Pistonheads Shed of the week - Puma - Again 20/5/16 - And again 10/11/17


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Staff member
Oct 3, 2007
Shed of the Week: Ford Puma 1.7
Tony Middlehurst posted on Friday, February 26, 2016 in Shed Of The Week
An early Puma with only a little rust? Yes, they really do exist!


Anyone under about 50 will probably have no idea what the rest of this para is on about. However, there was a programme on telly the other day about the safari-suited perma-tanned comedian, serial hoarder and late host of The Golden Shot, Bob Monkhouse.
While discussing his own unique appeal, Bob was quoted as saying that he was "a Marmite sort of guy". You either loved him or you hated him. As a result he regularly topped both popularity and unpopularity polls at the same time.


Even the rear light clusters aren't that murky

Fords are a bit like that. Say what you like about them - and a lot of people do - but it's quite hard to think of a car sold by Ford UK in the last half century or so that hasn't offered up some sort of driving pleasure. Unfortunately it's also quite hard to think of one that hasn't garnered some sort of reputation for falling apart.
In 2016, a Puma is a definitive example of a love/hate Ford. You'd love it because, in traction-controlled 125hp 1.7 form at least, it handles and goes brilliantly. You'd hate it because the metal gearknob is damnably cold on a winter's morn, but mainly because the car would be disintegrating underneath you with each new crinkly, crunchy mile.

This built-in self-scrapping process is perhaps the main reason why more Pumas haven't featured in SOTW. The last one appeared nearly three years ago.

Our Shed is different. It's from the first year of production, which is nice, but what makes it really special is the apparent absence of rear arch rust. For the Puma, that's almost a miracle.


Looking fairly presentable inside too

Yes, the vendor does admit to 'a few specs' (sic) but that's a hell of a lot better than the usual fine filigree of brown latticework you'd expect to see in this area. With a freshly belted and clutched variable-cam 1.7 motor and a bucket of Waxoyl smeared all over the underside this is surely one worth saving - and enjoying while you're saving it.
Anything else you need to be aware of? Well, the linerless 1.7 demands good quality oil. Hot or cold running could be something as simple as a crotchety thermostat but you might also want to check that coolant isn't leaking out from the core plugs.

The 1.7 has an appetite for exhaust oxy sensors, a problem indicated by lumpy idling or hesitant acceleration. Water can get through perished wiring grommets in the bulkhead: that, plus loose air-con drain pipes, will dampen both front carpets. Watch out also for rusty earth straps, fritzed coil packs and malfunctioning heater control valves.

There's a lot of background guff from the vendor in the ad, some of it about the car and some about him. From this we can establish that he is 55 or 56 years old and well steeped in the automotive trade, mainly on the sales side. Whether that's a good thing or a bad one is up to you, but the sight of a car for sale with more than a spoonful of fuel showing on the gauge has got to be cause for some optimism at least.

Finally, if you are one of the young folk mentioned in para one, have a look at this. It will give you a clue as to why folk who were young when you were nothing bought the Puma.

>Here's the ad.<

Welcome to the sale of my special Ford Puma.
The Puma range was launched in the summer of 1997, the first cars available to customers on the 'R' registration. Launched with a choice of 1.4, 1.6 and the range topping 1.7 Variable Cam Timing engine, the car was an instant success, with initially a 6 month wait for one, and with demonstration cars being sold for more than list price of a new car to save the 6 month wait. The car gives great performance and handling, and proves to be great fun to drive.
Car History
My car was first registered on 19th June 1997 at Chatfield Ford in Hanley, Stoke on Trent to a Mr Williams from Newcastle under Lyme. He kept the car for 7 years until September 2005, and covered 47682 miles in his ownership.
The car then went to live at the sea side in Hayle, Cornwall, and was bought by a middle aged couple Mr and Mrs Smith.
The car was for Mrs Smith, who initially used the car to go to work in Truro for a few years, until she took early retirement due to ill health. The car was then used sparingly and owned by them for a total of 10 years. I have recently aquired the car for stock for my start up Classic Car Business.
Puma's are already rising in value and have reached Classic Car status and values can only go up from this point. In my view this car will be an investment over the coming years.
Mr Smith is a retired garage propriotor, and has personally maintained his wifes car during this time, changing the oil every 5000 miles.
He had the timing belt changed recently by his local garage who had the tools to do the job, and at that time had a new clutch fitted.
The car also has air horns fitted, which were a present to his wife, and a Kenwwod CD player is fitted with the original Ford radio available.
Rcent Pirelli tyres all round and Ford mud flaps front and rear finish the car off, and the care of maintenance and it always being garaged, it is clear to see the great condition of this car. The car was waxoiled underneath every year, and the paintwork regulally waxed to keep that lovely red shine. The Puma has now been professionally valeted.
The body work is in very good order, not showing signs of rusting on the rear arches, only a few specs. There are the minor stone chips and small marks, but all in all very very good order for a 1997 car.
As mentioned earlier, there is a stamped Ford service book fully stamped up to2/9/2005 at 47682 miles, then professionally maintained by Mr Smith. The MOT is fresh and expires November 2016. Cam belt and new clutch recently fitted.
MOT Mileage History

