Lee Noble is back with a new company - Fenix Automotive - and he is aiming to recapture the spirit of the M12 with his new V8, £70,000 supercar. Autocar has gone through the archives to bring you the best moments from the company that still bears his name.
Noble’s first car, designed by company founder Lee Noble, was the awkward-looking but surprisingly excellent to drive M10, which Autocar first compared with a Lotus Elise Sport 135 as long ago as 1999.
It wasn’t the prettiest of sports cars but the mid-engined chassis was amazingly well resolved for a first attempt, and the Ford V6 provided a decent enough slug of performance to keep an Elise honest.
Then came Noble’s eureka moment in the form of the South African-assembled M12, over 1500 of which were sold in six years. It had the same excellent chassis response and fluidity as the M10, but with a twin-turbo Ford V6 and a much better-looking body the M12 won an instant fan base.
It looked good, went like stink and didn’t cost the earth. And it was reliable. More than 1500 were made, and it’s still on sale in the US. Various versions were introduced over the years, including a bigger-engined, more powerful 3R model.
The astonishingly rapid M400 was the final and most dramatic derivative of the M12. Officially, this is Noble’s most recent road car, and although it got a new name because there were so many new parts beneath the skin, in reality the M400 was merely an even faster M12.
Handling was very much out of the same school as the M12, but on-boost performance was in the Lambo league. Despite this, the M400 was still reliable, and it remains a highly desirable secondhand prospect, hence the strong values.
Noble then embarked on the M14, which then became the M15, neither of which saw production. The M15 did, however, provide the platform for the M600, although it must be noted that Lee Noble left the company nearly two years ago.