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The Ford Puma was a European compact coupe, released first in 1997. The Puma was built at one factory, and one factory only: Nielh, which is a Ford plant located in Cologne, Germany. Production of the Puma ended in 2001, though some models, most notably in the United Kingdom, were still registered all the way to the end of the year 2002.
The Ford Puma was a small sub-compact coupe, from the same base as the Ford Fiesta. The Puma arrived in an era where the 'hot hatch', as it was known, as falling out of favor with the majority of drivers, as a two-doored alternative to standard cars. Marketed with the tagline of 'A Driver's Dream', the Puma was powered by one of three engines: a 1.4, 1.6, or 1.7 litre engine - the power of which was fed to the front wheels. The Puma received acclaim for its design, which was compared to the 'big cat' from which its name is taken.
Pre-launch, the advertising campaign for the Ford Puma featured Steve McQueen, quite possibly most famous for the legendary 'Mustang vs Charger' car chase through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt. The advertising campaign used scenes from the film, which were interspersed with Steve McQueen travelling in the newer Puma.
Special Edition Models
During the production run of the Ford Puma, the Ford Motor Company released some special variants of the car, which boasted some unique changes, whether they were cosmetic or internal. Naturally, these Special Edition models are worth a higher price when on sale, but are less commonly encountered.
Black EditionOnly 1,600 Black Edition Ford Pumas were produced, and featured black leather interior, teamed with Ford's 'Panther Black' metallic bodywork. In addition, the car has special 'F1' rims. Ford's initial intentions were to produce only 1,000 specimens, but due to the overwhelming popularity, an additional 600 Black Edition cars made it out of the factory.
Millennium EditionThe Puma Millennium Edition was produced between 1999 and 2000, and was available only in Zinc Yellow, with dark blue leather Recaro interior. Millennium Edition Pumas are easily recognised due to the bright yellow paintwork, and both the Ford Ka and Ford Focus were available in Millennium Editions as well.
Puma Racing [ST160]The ST160 Racing Puma was a project created by the Ford Motor Company in order to push the Puma into rally racing, and initially 1000 models were to be produced. 500 of these ST160s were destined for the German market, while the other 500 would arrive in the United Kingdom. The ST160 Pumas were marked with their number in comparison to the other 499 heading to that nation. Unfortunately, the ST160 was viewed as excessively expensive, at a price higher even than the Subaru Impreza, which was seen as a much more high-performance car. Many of the ST160s could not find buyers, and Ford was forced to sell them at a vastly lowered price.
The Puma Thunder was one of the largest Special Edition variants available in the model line-up, with 2,000 being made in total. The Thunder models were produced between the year 2000, and 2002, when the Puma's production was ended entirely. The Thunder model was available in Moondust Silver and Magnum Grey. Moondust had been available during the entire production run of the Puma, but Magnum Grey was available only on the Thunder. Puma Thunders came with 6 disc CD Changers, grey leather interior, and multi-spoke alloys.