02/07/2001 22610 miles
01/07/2002 28984 miles
01/07/2003 35531 miles
21/06/2004 41661 miles
03/09/2005 47682 miles
04/09/2006 57722 miles
24/08/2007 70713 miles
28/08/2008 81159 miles
21/08/2009 88015 miles
27/08/2010 91551 miles
30/08/2011 95259 miles
08/08/2012 97824 miles
24/10/2013 99978 miles
31/10/2014 101992 miles
05/11/2015 103863 miles
Mileage as at 12/01/2016 is 103992 miles
I have recently started a Classic Car Business and have 39 years experience in the Motor Trade, starting off in 1976 aged 16 as an apprentice panel beater at a British Leyland garage, then becoming a car salesman at Vauxall dealerships, Austin Rover for a short time, 25 years with Ford Dealerships as a Salesman, and progressing to Sales Manager for 14 years, and latterly at a BMW dealership.
I hand pick my cars, and find cars with full histories and ones that have been lovingly owned and looked after. I would use any of my cars as my daily driver.
I am confident that this car will give trouble free motoring, and will increase in value if looked after.
The car is HPI clear and available now. It is booked in for a professional full valet on Monday 18th January, so will be gleaming under the bonnet too.
Cash or bank transfer before collection
If you need any further information please call me on 07920 195400 (Jeff)
No time wasters please
Viewing by appointment only
Car located near Dartford, Kent
Thanks for looking

Dal said:
[post]347221[/post] You'd hate it because the metal gearknob is damnably cold on a winter's morn,
Mine's not. Interesting that other people pick up on the same sort of things though.

Car's not too shabby for the price at all, but that owner needs to learn how to write a used car ad!
Wow, you can tell that's not a young salesman (and not by his work history). Having said that, I think it's nice that it doesn't come across as a modern stereotypical salesman.

Looks like a lovely example though.
That's interesting, I followed the link (http://www.pistonheads.com/regulars/ph- ... -1-7/33817) and there is the message"This advert has been rejected by PistonHeads"
The link didn't survive the recent forum software update unfortunately - updated it now :)
....and it's shed of the week again...


Hands up - who doesn't want to go racing?
Given half or even a quarter of a chance, most of us would be out there on the merrie tracks of olde Englande (other countries are available) having the time of our lives clacking mirrors with a bunch of like-minded fools.

Let's just take a sec to admire those rear archesLet's just take a sec to admire those rear archesTrouble is, unless you're a member of the landed gentry, you'll probably need to take account of that annoying commodity known as money. Running around on tracks isn't cheap. If you're one of the lucky ones with your name on the build sheet of a Focus RS, you could easily spend a grand on some fancy rubber that'll last you one track day if you're lucky.
Just ask Editor Dan. In one morning of madness last week he trashed a pair of RS fronts, followed shortly afterwards by a trashed pair of Y fronts when he saw the bill, the tight Yorkshire git.

If you're a financially frustrated circuit clown in waiting, let Shed ride to the rescue with this highly tempting Ford Puma, pre-track-prepped so you don't have to.

Even without the various goodies thrown into the package, this low mileage, fully serviced and rust-free Puma with the added promise of a fresh MOT is surely worth all the wonga just as it stands.

Pumas always desirable, this one especially so!Pumas always desirable, this one especially so!But then see what else you're getting. OMP bucket seats with adjustable mounts and Sparco harnesses. Polybushed rear beam. Spax SSX 30mm lowering springs and adjustable dampers. Aluminium footplates up front, lining in the rear. K&N air filter and cold air feed. Jetex exhaust back box. Hoffman Racing centre exhaust section. Mintex front discs and pads.
Shed's Binatone calculator has just burst into flames trying to tot this lot up. He says that if this isn't the nearest thing to Santa's sack currently on offer in the PH Classifieds then he doesn't know what is.

The vendor has cunningly left enough sanitising bits in to keep this lovely little Puma sensible on the road. It's a true dual-purpose motor that, as he says, will deliver over 40mpg in everyday use and give you loads of fun on or off the track.

