Requiem for a Puma

Suddenly at 71 years... Well, 71 thousand miles in this case. Obituary for a well-liked car. 71,000 miles at an average speed of, say, 30mph means Ruth or I spent 2,366.666 hours at the wheel of the Puma. That is 98.61 days. Fourteen weeks, day and night, or three and a half months. First registered in 2001, one of the last Puma Thunders, R50DOV had been on show in the foyer of Ford’s Brentford office and came to us with 4 miles on the clock. It was brought on a transporter from Essex to Wemyss Bay, so by the time it reached Duncan, the Ford dealer on the Isle of Bute, it had gone further by sea than it had on its own wheels.

What a pretty car. Silver. It may have been only a Fiesta underneath, but designed by Ian Callum (Jaguars, Aston Martin DB7, RS200, Mondeo) it was well proportioned and beautifully detailed. Ruth liked it from the start. It only did around 6,500 miles a year because we had other cars and a throughput of test cars. Ruth used it for commuting and going out saving lives, so I suppose most of the 14 weeks’ day-and-night in it was down to her. We used it surprisingly often for long distances between the north of Scotland and the south of England. Her friend Iona liked the Puma’s style so much she bought one too.

R50DOV had distinguished company from time to time

Buying R50DOV’s replacement was an unedifying experience. What with the time it took and the rigmarole. “The Financial Services Authority insists I read out the following…” Rubbish of course. Car salesmen try to sell you policies for this and policies for that and the FSA would only insist on you sitting down to listen if you were actually going to buy one, which we were not. It was all a ploy to get your attention and after a couple of boring read-outs we got wise and said Shut Up We Are Not Going To Buy That. One stupid salesman, trying to sell Ruth a car too noisy by half, told her that Nobody Drives Nowadays Without The Radio On, so she wouldn’t be aware of the racket. He didn’t stand a chance. An Audi A1 was a possibility but to get a decent one you have to add on this and add on that.

So fatigue was setting in by the time we came to several choices of Ford or a Honda Jazz. Sales lady at Ford did a good professional job – she will go far – but the Honda won despite a salesman blundering over things one would have expected expunged by Honda main dealer salesmens’ school. The Jazz is not as stylish as the Puma and Ruth will miss the heated windscreen this winter – what a boon that was. She already misses the pert Callum styling. The Jazz doesn’t cut as much of a dash, but it’s bigger and we can use it for journeys for which the Puma was really too small. The Jazz will hold more, it could even hold two Labadors, and it is quiet. Ruth hardly needs to turn the radio up beyond Quite Normal.

Room for a couple of Labradors in here?