There have been many fast Fords, but I’d argue this is the oddest of the bunch. The Racing Puma – though similar in body style to privateer Puma rally cars – never technically raced. And while its body was significantly pumped-up over standard, it used the same 1.7-litre engine as standard Pumas, with only the lightest of upgrades.
It also didn’t do particularly well. Ford planned to make 1,000, cut that to 500, then still had to sell some of those internally to make sure every Racing Puma found a home. The reason? A £23,000 asking price. That would seem extortionate for a 153bhp hot hatch now, never mind in 1999. Especially when a 30bhp-lighter Puma 1.7 sold for ten grand less.
Now, the price difference is even more stark. While you can pick up scruffy but usable Puma 1.7 for under £1,000, you’ll pay six or seven times that for a similar Racing Puma.
But to boil it down to cost along is to ignore what a special car this is. Just look at it! I’ve driven few cars with better stance when they’re entirely standard. And the upside of its below-par sales new is ferocious rareness and desirability now. You’ll struggle to find another car this rare for the cheaper than a bum-basic Ford Ka…
Pictures: Adam Shorrock