Monday 8th August 2011
NOBLE M12 - INTERIOR
The interior is the one area where the Noble M12 could not compete with the likes of Porsche or Ferrari and their big budgets. Exposed chassis tubes that form a roll cage for the cabin are clearly visible running down the inside of the windscreen pillars. Trimmed in Alcantara, these tubes give the Noble's interior a more stripped-out race car feel than most of its competition.
Entry to the cabin is easy through the solid doors - no glassfibre flex here. Most cars have leather-covered seats, though Alcantara was an option, but the seats are not the most comfortable for longer journeys.
The 3R's Sparco seats are reckoned to be the best of the bunch but cannot be swapped into other models easily, not helped by their four-point harnesses in place of standard three-point seat belts. Noble moved the M400's seats 15mm further in towards the central tunnel for better weight distribution and to create more space for drivers wearing crash helmets on track days.
The simple dash is well laid out, but the stereo is quite a stretch over on the passenger side. Switchgear is borrowed from Ford's parts bin, as is the ignition key that comes from a Fiesta.
Air conditioning is an essential in the M12's cabin as it can get very hot. The M400 deleted air con from its standard equipment list to save weight, while the 3R comes with standard air con, leather seats and extra sound deadening that added an extra 30kg to its weight compared to a normal GTO-3. This goes a long way to explaining why the 3R rapidly became the best-selling M12. Fitted luggage was a £500 option but amounted to little more than half a dozen different sized bags Velcroed to parts of the cabin floor and rear bulkhead.
Make sure the air conditioning works effectively as it's not uncommon for it to fail. Another measure to help keep temperatures down inside the M12 is a modification to the gearbox tunnel to lessen heat soak. It's caused by the radiator's pipework running through the tunnel, but they also block up the vents that are supposed to let cooling air in.
Many owners have modified the tunnel themselves or a kit is available from Technical Dimensions (www.technical-dimensions.com) in the USA. Be warned, the kit costs $2500, though that does include labour for TD to do the work at its Florida base so importing a kit to the UK would be cheaper.
Noble M12 Buying Guide Index:
Noble M12 ads (PH Classifieds)