With so many of today’s vehicles looking so much alike in design, it’s no wonder that we remember and covet classic modern cars with more distinctive styling – and when it comes to turning heads, there’s nothing more eye-catching than the Ford Puma.
This German built compact coupe was in production for five years from ‘97 to ‘02, and in that time was unrivalled in its class. Let’s find out why…
What makes the Puma a modern classic?
There’s much argument amongst car enthusiasts over what qualifies a car for modern classic status. We’re not going to go too deeply into that, but it’s generally acknowledged that it’s a combination of iconic status, demand and character – boxes the Puma ticks with ease.
When the Puma was released it had few direct rivals, except for the Vauxhall Tigra… and that was nowhere near the car the Puma turned out to be. Manufacturers were still pushing the hot/warm hatch because of its practicality, but the appeal of the Puma was that it wasn’t practical at all! It was simply set-up to offer a fantastically involved driving experience on a budget that was well within the range of most people (not all of them hairdressers, we’d like to note!).
Based on the MK4 Fiesta, the Puma offered a 2+2 coupe with stiffened suspension and feel through the steering that was unparalleled… something that had a big impact on the Focus that swiftly followed and completely changed how we viewed the family hatchback.
Buying a Puma today
If you’re thinking of buying one of these modern classics today, you’ll be pleased to know that it should be possible to pick up a very good 1.7L for around £3,000 – but if you want the sought after Racing Puma, expect to pay anything up to £13,000.
Is it worth the difference? Well, it’s a Tickford tuned 1.7-litre engine in a kitted body with suspension that’s also been tweaked to challenge the best of the hot hatches around at the time – plus there were only 500 made, so they’re very collectable now.
Whatever your preconceived thoughts about the Ford Puma, there’s no doubt in our mind that they were cars worth owning at the turn of the century, and they’re still worth considering now. Whether they can be categorised as a classic modern car is a debate that we’re still having in the Trafalgar Street Car Park office!