To keep her sweet you'll need to feed in decent oil. Wobbly idling or acceleration on Pumas can mean a dead oxy sensor in the exhaust, but looking at what's been done to this one that's unlikely to be an issue. Again, given the apparently diligent servicing regime that's been carried out, you wouldn't expect to fall foul of dicky thermostats and leaky core plugs, typically symptomised by hot or cold running.

And just enough inside to make it liveableAnd just enough inside to make it liveableSame goes for Puma damp carpet syndrome: thanks to the removal of the carpets, you'll physically see any leaks from the air-con drain pipes or bulkhead grommets. If you're still not ready to rip the guy's arm off, check the coil packs, heater control valves and earth straps.
Let's just run through this again. For the same grand, or less, that you'd pay for shoeing a Focus RS, you'll be getting a whole Ford that will very likely last most of the season on the same set of tyres. Better still, the longer you make the tyres last, the less grippy they'll get and the more fun you'll have. Best of all, you can make your tyre budget stretch even further by buying plastic ones.

For anyone with a brain, this is a no-brainer. Bargain of the year, we'd say. Here's the (rather excellent) ad.

For sale my fastidiously maintained and prepared Ford Puma 1.7 16v, which has just 52k miles on the clock, full history and a huge pile of receipts. I bought this on a whim for a trip to Germany next month, but have since managed to grow a pair of balls and decided to take our Porsche instead! Subsequently I don't really need this, and as the insurance policy it's covered on expires in early June it makes sense to move it on.

It has only 52k miles on the clock and a comprehensive history file - the service book is fully stamped up, it comes with all original documentation including keys. It was serviced religiously every year despite such few miles being covered, and in 2013/4 was bought by and then prepared for tracks by a chap who has previously built cars for the XR2 Cup race series. Current MoT is until the end of June, so I will have it booked in and the car will come with up to 13 months' test.

It has a pile of receipts for the parts bought at this point, including OMP bucket seats, expensive adjustable mounts and Sparco harnesses. The rear beam is polybushed and Spax SSX 30mm lowering spring have been fitted with adjustable shock absorbers. The carpets and sound deadening have been removed with aluminium footplates fitted in the front and neatly lined in the rear. Doorcards etc are all still in place so it doesn't feel like a rattl-filled bean can - in fact there are no annoying squeaks or rattles, and it is a fantastic thing to drive on the road. The buckets seats are the larger fitting ones thankfully, as I am just over 6 foot tall and 15 and a bit stone, and fit comfortably. The rear wiper and motor have also been removed in order to save a little weight.

The engine and drivetrain is standard with the exception of a K&N air filter and cold air feed, a Jetex exhaust backbox and Hoffman Racing centre exhaust section. This means it sounds fruity while still being surprisingly quiet and refined in road use, and being a standard engine you can still get well over 40mpg when driving sensibly on-road. It has Mintex discs and pads fitted to the front, which work very well.

In terms of condition this is by far the best Puma I have seen. The rear arches have had the terrible carpet liners removed to prevent the arches rotting from the inside out (the usual Puma problem!), and these are completely rust free as are the sills. Someone has fitted small rubber protective strips on the edge of the arches. The bodywork shines up beautifully with very few marks, just a few stone chips and imperfections as you would expect. The reaction of most people when they it is that the bodywork is mint, and it's only really when you're cleaning it that you spot any marks. There's a tiny parking ding near the driver's door handle and chip in the windscreen, but that's about all there is to note.

Inside is fantastic, and surprisingly refined - definitely useable on a day-to-day basis. The bucket seats are still in as-new condition, and electric toys such as windows and mirrors work perfectly. It also has heated front and rear screens and a CD player. The air con doesn't blow icy cold, but you can't have everything! Removal of the original seats and belts has triggered the air bag light, and the indicators do not self-cancel.

Since completion it has only done 3 or 4 track evenings and it all feels incredibly tight still.

Sale of what must be one of the best Pumas around (I am admittedly biased!). Viewings welcome, and I'm more than happy to take any serious buyers for a proper blast across the Moors. As long as it's before June 6th!




