When Is An ‘Auto Knife’ Not An ‘Auto’ Knife?


When it’s a heavy-duty sheath knife, mounted in the footwell of your car. This is a vintage 1980s advertisement for a Puma “Auto Knife” with its special-purpose car sheath.


This kind of blade carry is illegal in more than a few jurisdictions (mine included) and I’d probably have serious reservations about doing it anyway. Leaving a useful-looking allzweckmesser in plain view in your car is both an invitation to theft and to curious/alarmed law enforcement inquiries.

By the most odd coincidence I recognized the knife in these old ads, because the exact same knife lived in the glovebox of my buddy’s pickup truck in high school. The blade is exceptionally thick and weighted toward the point. It’s great for chopping and batoning, and it’s damned-near impossible to snap off the tip.

Leo’s truck knife was a dull, pitted beater (kind of like his truck) but you should keep an eye out for them at pawn shops: a Puma like this will bring $250 or more in good condition today.


  1. Mike L says:

    Dang, I knew at some point you would get to what is the quintessential knife. This is a differently marketed “White Hunter”. The WH ads emphasized ties to African PHs. Carving up Jurassic big game. Saving the users life under the most extreme of conditions. A tool kept on person or in your Land Rover.

    Ultimately it was, and still is, the definition of a MANS KNIFE. If Crocodile Dundee had pulled a honking big Puma instead of his Bowie I would not be dissappointed at all. In fact I would have beamed.

  2. John says:

    This is a very cool tool, but fir camping and landscape work , not fir the close constraints of a vehicle . A beast like this needs room to “breathe ” and lots of air around it to wield it’s maximum potential . Love it, I imagine it is not fast in hand Being so front heavy, but dint want to be on the business end of this brute . Will be keeping my eye open one , john –

  3. jwm says:

    A repurposed Hitler Youth knife.

  4. Matt in FL says:

    This is awesome. I love the language of the ad. Something like this today would seem hopelessly tacticool, but with the patina of age, this just seems forthright and matter of fact about what it claims.

  5. Sam L. says:

    Back in the ’70s is when I recall first seeing this knife in ads or catalogs, and always liked the looks of it. Never wanted it enough to buy one, though. Still like the looks…

  6. don curton says:

    One should mount the knife “under” the rear of the car, beside the petrol tank, next to the switch that disarms the self-destruct system. Obviously.

    1. jwm says:

      A clever, quick fellow.

  7. Dogman says:

    With a stag handle, it is called the “White Hunter”.

    I bought one in 1971 for approximately $25.00. I dropped it on the kitchen floor and the blade broke off in 1975 (broke at a crack in the tang hidden by the grip panels–an obvious manufacturing defect). I returned it and Puma replaced it with the 1975 model. I’ve seen the new White Hunters selling for over $400 recently.

    Several years later I injured my leg on a backpacking trip and I used my White Hunter to cut a sapling and form a crutch. It helped me make it out of the woods and back to my vehicle. That damn knife was priceless.

  8. Charlie Brannon says:

    40 years ago, a buddy of mine had a 1956 VW with one of these mounted on the drivers side kick panel.
    The only Auto Puma I’ve ever seen.
    Very cool.
    And, it got stolen….

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When Is An ‘Auto Knife’ Not An ‘Auto’ Knife?

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