Leicester, England gained considerable notice last week due to the exploits of its football club, but car enthusiasts would do well to pay more attention to the small supercar manufacturer that also calls the city home, Noble Automotive.
The employs the techniques that build Britain's cottage racing and sports car industry, building the 662-horsepower, 225-mph M600 on a welded steel-and-aluminum space frame. The cabin is outfitted in the traditional fashion, with plenty of aromatic hand-stitched leather, though suede and Alcantara are also available.
To stand out in the demanding world of supercars, it helps to have a unique engine. A company the size of Noble can't design and manufacture its own powerplant, and as tempting as its power and size make it, a Corvette's small block Chevy V8 just doesn't convey the intended exclusivity.
Noble's solution was to identify a disused orphan engine and develop it for Noble's own purposes. In this case, the company gets Yamaha-built 4.4-liter V8 engines that were designed under contract from Ford to be used in its then-subsidiary Volvo's XC90 SUV. In that trim, the engine produced 311 horsepower.
But after a visit to British Formula One racing engine builder Judd, which installs a pair of turbochargers, the motor now produces 662 hp.
The M600 wears lightweight carbon-fiber bodywork over its tube frame chassis and uses British Alcon six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes, providing a change from the usual parade of Brembos peeking out through the wheel spokes.
Those wheels are 19 inches in front and 20 inches at the rear. They are wearing the usual Michelin Pilot Sports, though it seems like for this car that an English brand like Avon would be more appropriate.
Currently the M600 is only available through Super Veloce Racin, where "Viewing strictly by appointment only at our facility in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire close to Junction 3 of the M40 and Junction 18 of the M25."
So you'll need to plan a trip to England, and bring about $290,000 along to buy it. But if you bring a Noble back, take comfort that nobody else will have a car quite like it.