Classics Monthly - - Fuel - PaulWager Ed­i­tor In Chief

This is­sue's restora­tion story on the Ford Racing Puma made me feel my age since I can re­mem­ber en­joy­ing a cou­ple of the cars on press loan back when they were a new model. I also re­mem­ber a col­league at the time peer­ing under the sills and mut­ter­ing darkly about fit and fin­ish where the wide arches were at­tached, reck­on­ing vis­i­ble rot would be break­ing out be­fore long.

Sure enough, as the owner of our fea­ture car pointed out, the FRP as it be­came known, proved to rust just as badly as a ’70s Es­cort and he re­ally had his work cut out to bring it back to its for­mer glory. In­deed, it's prob­a­bly bet­ter put to­gether now than when it was new, since this rep­re­sented a strange era for the nor­mally con­fi­dent Ford. With the RS badge tem­po­rar­ily in hi­ber­na­tion thanks to in­sur­ance and mar­ket­ing pres­sures, the firm was awk­wardly try­ing to de­velop Ford Racing as a brand but with­out the con­vic­tion to cre­ate any­thing mean­ing­ful.

De­spite that though, I re­mem­ber the Racing Puma be­ing an ab­so­lute blast to drive, es­pe­cially with the over­run crackle and pop which had been de­lib­er­ately writ­ten into the en­gine con­trol map. I re­mem­ber we were all agreed that it could han­dle far more power but this came not in the shape of a fur­ther up­rated Puma but in the re­vival of the RS brand with the Fo­cus. All of which makes the rare blue Puma a miss­ing link in the clas­sic Ford story and just as wor­thy of clas­sic sta­tus as the Mk1 Es­cort we also fea­ture this month.

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