I still remember the first time I drove a Ford Racing Puma. I was a young agency journalist allowed about half an hour behind the wheel and it was, then, the best front-wheel-drive car I’d driven. Twelve years on, it still isn’t far off the top of that list.
Curious name, Racing Puma. The Puma was never raced by Ford, although it was rallied under the kit car regulations, in which guise it was the absolute mutt’s. Like the rally car, the Racing Puma looked brilliant, and still does to this day.
It’s curious, then, that it wasn’t more successful when it was new. Ford originally planned to make 1000 Racings, then cut that number to 500 but still had to dole them out internally to make up the numbers.
One of the reasons was cost. Like the Sierra RS500, Tickford had carried out all the modifications, and they were expensive. The car cost £23,000 and, in short, a Subaru Impreza didn’t.
Today, though, the Racing Puma hasn’t lost any of its charm. The engine feels slightly less zingy than I recall, but I think that’s just a rose-tinted recollection; this is car number one and it’s still in brilliant condition.