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  The story of the PUMA!

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More Pic's, click on the Puma!!

Before the Puma  --   Finding the Puma  --   Working on the Puma  --   The Specs

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Before the Puma

It all started back in '82. I bought my brand new Dodge Charger 2.2,charger1-tn.jpg (6113 bytes) my first new car!!

Boy was that a mistake! One problem after another, it was at Boley's (gone and forgotten) the local Dodge dealer, more than it was on the road! I suffered with that for a year letting the dealer fix all the problems. I ended up giving it to my brother John who keep it for a while before trading it for a new  Mitsubishi Starion. I then started my "I'll just find a nice used car and fix it myself phase". Actually, 2nd phase, before the Charger, I had "restored" a '70 Chevy Impala (first car, that's another story) and a '74 Opel Manta openmanta1-tn.jpg (6424 bytes).

I sold that and needed some wheels, so I picked up a '76 Toyota Celica celica1-tn.jpg (6554 bytes) to get me by.

I then started looking for my next "project".

I spyed a '72 Opel GT opel1-tn.jpg (6296 bytes) in a want ad magazine and had to have it! I cleaned it up and ended up with this...opel2-tn.jpg (6570 bytes) That was fun for a while.

Then I started on "I gotta have a truck!" I ended up trading my GT in for a Toyota 4X4. toyota1-tn.jpg (6167 bytes) Me and John just had to do some 4x4'n in the woods. toyota2-tn.jpg (7765 bytes)

We'll, I ended up trading that for a Pathfinder. pathfinder1a-tn.jpg (6183 bytes)
Oops, got a little ahead of my self there. Actually the Puma came before the Pathfinder...ok, ok, back to the Puma.

Finding the Puma

It was May of '87, the Charger was forgotten, the Opels were gone the Celica rusted apart, the 4X4 was full of mud, I needed a sports car! But I didn't want the average, everyone's got one, shinny new sports car from the local Chevy, Ford or Chrysler dealer. I wanted something different. Something unique. I looked in used car books, I looked at foreign cars, specialty cars, older Mustangs, Camaros, Vettes, but I didn't see anything that caught my eye. I started looking at Kit cars, they were different. But when I started looking into it, I realized that either I would need an endless supply of money to buy all the "needed" parts, or it would be years before I could put all the pieces together to make it not look like a "KIT". It was beginning to look like I wouldn't find anything. Then as I was reading through the May '87 issue of Peterson's Kit Car, there it was, "Powerhouse Puma", a sooped up Puma that could do the 1/4-mile in 11.6 seconds. Wow, this looked promising! And on the next page, "Build and drive a Puma in 15 hours", ooh, looking better!puma-ad3-tn.jpg (10709 bytes) They styling looked like the cross between an Alpha-romeo and a Porsche. So I started looking for more info on the Puma.  I spent the next month looking for as much info as I could on the Puma. Then in the June issue of Kit Car Illustrated, on the last page, "At $6995, the Puma GTI sets new industry standards". The ad by Louismet Autoworks. So I cut out the ad and sent it in. I waited for info to come back. After I read the brochure, I had to have it!!! So I called Loiusmet Autoworks, little did I know, they were having a going out of business sale! They said they only had 2 left! I had to choose from a silver convertible or a yellow coupe, of course I took the yellow coupe! (If anyone bought from Loiusmet Autoworks, please e-mail me, I'd like to find out if I actually did get one for the last ones!) So I nervously gave him my credit card number to hold the Puma (not knowing if they really had any left since they were going out of business) while I scrambled to get a loan for the rest of the money. So my order was placed, now I just had to wait for it to arrive...and wait I did. I started getting nervous, I called every two week wondering when it would arrive. "We are still trying to arrange transportation". "We are waiting for the delivery truck to arrive". "We are trying to schedule a delivery to you area". Boy, was I really getting nervous. Then in August, they assured me that the Puma was on the truck and it is on the way. By this time I figured my deposit is gone and the Puma will never arrive! We'll the call finally came  from the shipping company, "We are on the way, we'll be a little late, we had several other Puma's to drop off". So I called several of my family members and told them I would need some help loading the parts off the truck. So we waited, and waited, 'til after dark. Then finally the rumble of the diesel engine could be heard in the dark. It was finally here!!! We all went out side and looked at the lone Puma on the car carrier. We look at each other...how were we going to get it off the trailer, it didn't have any wheels on it! "Don't worry the driver said, it's not that heavy". So we had 8 people lifting the Puma from the truck on to some wooden pallets, actually, it wasn't that heavy, after all, it didn't have the engine, tranny or front end installed. When day light broke the next day, I was ready to jump in and drive it away...but I couldn't, had to put it together first! 

The Puma, as it sat on the pallet, August 27,1986.

