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Last week I was down at Monterey Car Week through some interesting turns of fate my friend and I ended up having an extremely rare 2007 Noble M400 for a few days to do with what we pleased.

If you aren’t familiar with the M400, I’m not surprised. This is the “track” version of the already rare Noble M12. Fewer than 200 exist, although US company Rossion is still producing a version of the car as the “Q1”

There are really good reviews of this car at
http://www.supercars.net/blog/noble-m400/

http://www.roadandtrack.com/…/first-drives/reviews/a11601/…/

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To summarize
Stock, the car is a space frame rear drive 2 seater with a mid-engine Turbo 3-liter V6 based on the Ford Duratech. 6-Speed Getrag Transaxle. Stock it’s about 2330 pounds with about 450HP.
…this car was not stock…

This particular car was modified by Turbo Hoses of Livermore CA, a brief list of work done.

* Single turbo conversion, Garrett gt35r. All engine, manifold, upgrades associated with this conversion

*Dual boost switch with ECU relocated to the cabin for protection from heat. Low boost produces 440, high boost 515 at the wheel.

*Reinforced race transmission

*Dry sump, new fuel pump, water pump, custom fuel tank

* Custom CCW forged wheels.

*Toyo R888 315 rear, 255 front. Widened fenders and all adjustments made to accommodate the wide rubber.

*Kevlar disc clutch with unsprung hub, lightened flywheel

Picking the car up, first thing I noticed was that getting in is a bit of an adventure. Step in over the wide doorsill, and try not to bang your head on the integrated rollcage. Seats are carbon fiber fixed back very comfy for race seats. The interior is sparse; a couple of vents, the stereo is on the passenger side glove box (not that we used it) the center console of the car is tall and structural. The only storage space in the whole car is behind the fixed seats. 2 backpacks and jackets and the car was full.

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Firing the engine involves turning the key and hitting a safety switch which activates a very loud fuel pump. Press the Ignition button and the engine fires right up. This is based on a common Ford V6, so idle manners are quite good. Launching the car takes some getting used to. Anything under 2500RPM and it will stall. Don’t be scared, the turbo stays mellow in 1st gear.

Throttle response is instant, as with most cars that have lightened flywheels and small diameter clutches. The clutch is actually really civilized considering how much power it has to hold back. One major issue I have with this car: There is no dead pedal area to rest your left foot on. Driving for long distances you will grow tired from hovering your left foot in the air. The transmission works well, ratios are close, very similar to my 2004 STI. 5th and 6th gear are a little more laborious to get into than most cars, but who cares.

Driving the car is… well amazing. The engine sound takes some getting used to. I’ve never been a fan of the sound of V6’s, this one is better than most, but still has sort of a video game sound quality to it. Of course none of that matters when the turbo comes alive. When the big Garret Turbo comes in, you can’t hear anything else. This is the loudest turbo and blowoff valve setup I’ve ever heard on any car, and it’s glorious. I found myself doing mini-throttle stabs just to make the car blow off. Despite the size, the turbo engagement is actually very civil. You know when it comes in; the power is coming fast, but not uncontrollably

The chassis is dialed in, maybe more than anything I’ve ever felt. With around 600 BHP I could not get this car to misbehave. The tires would rotate under power, but no shutter, no stepping out, no sideways drift. It’s eerie, you stomp the gas, the turbo screams, and you are suddenly teleported hundreds of yards down the road going well over a hundred miles an hour. When the time comes to hit the brakes (and it comes fast) it’s the same lack of drama. They squeal, but the car hunkers down and stops, smashing your passenger’s face into the dash if they aren’t ready.

Steering response is instant, at the limit I suspect the car would show some understeer (the back is so planted it has to), but I wasn’t brave enough to find the limit. The limit is too high to explore on any public road.

There are downsides to the car. It wouldn’t be a daily driver. There’s no storage.
Rear visibility is non-existent the windows are old crank-style, in cabin airflow is poor. Launching the car without stalling is difficult. There are some fit and finish issues. …I’ll stop, because you won’t care about any of this once in the car.

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I’ve driven many interesting vehicles, Hopped up muscle cars, Corvettes, Ferrari’s, Porsches, you name it.
This Noble M400 is, without a doubt the best driving car I’ve ever experienced.

Everything else feels like a toy now.

 

*Guest written by Brett K.*