Analog Sports-Cars: I bought a Noble M12-GTO 3R

After sufficiently abusing my Miata turbo, I wanted to purchase a different analog sports car now that I could afford a bit more. I had previously had a C5 Z06 and loved the tractability and durability of the car, but wanted something a bit more unique and special this time.

Here was my run-downs of must-haves.

1. Manual Transmission

2. No health and Safety Nannies (TC/Stability Control)

3. Unique and Fun

4. Can drive it like a maniac without fearing a repair is $10,000+

I had considered a few cars for my analog expedition and narrowed it down to a Gen II Viper GTS (Doug Demuro style), an early 1995 Ferrari 355 Spider, and a Noble M12 GTO-3R.


In the end - I ended up getting this one:


What do I like about it?

To use a cliche this is a “Point A to A” car. Its really useless as a car for going places, but a riot for enjoying yourself. Luckily that’s why I bought it.

  • Sounds Good: The sound is suprisingly nice. Gutteral and very mechanial overlayed with a Darth Vader coughing fit (the blow-off valves make all sorts of chatter).
  • Its Quick: Its faster than most other cars I’ve driven. This car makes a bit over 440 whp at about 1 BAR. It weights 2400 lbs.
  • Steering is great: The feel, weighting, and loading under cornering are fantastic. Much more inspiring than any Corvette I’ve driven.
  • Mechanicals are Cheap: The engine is mostly Ford Duratec parts, so small items like oil pressure sensors, etc are pretty reasonably priced. Some of the specialty items are harder to find, but not outrageously priced.

What do I dislike?

  • Shifter is vague: Getting the 1-2 shift when cold is annoying. Its a bit more rubbery and sloppy than I’d prefer. Its nothing like the S2000/Miata gold standards.
  • It scrapes on everything: Its too damned low for even getting into and out of my driveway. So I carry wood planks with me everywhere and plan on refinishing the front splitter annually.

What’s the strangest thing?

No one has any idea what is is, but lot’s of people assume they do and tell me about it. They’ll tell me its a nice Lotus/Lamborghini most often and insist on naming the model. Others will know its a Nobel than spout off facts unrelated to Noble “Same guy who designed the McLaren F1" or other random non-facts “Its made in Italy”. 


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