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Working on the Puma

I pulled out the floor jacks and jack stands and started working on it the next day. A couple week ends later I was ready to start it up and start tuning it. Those dual carbs were a pain to set up. I got the 2275cc engine to go with my Puma. Now that it was running, it was time to start making "my" custom modifications. First I needed some wheels! I started looking at wheels to fit that 4 bolt VW pattern. Not much luck finding wheels for that bolt pattern. I ended up finding a set of wheel adapters to go from VW to Chevy 5 bolt pattern. That helped speed up finding some nicer wheels. I got Falcon VR 205/50's for the front and 225/50's for the rear. (to be changed later) I installed a performance timer. interior1.jpg (97141 bytes)This was only going to be used to check my speed in MPH (yea, right!) since the stock steer1-tn.jpg (17163 bytes)Puma came with a speedometer in KM/H. It also has a 0-60 timer and 1/4 mile time display. I had to move the head light switches to install the performance timer. I removed the heater controls (I plan on only driving in the summer any ways) to install the new switches in the center console. ctr-sws1-tn.jpg (15824 bytes) Later I ended up changing some of the original gauges to new VDO (see below). I also installed a Scat chrome plated gear shifter.

I needed a stereo!spkr-r.jpg (96066 bytes)
I Got a Sony XR-7100 Stereo with cassette deck (top of the line back then) with some Pioneer TS-X40 Speakers.  I added a shelf above where the "luggage" storage area is, covered it with black material to match the interior. I didn't need a booster, the speakers were only about 2 ft from my ears.


After driving my Puma for a couple summers (only about 800 miles) the clutch started squealing, real loud! After asking around and not getting much good news, I decided to pull the clutch. After pulling the clutch, I found that the "C" clips holding the through out bearing in had scored groves in them. What I found out is the the clutch that came with the engine was for a late model transaxle (post-68'), not a early model (up to 68'). I ended up replacing the clutch with a Kennedy 1700lb Kush Lock Disc. Later I installed an external fuel pressure regulator and filer. I started changing jets in the carb to improve performance.

After 4 years of tuning, tinkering, and just havin' fun. Disaster struck! (I won't tell the whole story here), but lets just say, an inferior quality oil cooler return hose let go! The oil sprayed all over and the engine seized up!  :-@    >:->  :-(  :-(  :-(   Lets just say, I was not happy!!!

Well, after a couple months of mourning. I started planning phase 2 of the Puma. I didn't want to put in another VW engine. So I started looking into how to install another type of engine on a VW transaxle. I knew there had been RX-7 engines installed on tranaxles, but I heard they weren't the easiest to service. So I started checking magazine again. I came across Kennedy Engineered Products of Palmdale, CA. They make adapter plates for all kinds of engines. So I called and go a catalog. Now came the tough part, figuring out what engine to put into it. I called them and asked if the know of anyone putting another engine in a Puma, but they didn't know of any. I narrowed it down to either a GM Quad 4, Nissan V6, Buick V6 or a Ford V6. I had to narrow it down from there, well the Quad 4 would have been nice, but that engine was only a couple years old, so there weren't any sitting around in the junk yards, I would have to buy a new one, that would have been a couple grand to start! Similar story with the Nissan V6, it was even more expensive. So it was down to the Buick V6 and the Ford V6. It got even easier to choose when a friend of mine told me he had just taken a V6 out of his Bronco II to put in a V8. At $150 for a complete running engine, how could I turn that down! So I took it, tore it down, and started to rebuild it. (see Specs) The trick now was to make it fit under the hood, and to cool it.

I installed the radiator up front, with 2" electrical conduit installed rear to front for cooling,hood1-tn.jpg (14424 bytes) hoses are a variety from different cars, cut to fit. Cut several 2" dia. holes behind the radiator for air flow, and used sheetmetal to direct air flow, I cut out some slots were the front bumper is to allow air to flow into the radiator.

scoop-wing-tn.jpg (12439 bytes)I had a scoop added to the rear lid by a local body shop to allow the air cleaner to fit.




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Some Pic's of the V6!!

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tach, changed r3 from 18K to 10K to allow 6 cylinder rpms to be correct

Installed heavy duty shocks with springs, to take up the extra weight.       

Hope to do, redress wires and hoses with braid dress up kit, re-paint engine, coat exh manifolds, pipes. High per ignition  

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The Specs

Engine Interior
Engine, '85 2.8L Ford V6 (from Bronco II)
Bored .040 over
Ignition Coil, 40K volts chrome plated VDO night design gauges
Kennedy Engineered Products adapter plate #1200 Ford V6 to 68 VW Swing Axle Morse accelerator cable Radio, Sony XR-7100
Carburetor Holly 4160 HLY-0-8007 Radiator IR469 for 78 Chevy Monza V6-231CU Speakers, Pioneer TS-X40
Offenhauser Intake Manifold OFY6097DP 14" Radiator Fans, x2
Summit Racing MRG-1987
Switches by Carlingswitch
for '75 Pinto 2.8L V6
Muffler MAR16802 2" in/out
Spark plugs Splitfire SF10D gap .044
Other Exterior
Custom Fiberglass Hood Scoop addition Spoiler by GTS Styling, Lexan GT020 Wheel adapters, VW 4 bolt to Chevy 5 bolt
Chrome Hood Pins Summit Racing MOR-39020 Antenna, Radio Shack 20-011, Multi-Frequency Wheels, Prime 15x8
KYB Shocks with adjustable springs Tires
F-Falcon 225/50VR15
R-Michelin Sport XGT 255/60VR15

Original Puma Specs

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