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Ford Puma
[[File:English Ford Puma|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1997–2001
Assembly Niehl, Germany
Class Small Coupé
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback coupé
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford B platform
Engine(s) Ford Zetec-SE
Transmission(s) 5-speed IB5 Manual
Fuel capacity 40 L (11 US gal/9 imp gal)
Related Ford Fiesta

The Ford Puma was a small sports coupé produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1997 to 2001 (although some were first registered in the UK as late as 2002), for sale in Europe. The Puma was built exclusively at Ford's Niehl plant in Cologne, Germany. The English dependent model is called Ford Cougar.

Technical detailsEdit

Ford Zetec-S 1.7 engine

1.7L Zetec-S VCT engine in a 1999 Ford Puma

All Pumas are front-engined, front-wheel-drive, 3-door coupés with 4 seats. They came with 15-inch (380 mm) alloy wheels as standard, (although the Ford Racing Puma was equipped with 17-inch (430 mm) 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 and close-ratio gearbox, among other changes.

Pumas used a choice of four engine configurations: 1.4-litre 90 bhp (67 kW/91 PS) , 1.6-litre 103 bhp (77 kW/104 PS) , 1.7-litre VCT 125 PS (92 kW/123 hp), or the tuned 1.7-litre VCT 155 PS (114 kW/153 hp) (only used in the Ford Racing Puma),[1] each of which used Ford's 16v Sigma engines branded as Zetec-S. The 1.7-litre engines used Nikasil cylinder plating, which required a specific grade of oil (5W30 semi-synthetic) to minimise mechanical wear.

All 1.7-litre-engined Pumas were equipped with low speed traction control and anti-lock brakes. The anti-lock braking system was optional to the 1.4 Pumas.

Weighing approximately 1,100 kg (2,400 lb) without optional accessories,[2] the 1.7 125 PS version accelerated from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 8.8 seconds, and could accelerate from 30 to 70 mph (48 to 112 km/h) in 8.8 seconds.

Special edition variants in United Kingdom marketsEdit

Millennium Edit

Quantity Produced: 1000

Years available: 1999(V) to 2000(X)

The Ford Millennium Edition cars were produced to commemorate the Millennium Products Award from the Design Council [3] in 1999 for being 'The first Ford in Britain designed solely on computer and in record time.' The Millennium Edition Puma featured eye catching Zinc Yellow paintwork, and an 'Alchemy Blue' (dark/navy blue) leather interior with Recaro seats. A numbered badge and keyring were available upon purchase from Ford, but the cars were not automatically numbered.

The Ford Ka and Ford Focus also received the same award, and were also produced in the same quantity and paintwork, but with a black leather interior.

BlackEdit

Quantity Produced: 1600

Years available: 2000(X) to 2001(51)

The Puma Black featured a 'Midnight Black' (dark grey) leather interior, Panther Black paintwork and Ford's 'F1' style alloys. The original quantity of the Puma Black was meant to be only 1000, but as the edition proved to be popular, an additional 600 were produced.

ThunderEdit

Quantity Produced: 1000 each in Moondust Silver and Magnum Grey

Years available: 2000(X) to 2002(52)

These were among the final 2000 pumas produced. Although Moondust Silver was available throughout the whole of the puma's production run, Magnum Grey was only available on the Thunder Edition. All of the Thunder editions featured a 'Midnight Black' (dark grey) leather interior, 6 disc CD changer and multispoke alloys similar to those featured on the Fiesta Zetec-S.

Ford Racing Puma (ST160)Edit

FordRacingPuma

Ford Racing Puma

Quantity Produced: 500 (all numbered on inlet manifold) Years available: 1999(V) to 2000(X)

The Ford Racing Puma was the name eventually given to Ford's concept Puma, the ST160, which was first unveiled to the public at the 1999 Geneva Motorshow.[4] 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, led by Peter Beattie. 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.[5] In the end, only the 500 destined for the UK market were produced and, similarly to the Bugatti Veyron and BMW M3 CSL, every car sold lost the parent company money.

