Recently, I took the plunge and bought myself one of the last very low mileage Ford Pumas on the road, a car which at the time of launch in 1999 were considered to be one of the very best FWD handling cars, at any price. Its rivals were the Peugeot 205 GTi and of course the iconic VW Golf GTi. Now having driven the Puma for over three thousand miles, I am convinced that it is a better handling car than either. However, I live in rural Ireland and the roads are narrow, bumpy and very unpredictable particularity at night when more often than not, it is raining hard.
This threw up one very obvious deficiency in the Puma as a driver’s car, namely the headlamps. Although both dip and high beam use projector lenses the quality of the light from these cars was nothing short of atrocious. Like most enthusiasts I resorted to the internet and the various forums to see what solutions other owners had come up with. Unfortunately, as these cars are now 20 years old most of the reviews for improved lighting solutions were based around either higher powered incandescent halogen bulbs or, aftermarket xenon light kits. Surprisingly, neither seemed to make a significant difference in relation to the quality and quantity of light put out by these small projector lamps.
It was for this reason that I decided to investigate whether or not LED bulbs had progressed sufficiently in terms of quality and light output in order to justify the not inconsiderable price premium for them. After doing extensive research on the different makes and brands from Europe America and China I eventually decided to purchase a set of NovSight LED bulbs for the Puma. Initially, I only bought one pair because my experience with other so-called performance bulbs had been very disappointing. These allegedly high-powered ‘cool white’ incandescent bulbs were a massive disappointment after having bought two different sets from two different manufacturers, Philips and Osram.
I purchased the NovSight LED’s from Amazon and went for the H7 15000LM 70W Super Bright LED Headlight Conversion Kit with a 6000 K colour. It should be noted that the 15,000 lm refers to the light output from both bulbs, each of which is 35W and approximately 20 watts less than the standard fit H7 bulbs.
The performance of these bulbs is way beyond expectation. Just look at the photographs. On rural roads these LED’s make the difference between being able to ‘push on’ even on unfamiliar roads whereas using the brightest legally available incandescent bulbs (from the market leaders) left me feeling drained, as I struggled to see the road ahead. Quite simply, these bulbs are the most cost effective upgrade that I have made to any car (including Rally cars) that I have made in over forty years.
The standard ‘projector’ headlights on the Mk1 Ford Puma are dreadful. Just look at the internet forums going back over years and you will read that although owners have tried every type of high performance incandescent bulbs, nothing made any real difference to light quality. When I fitted high wattage (75w, 5,000K) ‘cool blue’ incandescent bulbs to my Puma I could see a very small improvement, but definitely not enough to justify their high price. However, when I changed to the NovSight Super Bright LED Headlight bulbs (35W, 7,500 lumens, 6,000K) the difference was nothing short of staggering.
On my Puma the easiest way to replace the headlamp bubs is to remove the entire lamp unit. Once off, I simply twisted the existing H7 bulbs and replaced them with the NovSight. The only issue I encountered was that the depth of the NovSight bulbs (the base of the bulb that includes a cooling fan) was more than the original H7 bulbs. Consequently, it is a good idea to make sure that your rear headlamp cover can accommodate the additional depth. It is only around 1cm so it shouldn’t be a problem in most cars.
Buy them! It really is that simple. Until fitting the Novsight LED’s I suspected that LED bulbs were a bit of a gimmick and were fitted (by Boy Racers!) to give the car a more modern look because of the much cooler colour temperature. I could not have been more wrong as the lighting performance is simply staggering. LED technology has progressed massively in the last few years as they are now standard fitment on many new prestige cars. If you were hesitating jumping in and fitting them to your car, I suggest that you do. You will not be disappointed. To go to the NovSight page on Amazon (UK) click the link below.