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.