I wanted a Puma ever since I got my driver’s licence. At that time (1986) I was under the
impression that the Puma was a kit car, so I mailed Mr. Wijker asking about buying a
Puma in kit form. I got a very nice letter back, pricing a kit at R 3 200. At that stage a
complete car sold for R 15 600.
- Letter from Puma Marketing (Pty) Ltd
(26K) (Dated 1 April, but I’m sure the offer was serious 🙂 )
- Puma Marketing Price List No. 9, January 23, 1986 (52K)
- Brazilian Puma GTE & GTS factory specifications (19K) Note the 182 km/h top speed with a 4.125 gearbox — I calculate the engine revs would be about 5500, which will lead to a fairly short life for a standard Beetle engine.
Fortunately (for me, but unfortunately for my dream of having a Puma) I was given a car by a relative. A second-hand Citroen GS1220, but that’s another story. I drove the Citroen until I had the money to buy my own car, which was… a second-hand Puma. (never should have got rid of the Citroen, damn, those were nice cars)
I first thought my Puma was built in 1971, but when I removed the VIN plate and cleaned it, I could see that it reads
MODEL: 1974 ENGINE No. 134259 PRODUCTION No. 129
I bought the Puma in February 1994 for R 10 000. By then the original upright engine had been replaced by a fairly tired Type III flat engine. I bought a totalled Variant, and rebuilt the Type IV engine completely. I paid ~R2500 for new pistons, bearings, valves, and seals, and the machining of the case, barrels and heads ran to another ~R2500.
When I swapped the engines I replaced the wiring from the engine bay to the dash. (people who use 15 amp mains wire for 12V feeds should be shot) After driving around with wires all over the floor and hanging out under the dashboard I finally decided to fix it. That was somewhere around March 1997.
I rewired the dashboard — this is a bigger job than it looks — but I still have to rewire the front lights and indicators. (Did I mention my incipient shipfitters disease?)
I parked the Puma in February 1998, the gearbox was jumping out of first and the brakes were, erm, interesting, to say the least.