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, 4 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 saw 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.

Race braking system Edit

For the Racing Puma, Ford partnered with Alcon Design to produce a 4-Piston Motorsport braking system. The Alcon Racing Front Brake callipers use 295 mm (11.6 in) x 28mm discs (270mm discs on the rear). These brakes are one of the defining attributes of the Racing Puma and they contribute significantly to enabling the standard 1,174 kg (2,588 lb) car to pull a substantial 1.1g+ of braking force in the dry (this is the same braking g-forces performance as a Lamborghini Gallardo!).[6] This compares well to the normal Puma's ability to achieve 0.7g on regular, smaller, 258 mm (10.2 in) x 22 mm (0.9 in) brake discs and callipers.

The brake callipers themselves, being derived from a racing set-up, do not come fitted with any protective rubber boots which prevent brake dust and debris from coming into contact with the brake pistons. This means the brakes should be serviced regularly (fully dismantled and properly cleaned) to maintain efficiency. Furthermore the inner portions of the calliper were unpainted aluminium, and are susceptible to corrosion.

Bodywork and handling Edit

The bodywork was beefed up with wider lightweight aluminium front and steel rear overhangs, these covered a substantially widened track at both the front and rear requiring longer drive shafts unique to the Racing Puma. A front aerodynamic air splitter and modified wider front bumper with sports grill. The wheels are Speedline Corse Turini alloys; 17" x 7.5 (with an ET28 Offset) and use 215/40 17 tyres (original fitment tyres were Michelin SXGT 215/40 R17), this increases the width from 1674mm to 1770mm. The S1600 rally Puma is just 35mm wider than this.

The Racing Puma's suspension was developed and honed by Ford's specialist division at Boreham, Essex and the cars monocoque shell was originally designed to be Ford's WRC entrant. Stig Blomqvist spent months fine tuning a car's handling to ensure its chassis dynamics where perfected. The wider track, uprated springs, dampers and special geometry settings refined the cars cornering poise to another level beyond the standard cars already excellent handling. The upshot of the improved chassis finesse was a bias towards tracks and hence the car has a very firm ride.

All Racing Pumas left the factory painted metallic Imperial Blue to signify their special racing edition status. This is a colour that was only used by Ford on a select range of cars such as the Ford Escort Cosworth and Mk.1 Ford Focus RS edition models. The colour was not available on the regular Pumas in the UK market.

Gearbox and optional limited slip differential Edit

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 placed upon them. This allowed a revised Power-train Control Module software to be used, allowing more power and torque to be utilised in lower gears.

Additionally, Ford Racing offered an optional limited slip differential to enhance handling even further, only 80 customer cars actually came equipped with an LSD from factory but since then subsequent owners have been known to retrofit this option.

Racing inspired interior Edit

Sparco where commissioned to provide high grip bucket seats for improved driver control in cornering situations. The blue Alcantara trim used on the seats, and steering wheel provided improved grip over other material types. The door cards, rear seats and rear interior where also trimmed with the same material, and the front seats where embroidered with the Ford Racing emblem.

FRP engine Edit

The original design remit was to achieve 180 bhp using a 1.7 Zetec SE equipped with a turbocharger. However, due to spiralling project costs, this was not achieved and eventually the Racing Puma engineers where forced to keep their changes within a normally aspirated engine. The majority of the engine remained unchanged from the 1.7 Zetec SE utilised in the standard Puma. Only the camshafts, air intake (with the unique edition number engraved on it), a specially tuned complete exhaust system by Janspeed, and a revised engine management software helped to increase power by 30 hp, reducing the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time to 7.8 seconds.


