How to Tune a Ford Puma

Updated July 19, 2017

The Ford Puma is a small two-door, front-wheel-drive sport compact car that was produced from 1997 to 2001. The stylish Puma received widespread acclaim, but unfortunately was never sold in the United States. Over the Puma’s production run, Ford produced several performance editions, including the Racing Puma and a Group B Rally car. The Puma is still an ideal basis for a tuner vehicle.

Improve the suspension. In stock form, standard production Pumas have a relatively high ride height and soft suspension. Euro Performance carries an extensive line of suspension upgrades for the Puma, including stiffer, lower springs, performance shocks from Spax as well as full coilover conversions from kW (see "Resources"). The Puma also benefits from larger ant-roll bars, which help reduce body roll around corners.

Upgrade the wheels and tires. As with any tuned vehicle, the Puma looks great with the right set of wheels, which also help it perform better. England's Lark Speed carries a wide selection of larger, aftermarket wheels designed to fit on the Puma (see “Resources"). Mount performance tires on the wheels for a dramatic upgrade in the Puma’s grip and handling.

Tune the motor for more power. Milltek makes a high-quality exhaust system for the Puma that will bump the power output of the motor as well as make the exhaust note sound better. On the intake side of things, Pipercross makes a good intake that is less restrictive than the stock Puma intake. Performance camshafts, a ported and polished head and smaller pulleys are also common upgrades on the Puma motor.

Upgrade the brakes to keep up with the more powerful motor and better handling chassis. Alcon makes a big brake kit for the Puma that will drastically reduce stopping distances and reduce brake fade. If you want to spend less money, upgrade the rotors with cross-drilled rotors, install performance brake pads as well as braided steel brake lines.

Replace the original seats with racing-style, one-piece bucket seats from Recaro or Sparco. Not only will your Puma lose weight, but the driver and passenger will be held in far better during sporty driving. Replace the stock wheel with a smaller, grippier steering wheel, replace the shift knob and pedals with an alloy shift knob and alloy pedals.

Upgrade the exterior with a body kit that includes different front and rear bumpers, side skirts and a rear wing. If you prefer to keep things more subtle-looking, simply swap the original grill for a mesh grill and install a small splitter (spoiler) below the front bumper.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Speciality automotive tools
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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.