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.