A year ago, I was on the verge of being reduced to combating for reserved seats on the public transport because I was left with three points on my driving record.
Photos: Joel Tam
I was plagued by horrific dreams every night because I had to drive like a trainee in the army truck every day. Eventually, I made a miraculous recovery when they gave me back my points. But the thing is, the nightmare could have formed a reality if I had been driving something along the lines of a Noble M400.
While not many people may have understood what the cryo-citrus Lotus Exige S was all about, everyone knows who and what an Enzo is, and aside from drooling over one, you have parents naming their sons after him/it even.
But the Noble M400, is not quite the same. You can’t possibly slobber at the sight of it because it’s uncommonly rare and you don’t get to see it all the time, so no one bothers to call himself M400 anyway. You can’t quite crash the car literally because of its GRP (Glass-reinforced plastic) fiberglass chassis and there’s only one left in Singapore.
The good people from Noble have managed to extract an astonishing 425bhp from a three litre Ford Duratec V6 mid-mounted engine that is sometimes awfully squandered on the Ford Mondeo ST220. It has modified fuel injectors, high-lift camshafts and twin turbo-chargers, making it a roaring feature on the track. The superb power-to-weight ratio of 400bhp/ton suggests how it should be named and you can’t be too wrong about that. The German Getrag six-speed manual with Quaife LSD transmission is clearly the trigger and what you would call, a better playmate than your Gran Turismo gamer.
For its stunning looks, the Noble M400 opens up like a half-blooming Decepticon with ruthless performance. Its ventilated 330mm discs are embraced by the endearing AP Racing brake-kit. The jacquard fabric black Sparco racing seats were specially aligned 15mm towards the centre-line of the car for improved weight distribution and circuit execution. The track-bred M400 uniquely combines excellent road handling capabilities with raw and untamed power with its well-cultured body composure. The dynamics of its road-holding attributes make the car predictably controllable even at high speeds.
In the cabin, the driver is orientated with an oil temperature and pressure gauge on the central switch-panel and that’s about all you get in the hot seat because you don’t get an air-conditioner as a standard option. You know that you are driving an M400 as they factually plastered it all over the place, on the seats, the steering and anywhere else.
It is ultimately the effects of forced induction that thrusts this track-mobile into supercardom. Reducing it to bare bone, the M400 is a genuine story of how a kit-car made it on the world stage. By getting Roush Racing to transform an unimpressive Ford V6 with two Garrett T25Rs, the car maxes out at 301km/h. The set-up is then masked with persuasive racing lines. In the interim, slipping through 100km/h at under 3.5 secs is wonderful as you have enough grunt to push some Ferraris and even an LP640. You can reserve your bragging rights over the occasional 911 and the Lamborghini Reventon.
Hence the Noble M400 is essentially a beautifully-engineered super car. There is zero luxury but we don’t mind that because it is one of the fastest and breath-taking drives in the world. Until Enzo and Godzilla pop by, that is.