November 27, 2022

Sam’s tuned Ford Puma mauls its prey with sabre-sharp dealing with and turbocharged tempo.

Function from Quick Ford journal. Phrases: Ben Birch. Pictures: Jason Dodd.

Sam Morgan is a man who likes to be totally different. Each single modification he has made to his turbocharged Ford Puma over the previous 16 years has been a really private selection with no bending to scene norms, and the top result’s a real one-off. What number of huge arched, turbocharged Ford Puma builds have you ever ever seen?

In reality, how many individuals would even select a Ford Puma to base their venture on?

Sam admits, “I do know they’re not everybody’s cup of tea, however this automotive represents enormous sentimental worth to me.”

Sam’s love for quick Fords got here from his mom, who ferried him round as a boy in her XR2i, XR4x4 and Capri, to call a number of previous Blue Ovals.

He says, “I do not forget that she drove actually quick. We each favored the Ford Puma when it first hit the showrooms, and in 2005 she kindly helped me to purchase this one.”

Sadly, just some months after they bought the automotive, Sam’s mom handed away. Since then, Sam and his Ford Puma have launched into a journey of gradual however very significant transformation collectively, evolving a totally customary procuring automotive right into a critically succesful quick highway weapon.

The primary mods got here within the type of larger alloy wheels, reducing springs, an exhaust and cone air filter – basic first steps that began many people on our automotive modifying journey. These actually wakened the Puma, and Sam was very pleased for some time. Till he opened the Pandora’s field often known as house owners’ membership boards…

Interior shot of Turbocharged Ford Puma

He says, “I received closely concerned within the Puma boards and sooner or later I got here throughout a crashed Racing Puma within the classifieds part.”

Sam had at all times dreamed of becoming huge arches, however he initially purchased the crashed Racing Puma components as extra of an funding.

“Elements for limited-edition vehicles at all times find yourself being a sound future funding, however after a 12 months I checked out the entire stuff I had amassed: real panels, suspension, brakes, drivetrain… You identify it. So, I assumed to hell with it and determined to suit all of it to my automotive,” he causes.

Wheel shot of Turbocharged Ford Puma

Just about each element bespoke to the Racing Puma was bolted up, together with axles, hubs, suspension, physique panels and the beautiful short-ratio gearbox, which Sam rebuilt on his household’s kitchen desk.

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Topping all of it was the 1.7-litre engine being handled to Racing Puma cams and inlet manifold quantity 0591 – it was now basically a Panther Black Racing Puma in each side apart from the logbook.

Sam enthuses, “I fell in love with the automotive yet again – the dealing with, the appears to be like… It was now a totally totally different animal.”

Engine shot of Turbocharged Ford Puma

Anybody who’s spent seat time in a Racing Puma is aware of how a lot of a hoot they’re to drive; their razor-sharp dynamics and buzzy drivetrain urge you to strategy even the common-or-garden weekly store with the main target and deft contact of a racing driver. As an train in stability and driving purity Racing Pumas actually don’t want any enchancment, however as you’ll be able to inform, Sam is way from a purist.

He explains, “Within the fingers of a tremendous driver a normal FRP might drive rings round most scorching hatches, however for me, there’s a lack of energy in comparison with their immense ranges of grip and agility of their chassis. There’s a lot headroom. I couldn’t assist feeling they need to have include one other 100bhp from the manufacturing facility.”

Whereas researching numerous tuning choices, Sam got here throughout Lightning Motorsport. The Essex-based agency has turned out a number of turbocharged Pumas, together with real Ford Racing variations, however the conversion was nonetheless fairly unique ten years in the past. Remembering again to a boyhood passenger trip in an Escort RS Turbo, Sam determined this was the best way to go, and began to gather the components.

“There are some beautiful supercharger kits obtainable however turbos provide you with that addictive surge in energy that I feel is so exhilarating and enjoyable,” he provides.

It took Sam a number of years to save lots of up for and stockpile the elements required, and should you take a look at the spec checklist you’ll see neither he nor Lightning Motorsport had been messing round. Metal liners, together with solid rods and pistons, give the underside finish a preventing probability with enhance, and the top advantages from customized cams. A customized gas rail with 660cc injectors hangs off one facet, and a GT28R turbo mounted to a tubular manifold hangs off the opposite.

Sam says, “My unique purpose was 250 to 300bhp. Though the engine is constructed for 400bhp, with my barely smaller turbo we made 313bhp and simply over 280lb.ft of torque at simply 1.3-bar of enhance.”

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Lightning Motorsport constructed the engine, Sam spent a number of months becoming all of it again into the engine bay, and an area tuner mapped the Emerald ECU.

