There have been many fast Fords, but we’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.