-free roads all its life, it has not been infected with the usual brown plague and it is absolutely rust free on the places, where Pumas usually rot away. Even though I still use it as my daily car even during the winters, I try to do my best to keep it as clean and rust free, but as soon as my financial situation allows (I am still a student of a university) I will buy some other car for daily use and keep the Puma just as a car for summer and dry weather. :)
In this thread I will try to document all the things about the car. I will shortly sum up my history with the car and will try to post all my future projects and repairs of the car. I am not a car mechanic, but I have studied a technical high school with focus on cars and vehicles and have some experience of restoring historic cars from my previous apprenticeship. I am currently starting my Masters study of Combustion engines at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague. I have learned a lot of stuff and gained a lot of experience from working on my car by myself with the help of threads on forums such as this, so I hope I can also contribute to the community and maybe my posts will also help another fellow Puma owner.

I also hope that my English is somewhat understandable, since I am not a native speaker. ;)
Throughout my ownership of the car I have done a lots of work and maintenance on it, mostly to keep it in good running condition and keep it as original as I can, but still trying to keep it within my low student budget. 😆

Aside from the regular annual maintenance and several brake services I have changed all the shock absorbers since it didn’t pass my first STK (Czech equivalent of the MOT) because of them all leaking. After my first holiday in Italy I have changed the alternator because of a faulty voltage regulator. The original alternator is still waiting for me to refurbish it for over two years now.. 😆 I have also done the cam belt, water pump and thermostat with its housing and front camshaft and crankshaft seals. I have also removed the fuel tank to change the rubber fuel hoses, since they were starting to be a bit crusty. I am now starting to regret that I didn’t change the fuel pump while the tank was out, because I am starting to feel that the pump might be on its way, so I am guessing that I will be removing the tank again anytime soon. :D You can see some photos I took over the years while working on the car.
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I have also made some slight cosmetic changes to the car. I have had the gear knob chrome plated and polished. Since the Puma logo in front of the gear lever was missing, I have modelled one in CAD and had it 3D printed. If someone would be interested I can still provide them with the CAD files, so they can print it by themselves. I have also put one on the boot to cover up a mark from a sticker I couldn’t get rid of. I have reupholstered the door trim with a different fabric, since the original upholstery was falling apart. I have also had my steering wheel reupholstered at a local leather shop. I have always loved the look of the propeller wheels on a Puma, so when a chance to buy a set of those wheels came, I did not hesitate, even though the 1.6 was never sold with those wheels (at least to my knowledge).
I have also taken the Puma on some trips across the Czech Republic and other countries in Europe, mainly to Italy, France and Poland. Here are some photos from the travels over the years.
Krusne hory, Czechia
The Ferrari Museum in MaranelloIMG_9868.jpeg
San Gimignano, Italy
Apuan Alps and Cinque Terre, Italy
Marble quarries near Carrara, Italy
Attersee, Austria
Belluno, Italy
The summit of Mont Ventoux, France
Bohemia region, Czechia
Lago di Garda, Italy
During my holiday in France in 2022 came a moment I am still ashamed of until today….I have crashed the Puma. I got distracted for a brief moment while in the middle of Provençal country rods and suddenly the cars in front of me had to stop. I unfortunately wasn’t able to stop in sufficient distance and crashed into the car in front of me. To make things worse, he had a tow bar attached to his car, so that was game over for the holiday and the car had to be towed back to Prague over 1500 kms away.
I was really devastated, but I was encouraged to get the car running again. With my tight budget it took a really long time. When I got home, I immediately started looking for spare parts needed for the repair. The front frame was repaired at the body shop and then the car was transported to my home where I would carry out the rest of the repairs.
Unfortunately then the winter came and with that I had uni exams and other duties, so the car was tucked away and the repairs were put on hold until the start of 2023. I had to find yet another bonnet, because the first one, that I bought at a local scrapyard, was improperly repaired and got distorted which was visible only when it was put on the car. So the correct bonnet was sent for painting together with the front bumper which I already had in my spare parts so I didn’t have to buy that.

The car also got a new radiator and an AC condenser because the originals were split in half by the tow bar of the other car.

When the parts from the paint shop arrived home, the car could be put together. I have bought some headlights from the scrapyard but I luckily didn’t have to use them yet, because the original ones in a much better could be repaired. More on those later.
Thanks to my apprenticeship at a local Bosch Technical Trainings Center I could also repair the AC system together with some maintenance such as new seals and an internal system flush.

Since I have finished the repairs in March 2023, the car is running without any major issues and I could finally go back to fixing the problems that the car already had and it has safely taken me to Tuscany and back while exceeding the 200 thousand Kilometers mark.
This is such a great thread!

Thank you for sharing your experience with your car, it certainly looks like it's a keeper!

Well done on your perseverance after the accident, especially with such a long tow home, I'm sure that was quite expensive in itself.
Looks superb 👍 Keep up the good work, great to see your car getting lots of improvements/maintenance in amongst the road trips...
Thank you all for the positive reaction and the kind messages. I really take pride in my car, even though it is not perfect by far and there is still a long way to go. ;)

I really hope I can find a replacement car for daily use ASAP and then I can have the Puma just as a summer project. I am currently looking at mk2 Focuses, they are starting to be really affordable in my country, but other cars are also on my mind.

When the Puma is not a daily car anymore and the probability of getting more parking lot love taps and dings drops to minimum, I would really like to give the Puma a respray. The paint looks quite okay on photos, but when looking at it in person it is really tired and faded after living most of its life under the Italian sun. I have tried to touch the worst places up and then give it a polish, but the clear coat is sooooo thin I have burned through it really easily on several places, mainly on the roof.

