Lee Noble, the designer and engineer who founded sports car manufacturer Noble, is making a bold return to the low-volume industry with a production version of the lightweight, 500bhp-plus track-focused test mule he demonstrated five years ago.
Named the Exile (as is Noble’s new business), the road-legal mid-engined two-seat coupé combines a motorsport-bred chassis with supercar-quick acceleration.
Now powered by a 504bhp twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre Ford Ecoboost V6 (replacing the mule’s Cadillac V6), the Exile should accelerate from 0-60mph in 3.5sec and on to a top speed of 165mph, according to its maker.
“The only changes we’ve made have been a dry sump for better track performance and bespoke mapping of the ECU,” said Noble. “Durability and simplicity were key here – and making it pretty quick, too.”
Drive is delivered to the Exile’s rear axle via a Graziano six-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential to the same spec as the Lamborghini Diablo’s.
“It’s bulletproof and it will shift gear as quick as I can move my arm,” claimed Noble.
Currently weighing just 1100kg in prototype form, the Exile will be one of the lightest performance cars of its kind.
Its chassis comprises a semi-monocoque centre section and a steel tubular perimeter frame with a bonded-aluminium honeycomb skin for greater torsional rigidity.
Its all-round double-wishbone suspension is controlled by three-way adjustable dampers, while six-pot Wilwood calipers and ventilated brake discs feature at each corner.
To avoid the need for costly type approval, the Exile has no anti-lock braking, traction control or stability control.
The car’s rakish new body (rendered by Autocar, based on Noble’s drawings) is formed from a glass-reinforced plastic composite and is 4216mm long and 1828mm wide, with a wheelbase of 2438mm.
The latest prototype’s body has been CNC-machined and is ready to be fitted to the rolling chassis (pictured left) in the next few weeks ahead of initial whole-car testing.
Noble aims to sell 200 Exiles per year at a unit price of “less than £100,000”.
He is holding talks with several investors to fund the project, which could once again involve manufacturing by High Tech Automotive in South Africa, which part-built the successful Noble M12.