If it were more local, I might have gone and got it myself!
Ford = fall apart..lol! :lol:

has he ever owned a clio, or corsa or any other car in similar price bracket.. the quality of parts is generally very good on Ford cars and the price is generally reasonable too compared to other OE parts from main dealors

some people are in lala land
Hi guys it was me who got the car, well me and 2 mates we've bought it just for track use. We collected it Sunday Iv not seen it yet I'm going up Thursday to bring it back to my storage unit, the other lads are chuffed with it though
Yeah will do, we've done track days before but never owned a dedicated track car, we've got the luxury of a recovery vehicle so we'll never have to drive it on the road so we can go as crazy as we like. Mods don't seem as expensive when you split the price 3 ways
And again 10/11/17

Mrs Shed can sometimes be seen browsing the shelves of the local door furniture and vinyl record shops. On balance, she prefers a well polished knob to a dusty old seven-incher, and in that respect she would thoroughly approve of this week's Puma Shed.
Early car, best colour and seemingly no rust...Early car, best colour and seemingly no rust...It might seem unlikely now, in an age when even the most mundane car is stuffed with attention-grabbing interior features and bits of jewellery, but that metal gearknob was one of the three most-talked about features when Ford added this titchy coop to its New Edge range in late 1997. The other two being the Puma's styling and handling, both of which were greatly lauded.
In period, Clarkson called it 'devastatingly handsome' and praised its driveability, though he did keep banging on about it being based on a Fiesta and reckoned it was suspiciously cheap at £14K. Ford cleverly edged JC out of the equation by producing an excellent Steve McQueen ad, which most of you aged 25 and over should remember. If you don't, watch it here.

As time passed, a fourth and rather less welcome topic was added to the Puma conversation: rust. 99 per cent of the ones you will see now will be riddled with it. The most vulnerable areas are the rear arches, but door edges and sills are far from immune.

Don't forget that metal gearknob!Don't forget that metal gearknob!The fact that this example from the first full year of production looks pretty much the same now as it would have done in the showroom twenty years ago, the odd pin dent apart, is almost as much of a miracle as last week's apparently rust-free Disco V8.
It gets better, too. The Puma came with a choice of three engines, a 1.4, a 1.6 and, in this car, by far the most desirable, the 1.7 VCT. Developed by Ford and Yamaha, VCT stood for Variable Cam Timing - it was the 1.7 Ford's VTEC, if you like - and was easily the best engine choice of the three. In a sub 1,040kg package, it put the Puma within reach of eight second 0-60 performance, a near 130mph top end, and 40mpg in enthusiastic driving. Puma 1.7s also came with standard anti-lock braking and traction control, which again was quite a posh spec back then.

The Japanese connection was stronger than you might think. According to legend, the 1.7 engine was made in Spain, sent off to Japan for Yamaha tweaking, and then sent back to Spain. You can't imagine that sort of thing happening now.

And it's £650!And it's £650!The two potential downsides with the 1.7 were Ford's decision to go with Nikasil cylinder bore plating - a plan that has never really worked for any of the companies brave enough to try it - and the VCT system's oil pressure-controlled varying of the inlet cam. Although there aren't that many reported instances of Nikasil problems on Pumas, it's definitely worth making sure you're using the right grade of oil: 5W30, and semi-synthetic at least.
Core plugs near to the spark plugs are known for leaking coolant, and the thermostat, coil pack and lambda oxygen sensor are all known to fail. Electrically, you might encounter earthing problems caused by rusty earth straps, heater fans and control valves not working properly, and sticking windows (they have their own frame).

Cambelt replacement on the 1.7 is every five years or 80,000 miles (the smaller engines are 10 years/100K). This 73,000-mile car could have been on its original belt and tensioner, but the vendor tells us that it had the work done two years ago as part of the full service history.

Another look here, if you need convincingAnother look here, if you need convincingDampness in the passenger carpets usually comes through the bulkhead grommet ducting wiring into the cabin, or it could be a popped-off air-con drain pipe. Mind how you go when opening the tailgate after rain, too, unless you like soggy groceries. The tailgate gas struts usually die, the parcel shelf often comes adrift, and the faux-leather steering wheels have been known to 'melt'.
Puma tracking can quite easily get knocked out of alignment, and that would be a shame because the handling really is a big plus in this car.

The MoT history on our one-owner specimen is practically unblemished, with no advisories in the last six years. If you need any more encouragement to spend the piffling sum of £650, you may well have terminal cynicism. Shed is running an evening class on how to keep your cynicism supply topped up. The price for the course should have been £25 a week, but he's just doubled it and taken out some of the best bits in order to give you that feeling of vindication that you crave.

Here's the ad.

Selling my September 1998 Ford Puma in Melina Blue. One lady owner from new with full service history. Last MOT'd in August 2017 when it had new front brakes and a service. Has four new tyres in March 2016 and new cambelt and rear silencer in August 2015. A well loved car with only just over 73,500 miles on the clock. Just bought a new car, so no longer required. Runs really well. A classic of the future.