Monday 8th August 2011
PH BUYING GUIDE: NOBLE M12
Fast, fun, and affordable - your Noble experience starts here...
Lee Noble had been knocking on the door of greatness for some time when he launched the M12 GTO at the start of 2001. The previous M10 showed enormous promise as a driver's car, but awkward looks always held it back. Before that, Noble had been involved with the design of the Ultima and Ascari, but it was the M12 that propelled him through the doors of greatness and into the public eye.
Pretty and purposeful, the M12 arrived as a closed two-door coupe rather than the open-top of the M10. A 2.5-litre Ford V6 from the Mondeo ST200 was mid-mounted and had two Garret T25 turbochargers bolted on for good measure to produce 310bhp. That gives a power-to-weight ratio of 316bhp per tone, just shy of a contemporary Porsche 911 GT2's 317bhp per tone, so it's clear from a performance perspective the M12 aimed to mix with the best sports cars in the world.
Unfazed by such competition, Noble also rocked the performance car establishment with the M12's price of £45,950. When a standard Porsche 911 cost around £60,000, the M12 was a bargain that could see off 0-60mph in just 3.9 seconds.
The M12 evolved into the GTO-3 and 3R and eventually the M400, all offering amazing performance and handling for the price. A stillborn GTC convertible was shown at the 2002 British Motor Show and priced at £48,950, but it was dropped from the line-up before any were sold. Noble even went as far as detuning the 3.0-litre V6 engine to 290bhp by switching to one turbocharger, which also helped free up luggage space in the engine bay.
Although no longer available new in the UK, the Noble M400 lives on the USA under the Rossion banner. Called the Q1, it continues to use a 450bhp 3.0-litre Ford V6 engine, but the car is sold with the engine supplied separately to avoid US type approval regulations. The upside is it means parts supply for existing Noble owners is excellent and plenty of modifications to improve the car have been developed in the USA, where many owners race their Q1s.
(Pics by Brett Fraser, car for photography supplied by Kerridges)
Noble M12 Buying Guide Index:
Noble M12 ads (PH Classifieds)