Dirty little secrets

We'll all got them....

3y ago


Actually I've got a few, but for this post I'm talking about the car related ones.

No it's not a secret fantasy involving Clarkson as the picture may suggest, but look behind him. That's right, one of mine is a secret fondness for the Ford Puma, Launched in 1997 so just about comes into the criteria for my Classic and Retro Tribe (97 and before).

I've liked them since new and they still make me smile when I see them now. Which is rare as I go off a lot of cars, like 1 series Beamer, loved it at first but I'm tired of them now.

So the Puma, a fun little coupe with great and distinctive styling. Based on the super little Fiesta so tried and tested and quite simple mechanics with a good selection of engines. Economical 1.4 and great 1.7 (which I believe is from Mazda), which in such a small car must be a winner.

Prone to rot on the rear arches, but not as bad as the Ka. A real marmite car though - love or hate, quite overlooked, considered a bit girly so a bit of an underdog with not a huge following. The more Manly Cougar just lost a bit of the sports coupe appeal.

I've seen a fair few in the local scrap yard now. The first ones will be 20 years old now and reaching the end of there useful life. So as they rot out and die it's only going to be a few hardcore fans that keeps these on the road.

Maybe it's one to watch as a future classic?

I needed a little run around a while back and was all set to get one, but when I arrived at the garage, even though I'd pre-arranged a test drive, the guy had just done a deal on it.

So I ended up blowing the budget and getting a Leon instead for twice the price ;-) so I've never owned a Puma so don't know what it's like to live with, but I did jump in to one at the scrap yard to get a feel for what it's like behind the wheel.

Unfortunately at a meager 5'11" I found it too small!

So own up, what (pre97) underdog floats your boat?

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Comments (4)

  • I am finding myself being drawn to the pre-GM Saab 900. Would love a 900 turbo, 3 door in black (I do like 3 door cars in black!) but prices are pretty scary at the moment. Will stick with the Golf until I win the lottery as cannot afford to run 4 cars.......................

      3 years ago
  • My step dad bought a 2nd generation Diahatsu Charade in 1985/86 or there abouts. Not a GTI unfortunately. I remember going round the dealerships with him while he was choosing what to get. I wanted him to to got the SEAT Ibiza.... simply because it said SYSTEM PORSCHE on a big sticker along the side, so it must had been good. After that he got the next generation (the slightly more rounded) Charade.

      3 years ago
  • I always wanted a Diahatsu Charade GTI. No idea why but a 3 cylinder 993cc turbo engine really appealed to me as a 17 year old but ended up plumping for a Mk3 Cortina!

      3 years ago
  • At the company I was working for in 2000, I was really good mates with the fleet manager so got my hands on demo vehicles that the manufacturers were desperate for us to lease from them so had a 1.7 Puma for a few weeks to "test". It was a great little car and with 123bhp it felt faster than it was and even though the handling was really good, the ride was far too harsh for everyday use. Not long after, I got my hands on a preproduction Mk3 Mondeo Ghia X which although properly dull was a very nice car and I took great delight in driving it to my local Ford dealer to "look at cars" as I knew they wouldn't have one!!!

      3 years ago