On this day in auto history - August 1st

Sun 1st Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1997 that Ford introduced its much-hyped small coupe, the Puma, to the UK.

Built exclusively at the company’s Niehl plant in Cologne and sold only in Europe, the all-new vehicle was notable for an award-winning TV advertising campaign which digitally transposed the iconic late actor Steve McQueen into a Puma on the streets of San Francisco.

Praised by critics for its head-turning ’new edge’ styling and refined handling, the Puma - which was aimed at both sexes - was hailed in many quarters as a ‘modern classic’ and, given that its introductory list was just £12,000, was named Top Gear’s Car of The Year in 1997.

Though the vehicle never quite caught fire with the public in the manner Ford hoped, it still came as something of a surprise when Ford ended production of the vehicle in 2001.

During its relatively short production run, less than 200,000 Pumas were sold throughout Europe, the bulk of them in the UK.