RacingEdit

RallyingEdit

Ford Puma rally car Group B

Ford Puma rally car Group B (Andrew Costin-Hurley and Bryan Hull) at Trax 2006

Kit Car variantEdit

Ford also produced a Ford Puma Kit Car which was designed to be competed in rallying. The Puma's technical details included a Zetec SE all alloy engine with 4 cylinders and 16 valves at 1596 cc, power over 200 bhp (150 kW) at 9000 rpm, front wheel drive via a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox, limited slip differential, dynamic front suspension using MacPherson struts with adjustable spring platforms, Ford Racing rear trailing arm beam with adjustable dynamic suspension, Alcon front brakes with 355 mm (14.0 in) diameter ventilated discs using four-piston calipers, Alcon 260 mm (10 in) diameter solid disc rear brakes with two piston calipers, a welded steel safety roll cage, and front and rear wheel arches and bumpers in composite. The fuel tank was a 55 litre capacity FIA ‘bag’ tank located beneath rear floor. Wheels were Tarmac 7” x 17” aluminium wheels or 6” x 15” aluminium wheels for gravel.[7]

In 2008, Luke Pinder raced the R2 class of the British Rally Championship in a Super 1400 Ford Puma.[8]

Style and advertisingEdit

Illuminated Interior Ford Puma 1.7

Puma interior at night

Stylistically, the Puma followed Ford's New Edge design strategy, as first seen in the 1996 Ford Ka. While not as controversial as the Ka when it first appeared, the Puma did achieve critical acclaim for its well-proportioned and cat-like design cues.

The Puma was memorable for its pan-European launch campaign that featured Steve McQueen. The original UK television advertisement used clips from the movie Bullitt and cut McQueen into the modern setting of a Puma in San Francisco. In late 2004, Ford once again used the McQueen footage for the first 2005 Ford Mustang commercial in the U.S. Both commercials were directed by UK Director Paul Street, and won many advertising industry awards, featuring in all time top 10 ad charts.

DiscontinuationEdit

The Puma was only sold in Europe. Production ceased in 2001 although sale of stock vehicles continued into 2002. Ford did not replace it with another small coupé, and instead introduced the Ford StreetKa, a two-seater convertible based on the Fiesta just as the Puma was. The StreetKa also borrowed the Puma's transmission and suspension.

Next generationEdit

A new Ford Puma was rumored to be launching in 2009, a year after the new Fiesta based on the Reflex concept car shown in the Detroit Motor Show in 2006.[9] More recent rumours of a new Ford Puma put the release date further into the future, but no specifics on the specifications or the estimated year have been quoted to date.[10]

AwardsEdit

  • 1997 - Named Top Gear's car of the year for 'the incredible feeling and driving sensation.' [11]
  • 1999 - Design Council Millennium Products award for 'The first Ford in Britain designed solely on computer and in record time.'
  • 2001 - What Car's Used Sports Car Of The Year- Ford Puma 1.7
  • 2004 - What Car's Best Used Sporting Car of the Year Under £10,000 - Ford Puma 1.7[12]
  • 2011 - What Car's Best 'Gem for under £1000' - Ford Puma 1.7

PreservationEdit

Not a true classic yet but the limited edition ones should hold there value and attract interest at car shows in the future.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Dawe, Jason (2004-08-08). "Ford Puma review | Used Car Reviews | Driving", Times Online. Retrieved on 2009-05-09. 
  2. Puma Owner's Guide, Ford Publication ref 11/1999-7 en
  3. "Design Council website".
  4. "1999 FRP @ Geneva Motorshow".
  5. "Tickford Build the Racing Puma". Archived from the original on 2012-07-30.
  6. "Gallardo Braking Performance".
  7. "Ford Puma S1600 Rally Car Technical Info". Gorallyschool.co.uk. Retrieved on 2010-10-05.
  8. "Luke Pinder web site". Lukepinder.com. Retrieved on 2010-10-05.
  9. "Reborn Puma Set To Pounce". Auto Express article (2006-01-10). Retrieved on 2010-10-05.
  10. "Ford's Baby Cat is getting ready to pounce". Auto Express article. Retrieved on 2010-10-05.
  11. Video: Top Gear Car Of The Year 1997 feature MPEG video featuring Tiff Needell driving a Ford Puma
  12. "Best Used Sporting Car of the Year 2004". What Car (2004-10-05). Retrieved on 2010-10-05.

External linksEdit

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