“After mapping, even on low enhance, which is round 220bhp, it was mind-blowing,” Sam continues. “It’s an enormous quantity of enjoyable however really it’s very useable and doesn’t unbalance or damage the general bundle.”

Sensibly, the brakes had been upgraded to Mk1 Focus RS callipers and discs up entrance and a rear disc conversion out again, composed of OEM Ford tools from different fashions.

Sam explains, “I did ponder going for the massive Alcon Racing Puma brakes, however they’re extra suited to racing, don’t have mud seals, and I used to be at all times studying about Racing Puma house owners moaning about them, so determined the aftermarket route was higher for me, given it’s an on a regular basis automotive.”

Whereas Sam was getting the engine again into the automotive, there was a significant setback that might solely actually occur in rural Cornwall: a tractor clipped the rear quarter and ruined the gorgeous Racing Puma huge arches.

“It was gutting, as a result of as a substitute of merely gluing the huge arches on high of the rear quarter panels just like the Racing Pumas do, we had gone to the hassle of chopping the unique quarter panels out earlier than becoming the arches,” admits Sam.

Autoworx bare-metalled the rear of the turbocharged Ford Puma and carried out another repairs earlier than giving Sam an actual conundrum: “They mentioned it wouldn’t be far more problem to bare-metal the remainder of the automotive and paint it in no matter color I needed. I beloved the unique Panther Black however I got here throughout a 3M color known as Tremendous Black, and I assumed ‘nicely, if I’m going to go black, it could as nicely be tremendous black’.”

The paint is a high-gloss, non-metallic end, which actually does set off the curves and offers the Puma a way more severe manner than the sparkly unique shade. Toughening the appears to be like additional is a full carbon fibre bonnet, which Sam took the courageous step of chopping real RS Turbo bonnet vents into to assist launch turbocharger warmth from the engine bay.

Cockpit of Turbocharged Ford Puma

Sam says, “It felt very bizarre chopping into a wonderfully good, and fairly costly carbon bonnet, however I measured dozens of instances and minimize as soon as. Fortunately it got here out all proper.”

We’d say it got here out higher than all proper, and we’re not the one ones. Sam attends Ford reveals along with his creation and it attracts a crowd – fortunately for all the appropriate causes.

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“The one largest praise I get is when folks stroll previous it, then stroll again over and inform me they don’t like Pumas, however they actually like this one,” he laughs.

And even when different folks didn’t prefer it, we get the sensation Sam wouldn’t care one iota.

“Blasting down British B-roads, it simply comes alive,” he grins. “The driving expertise is so visceral and never one aspect stands out above one other. For me it’s the whole bundle and I simply get pleasure from driving it…

Driving shot of Turbocharged Ford Puma

“If my mum was right here I feel she’d actually get pleasure from driving it too, and I feel she could be happy with what I’ve achieved.”

Unsurprisingly, this wonderful turbocharged Ford Puma is a keeper for all times, but it surely’s far more than only a automotive. It’s eternally a significant half in his life.

Tech Spec: Turbocharged Ford Puma


1679cc Zetec SE (Sigma), solid rods and pistons, metal block liners, baffled sump, balanced and keyed crank, heavy-duty valves and is derived, customized Piper cams, customized stainless tubular exhaust manifold and 3in exhaust system, Garrett GT28R turbo, customized laborious enhance pipes, alloy radiator, intercooler and oil cooler, Aeroquip Teflon-lined gas system, customized gas rail, 660cc Bosch gas injectors, Bosch Motorsport 044 gas pump, Emerald K6 ECU and customized wiring harness


313bhp and 281lb.ft of torque


Racing Puma IB5 gearbox and driveshafts, Quaife ATB diff, lightened flywheel and uprated clutch


Racing Puma wishbones and knuckles, H&R -30mm reducing springs, Bilstein B8 dampers


Entrance: Mk1 Focus RS brake callipers with Reyland two- piece 324mm discs; rear: Racing Puma callipers with Reyland Mk1 Focus two-piece 280mm discs

Wheels & Tyres:

7.5x18in Rota Sub Zero alloys with 215/35R18 Toyo Proxes tyres


Racing Puma panels and bumper, Ford S1600 rally automotive spoiler, carbon fibre bonnet with Escort RS Turbo vents, carbon fibre splitter, smoothed entrance quantity plate recess


Customized rear half roll cage painted Tremendous Black, rear door playing cards modified to suit round roll cage, rear seats eliminated, Racing Puma entrance and rear Alcantara door card inserts, Sparco Roadster driver’s seat and Torino passenger seat retrimmed to match door playing cards, Sparco steering wheel, Race Applied sciences digital sprint in customized encompass, Ford Racing gauges, customized headlining, solar visors and glove field door