Ford Puma S1600 'Works' Rally Car at H&H IWM Auction

Ford Puma S1600 'Works' Rally Car at H&H IWM Auction

4th Jun, 2023 13:00 - Imperial War Museum - Duxford, Cambridgeshire
2001 Ford Puma S1600 'Works' Rally Car - Estimate £60,000 - £80,000 
Registration No: X885 YOO
Chassis No: WF0BXXBZEB1Z29400

S1600 Ford Motor Company 'Works' rally car, with its 'Works' registration number of 'X855 YOO'
Developed and produced at Ford's Boreham facility, with no less than Stig Blomqvist as the test driver
Active in competition since 2001, 'X855 YOO' has started 50 times with 3 total victories

Campaigned by British drivers Kris Meeke and Guys Wilks in their first full season of British Rally Championship rallying in 2002
In date Motorsport Passport being issued on the 5th April 2023 and running up to the 5th of April 2033
The subject of a bare shell rebuild some 5 years ago

Super 1600 (or S1600) was a rally car formula that essentially underpinned the Junior World Rally Car Championship from 2001 – 2010. Entrants had to be two-wheel drive, powered by a naturally aspirated engine of no more than 1640cc and to have been produced in volumes exceeding 2,500 units. The most famous S1600 alumni was Sebastien Loeb who subsequently won the World Rally Championship nine times! Competing S1600 manufacturers included Citroen, Volkswagen, Renault, Suzuki, Fiat, MG and Ford. The latter based its contender on the Ford Racing Puma that was produced in conjunction with Tickford (the two firms having previously collaborated on the RS200) and which featured wider front / rear tracks, improved brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels and decidedly more muscular bodywork than the standard Puma.

Ford produced two versions of the Puma Rally Car, the S1400 which was sold to privateers and the S1600 that was (at least initially) reserved for Works drivers. The S1600 cars were modified and prepared at Boreham, the home of Ford’s Competition Department up until 2003. Bodyshells arriving at the former Essex airfield were fitted with full roll cages, altered to accommodate a larger radiator via a trick slam panel and given front anti-roll bar mounts. Powered by a reworked 1596cc DOHC all-alloy four-cylinder engine developing some 200bhp allied to Hewland six-speed manual transmission, the enhanced Coupe’s impressive specification also included: a limited slip differential, adjustable suspension all-round (McPherson strut front / Ford Racing trailing arm beam rear) and uprated Alcon four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front discs with 4-pot callipers and solid rear discs with 2-pot callipers). A 55-litre FIA ‘bag’ fuel tank was located under the rear floor, while the use of composite wheelarches and bumpers kept weight down to 880kg. Test driver duties for the S1600 development programme were undertaken by Stig Blomqvist.

British drivers such as Kris Meeke and Guys Wilks both used the Puma during 2002, their first full season contesting the British Rally Championship, with the front-wheel drive Coupe helping to launch both men’s careers. It was, however, Francois Duval who delivered the Puma’s crowning glory with a Junior WRC win on the 2002 Monte Carlo Rally. By then Duval was signed to Malcolm Wilson’s ‘Works’ Ford team and his Puma programme was split through 2002 with a selection of outings in a Ford Focus RS WRC 02.

Presented here is a Puma S1600 Ford Motor Company 'Works' rally car which still sports its original registration number, 'X855 YOO'. Following the Ford Motor Company’s initial custody, 'X855 YOO' then entered privateer ownership with Astra Racing in Spain before passing to a Belgian equipe. Retaining its original ‘Gold Book’ JWRC Passport, the Coupe has recently been granted a new MSA logbook which remains valid until April 5th 2033.

Active in competition since 2001, 'X855 YOO' has started 50 times with 3 total victories: Rapid Fit Rally of Wirral 2001; Silverstone Rally 2001; Formula Jim Clark Rally 2001, all under the ownership as a 'Works' car with the Ford Motor Company. The last competitive rally activity in the UK was as a Ford Motor Company 'Works' car during May 2004 at the Bloodhound Stages, with previous drives in the Wales Rally GB, the Manx, Scottish and Pirelli rallies in 2003. Other significant participation has included the Acropolis, Rally Catalunya and Monte-Carlo. It was last used in anger in competition in 2019 at the Rallye de la Famenne.

The subject of a ‘bare shell’ refurbishment some 5 years ago, 'X855 YOO' is understood to have covered c.400km since its engine and gearbox were overhauled and some 150km since a rejuvenation of the original dynamic suspension. The Puma has benefitted from an oil and filter change in the last 12 months and comes complete with a data lead, homologation papers, parts list and a V5C. A rare opportunity to buy a Works built and Works campaigned Ford Rally Car from the latter days of Boreham.

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