With bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner.
Given the chance, most keen drivers would pounce on the opportunity to drive a Racing Puma. Only 500 of these special coupés were produced, each one hand-assembled by legendary coachbuilder Tickford.
With bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner. Inside, large Sparco racing seats and blue Alcantara trim help distract you from the humble Fiesta-sourced dashboard.
Look beneath the muscular bodywork, and all thoughts of superminis will be banished.
The 1.7-litre powerplant has been tweaked to produce 155bhp, the car’s track is widened, Alcon brakes fitted and power transmitted to the front wheels via a limited-slip differential.
Behind the wheel, you’re treated to an intoxicating driving experience. The steering is superbly accurate, body roll is virtually non-existent and grip is near limitless. Accelerate hard, and the exhaust barks like a rally car, while the big, race-specification brakes are stunningly effective and full of feel.
Despite this, the Racing Puma wasn’t deemed a success. Its asking price of £23,000 put off buyers who could have a standard car for less than £15,000. Still, even this black mark fails to stop the Puma from making it into our top 10.
* Performance: 3/5 * Heritage: 2/5 * Style: 4/5 * Driver appeal: 5/5
Model tested: Racing PumaChart position: 10
In this review
- 1IntroductionThe Blue Oval’s performance hits From 1963-2009.
- 2New Focus RSThe latest – and possibly greatest? – addition to the blue oval’s stable.
- 31st Sierra RS CosworthAs with all the best fast Fords, the Sierra RS Cosworth exists because blue oval bosses wanted to go racing.
- 42nd Escort RS CosworthIf our top fast Fords were picked on visual impact alone, then the Escort RS Cosworth would be a clear winner. With its bulging wheelarches, aggressive nose and wild rear wing, it looks like nothing else on the road.
- 53rd GTIntroduced to celebrate the blue oval’s 100th birthday, the GT has the performance, power and looks to take on exotic rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
- 64th GT40The sunning GT40 took Le Mans victory spoils four times between 1966 and 1969 – and racing pedigrees don’t come much better than that.
- 75th RS200Jaw-dropping styling, fearsome performance and rarity – the RS200 has it all.
- 86th Escort RS1600To the casual observer it might appear to be a humble entry-level model, but the plain looks hide thoroughbred racing mechanicals.
- 97th Escort MexicoWith racy looks, a lightly tweaked engine and a family-friendly saloon body, the Escort Mexico served up a winning blend of performance and practicality.
- 108th Lotus CortinaFor many fans, this is the first fast Ford. With its powerful engine, motorsport pedigree and affordable pricing, it set the template for the blue oval’s future high-performance models.
- 119th Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4It looks like a sober-suited saloon, but beneath this four-door Sierra Sapphire’s low-key lines lurks supercar-rivalling performance.
- 1210th Racing Puma - currently readingWith bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner.
- 1311th Focus RSWith looks inspired by the firm’s World Rally Championship contenders, the RS is a real head-turner.
- 1412th Capri 2.8iBilled as the car you always promised yourself, the rakish coupé was a sales hit the minute it was launched in 1969.
- 1513th Escort RS2000 MkVShocked to see the MkV Escort RS2000 finish so high up the order? Well, you shouldn’t be – this is a fast Ford through to its very core.
- 1614th Focus STWhen it was unveiled in 2005, the ST was an enormous leap forward from its slightly underwhelming predecessor, the ST170.
- 1715th Escort XR3iThis Escort’s mix of sporty looks, bargain price and eager performance made it a hot hatch hit with British motorists during the Eighties.
- 1816th SportkaIntroduced in 2003, the Sportka is the spiritual successor to the original Fiesta XR2.
- 1917th Escort RS1600iThe striped bonnet graphic, deep front spoiler, seven-spoke alloys and biplane rear wing all mark this car out as very special.
- 2018th Fiesta ST185On the move, the tuned motor pops and crackles like a rally car’s, while the Fiesta ST is a joy to drive on twisty back roads.
- 2119th Escort RS2000Despite its RS badges, this model was never intended to enter the heat of competition. It looked like a road racer, though.
- 2220th Escort RS TurboThe famous RS badge is fitted only to the quickest, most driver-focused Fords – and the Escort RS Turbo is no exception.
- 2321st Focus ST170It lacks the raw, hard-edged thrills of the turbocharged Focus RS, but the ST170 is still entertaining.
- 2422nd Fiesta XR2 MkIIWhen bosses finally revealed the XR2 in 1981, it became an instant hit with boy racers – and it certainly looked the part.
- 2523rd Sierra XR4x4The all-wheel-drive Sierra XR4x4 was designed to be a practical sports car for all seasons.
- 2624th Granada Scorpio V6 24vBy radically overhauling the Granada’s mechanicals, engineers at the firm completely altered the model’s character.