Some other long-term projects are on my mind, once I do not have to rely on the car on daily basis. I would love to basically restore all the things needed to get it to as perfect shape as possible.

Some people asked me, if I am ever gonna sell the car, but I don’t think I will, at least not any time soon. I really got to love the Puma! I think that the ’first car emotional bond’ also helped. But I am more likely to buy another one, rather to sell this one, owning a red 1.7 is definitely on the bucket list! 😆
I had a bit of spare time, so I dug a little bit into the electrics. For all the time I have owned the car, the AC blower fan never worked on the 4th fastest speed. It was a little bit of a weird problem, because usually it is the lower speeds that do not work because of bad resistor. Lately I became bothered with the unability to have the highest speed, when I need to blow out the hot air, when the car was parked on direct sunlight.

After looking at the wiring diagrams of the cabin ventilation/AC system, I figured out, that the problem must be in the wire that runs from the 4th position of blower speed switch into connection with the ’output’ wire of the blower resistor, highlighted on the wiring diagram:
The solution was actually a lot simpler, than I expected. After I have disassembled the radio to gain acces to the wires, I checked along the said balck/orange wire until I found this:
There is a connector behind the radio that splits the wiring loom and the pin of the black/orange wire has fallen out of the connector casing. I am really amazed, how that could have happened! So i have clipped the pin back to the connector and also secured it with a bit of tape, just to make sure it doesn’t fall out again, and now the blower works perfectly!
While the central panel was partially dismantled, I started preparing for a ‘mod’ I have been thinking about for quite some time and that is the boot opening switch from the inside. Luckily this modification is perfectly described in one of the posts by @Wild E. Coyote , it is really awesome!
I have started by bringing the live 12V feed for the switch itself. Since I have reconnected the 12V socket in the front panel into the circuit for the radio, so it is switched by the key, I had a free connector, that I could use.
Then I wired the switched 12V and ground from the headlight levelling switch. I wasn’t comfortable with soldering inside of the car, I used these wire couplers, that cut through the insulation via a metal piece, that conducts the current between the two wires.
The hardest part was to route the wire from the boot switch all the way to the dashboard. I once again used the wire coupler and then ran the wire along the wiring loom under the rear quarter panel and under the carpet along the sill.
Unfortunately I then figured out, that I do not have the correct crimpling connector pins, that would fit into the switch. So I just insulated the loose ends of the wires and tucked them away, until I get the correct connectors.
At least I still have time to decide whether I want to go all out and trim a hole for the switch into the dashboard, or if I want to play it safe and put it into the fuse cover, so I can replace it in case I decide, that I do not want the switch anymore! 🤣
And the last little modification I have made is really a simple one: I have added one more 12V socket hidden under the dashboard, that is switched on with the key, so it can power my dashcam, that I have started using in the Puma recently.
I also feed it from the radio power circuit and I have also used the crimpling wire coupler.
Right as I was leaving for my vacation in Italy about a month ago, the driver’s side window mechanism failed on me and the window wouldn’t stay closed. Which is a common failure on these cars, as I have found out on this thread and on my own, since this is already the second regulator mechanism, that I have on this side of the car. When I bought the car, the mechanism was broken in the same way. But this time I decided to try and repair the current mechanism, since changing it for another used unit would just be a temporary repair until it would fail in the same way again. You can find the description of the repair in this thread:

Post in thread 'Electric Window going down but not up'
Electric Window going down but not up

After several weeks I can tell that the repair was successful so far and the regulator is working perfectly.

Here is a photo of me dismantling the door card in my backyard on the day we were leaving for the vacation. At the time the photo was taken, we were supposed to be about 100 km on the way already. What a timing. 🤣 But I am glad that it failed, when it did. Because if it failed by the time we would be on our way, finding a temporary solution to keeping the window closed without the needed tools would be a much harder challenge. 😆
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I got my hands on the correct connectors during the week, so I could finish the tailgate opening button from the interior. I mocked up the connection, just to test it out if it actually worked. And it did! Even the backlight worked, when switched on by the stalk.
So then it was time for the thing I dreaded the most; cutting the hole into the dash… 🙁
I started off by making a template out of hard paper according to the switch. I then transferred the shap with a pencil on a piece of paper tape, that I have sticked on the dashboard, where I wanted to place the button.
Then I took a small drill bit and drilled a couple of holes around the edge, but inside of the line, so I didn’t make it too big by accident. Then I started cutting the pieces off with a dremel tool with a little cutting disc. So then I ended up with a rectangular hole like so:
I thought I would then shape the hole using a file, but that would take soo much time, so I just ended up using the dremel tool with a little grinding bit. I was trying to be really cautious and I was grinding just a little by little and regularly checking with the size of the button until I ended up with this:IMG_0788.jpegThen I just cleaned the edges a little using a file and the button fit really firmly in place!
This ended up being a simple and easy to do modification, that makes living with a Puma a bit easier! 🙂


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To put all the info together, I have made a little pin out diagram of the switch.
I took the live +12 V from the cigar lighter in the central dashboard panel (as described in an earlier post), which is constantly powered even without the key in ignition.
Other than that I proceeded exactly the same as @Wild E. Coyote in his thread and the diagram just sums up what he wrote.
I will try to put together a detailed schematics using some wiring diagrams and eventually post it here, if I succeed.