Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

In social classes, nobility implies privilege, and those of noble lineage are considered the holders of power. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Noble M12 is powerful, and would likely be a privilege to drive, but is its price too bourgeois?

Founded in 1999, Noble Automotive follows a long line of British sports car makers that define the term cottage industry. Lee Noble set up shop in Barwell Leicestershire, near the middle of the country, with the intention of building blindingly fast road cars. Those cars weren't actually built in England, but in South Africa, just like last week's ex-pat Birkin.

This GTO 3R is a derivation of the company's second product - and the first that had performance in the organ-rearranging category. The precedent M10 was a normally-aspirated 2.5-litre V6-powered convertible that was intended to go toe to toe with the Ruskies Lotus Elise, and lasted all of two years. The M12 replaced it, adding a roof, two turbos, and the kind of acceleration force usually confined to space shuttles SRBs or Wile E. Coyote after inadvertently lighting a match inside a pitch-dark dynamite shack.

Of course, you can never be too rich or too thin, or have too much horsepower, and the last version of the M12 - the GTO 3R - raised the steaks, and served them still bloody and with a side of creamed competition. The 3R rocks a 3-litre, 360-bhp version of Ford's all-alloy Duratec V6, fed by a pair of Garrett T28 turbos and a rear-mounted intercooler. In the hands of Car and Driver testers, the 3R managed to squeeze off 3.3-second zero to sixty times without breaking a sweat, although supposedly the car did break an engine in the attempt.


It's almost unfathomable that a six-pot out of a Taurus could engender that kind of performance without turning itself into road spaghetti, and the 6-speed manual sourced from Ford's Euro parts bin seems equally not up to the task, but work it does, as does the suspension and steering, which provide both 1.00-g cornering, and a ride that doesn't mandate leaving your kidneys at home.


This 2004 M12 GTO 3R is claimed to be a one-owner, and has managed to make its home in California due to that state's SB100 bill which allows kit cars to be tested for emissions, and if found clean enough, to be blessed with a compliance sticker and the right to ply the Golden State's rocky roads. You should note the operative word in that preceding sentence, which is kit. That's right, the Noble arrived here in component form, and was completed by its purchaser, thus avoiding the myriad of safety and emissions standards that the Fred the Fed mandates to keep us all from killing ourselves or farting up the air too egregiously. Because of its status, it's questionable that you'd be able to register the Noble outside of Cali, something that's the opposite from the normal state of affairs.

That'd be way too bad as this silver surfer looks to be in pretty good shape, suffering only a few scratches and chips in its fiberglass coat. Sure the massive wing is a little too Speed Racer, and the Hyundai tail lights are low rent, but both serve necessary functions, and do so without issue - so let those receding in your rearview contemplate their propriety. The interior likewise shows only modest wear and tear to its garish red and black leather over flocking in place of carpet. The Noble's cabin is surprisingly long, albeit narrow, and the high center console means you can engage the e-brake with your ear, should you be one of those who favors plugs over studs. Whatever your taste in jewelry, you'll find the engine bay un-impressively adorned, unless you jones after the plastic plumbing of Ford's Duratec. While back there you can also check out the claims of a track sump and RPI Stage II intercooler that the seller says should help bump the engine to close to 400 ponies. If true, this 2,450-lb car has a power to weight ratio that rivals the Bugatti Veyron - top speed however is claimed to be a very un-Veyron like 185.


The Noble's condition should impress when you consider that it's a component car offered by the aforementioned cottage car maker, but its relatively low mileage should also be taken into account. At less than 20,000, this Noble should look pretty good, and hopefully have a lot more left to roll under its (kind of shockingly) 4-lug wheels.


It's interesting to note the fact that the number four features prominently in this Noble - along with those seemingly under lug-nutted rims, it's a two thousand and four, plus the price asked by the dealer is four-ty five thousand, eight hundred duckets. Now, be-for you make a snap judgment as to whether that's a fair price, give consideration to the fact that, shy of a rabid and elemental Caterham, you're not going to be able to touch this kind of performance for anywhere near that kind of cash.

So, what's your take on $45,800 for this Noble M12 GTO 3R? Is that a fair dowry to enter nobility? Or, is that price completely lacking in class?

You decide!


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