Mark Werrell is one of the UK's top motorsport commentators, providing commentary at most major racing circuits & venues throughout the UK, as well as overseas. So, it's safe to say he knows one or two things about cars!
When Mark bought a Specialised Prestige + cover for his Ford Racing Puma, 1 of only 500 made, we wanted all the details - and photos!
Mark's Ford Racing Puma #082 was one of only 500 ever built and was originally registered in Brighton & Hove by Brighton Ford (formally known as Endeavor Motor Company) on 21 March 2000. Mark bought the car from its former owner in Sheffield on 22 February 2014, with a view to trying to return the car to as close to its original factory specification as possible.
There were many parts missing and in addition, numerous non-genuine parts had been fitted...work was clearly needed. Mark immediately set to work and to date, some of the work carried out, includes:
• Replacement of both offside and nearside sills, replacement of offside rear quarter panel including all associated body and paintwork. Waxoyl treatment to the underside of the car (by Paint Perfect – Lincoln).
• Refurbishment of wheels including shot blasting, repair and re-spray (by Nix Bodyshop – Lincoln). Mark also managed to track some of the original centre caps and inserts for the wheels which are exceptionally rare items.
• Replacement of rear sub-frame bushes with Powerflex polyurethane bushes.
• Replacement of top strut bushes.
• Full front & back brake system overhaul including new pistons, seals, new fronts discs including bells and rotors plus re-painting the callipers.
• Replacement of entire exhaust system including manifold with a stainless steel Janspeed system. (The original cars were supplied with a mild steel Janspeed system).
• Re-fitting and replacement of all front grilles including missing brake duct grilles.
• Replacement of the handbrake cable, although this in itself was a nightmare as the FRP was the only Puma ever fitted with rear discs so finding the correct part took many months.
• Re-trimming of the steering wheel in original factory blue Alcantara.
The Ford Racing Puma was the name eventually given to Ford's concept Puma, the Puma RS, which was first unveiled to the public at the 1999 Geneva Motorshow. At the time, Ford were keen to stress that this was no mere styling job and the idea was to transfer the know-how and technology learned directly from Ford Puma race and rally programmes to a road car. It was created by the Ford Rally specialist team at Boreham. The strictly limited production run was initially pencilled to run for 1000 units, with 500 destined for the German market, and 500 for the UK. All conversions were carried out by Tickford, Daventry UK. In the end, only the 500 destined for the UK market were produced and sold. It is believed that less than 300 of the original 500 cars built are still in existence.
The Racing Puma had a modified version of the 1.7 Zetec-SE engine pushing out 153bhp via an upgraded camshafts, sports exhaust system and a bespoke inlet manifold (individually numbered to the car).
The bodywork was changed to give it wider front and rear wings (70mm front & 90mm rear), with the track increased and the rims upgraded to 17" Speedlines which housed large Alcon 4 pot calipers and discs, with disc brakes to the rear.
The interior was also transformed with Sparco bucket seats finished in blue Alcantara trim, which was also used to trim the rear seats and door cards. This version was only made available in right hand drive to the UK market, with all 500 cars produced in Ford Racing Blue.
Less than half of the 500 cars were actually sold directly to customers, with the vehicle's high price (£23,000 when new) often cited as a reason, as rival performance cars such as the Subaru Impreza (with an additional 50+ BHP/Turbo, four-wheel-drive and rallying pedigree) were being offered for a maximum of £21,000 with the optional Pro Drive pack. The lower than anticipated demand had Ford offering Racing Pumas to senior managers through their MRC scheme, which enabled cars to continue being registered and converted. The lack of demand when brand new has actually paid off in the longer-term, as the rarity of the Racing Puma has allowed it to maintain an increased value over the standard Puma.
With the car back to near perfect condition, Mark was keen to protect his Puma whilst it was in storage. So, once he'd been using the cover a while we checked in with him to find out if he was happy with its performance...
Specialised Covers: What was the main reason for purchasing your cover?
Mark: To protect the car during storage. It’s stored in a heated garage, but the cover prevents any knocks or scratches plus it keeps the dust off it.
Specialised Covers: Are you happy your Specialised Covers cover has performed as promised and done the job?
Mark: It’s perfect! Great quality, well made, beautifully tailored and the car looks all cosy in it.
Specialised Covers: Are you happy with how the product looks when in use?
Mark: Totally, I couldn’t be happier with it.
Specialised Covers: Do you think Specialised Covers does anything particularly well, or is there anything that stands out for you?
Mark: Very easy to order online, a good delivery timescale given and stuck to, good communications throughout.
Specialised Covers: Would you recommend Specialised Covers?
Mark: You were recommended to me by a friend and I have subsequently recommended you to others. I did a lot of internet research before I used you and I have to say I’ve 110% happy with everything. Keep up the good work!
For more information about Mark Werrell, his work and where he'll be commentating next, you can visit his website here.
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