The Fascinating History of Boutique Car Company Noble

Noble Supercar

Noble doesn’t do anything quickly or halfway. Their latest offering, the M600 supercar, is the brainchild of the company’s new owner, American Entrepreneur Peter Dyson, who, before purchasing the company from its founder, Lee Noble, was, and remains an avid collection of exotic cars. His personal favorite of those in his collection? The Noble M12, which was developed by Lee Noble in 2000. In Peter Dyson’s mind, most modern supercars rely too heavily on computers and electronics to augment their vehicles. Dyson has a different vision. The thing he liked best about the M12 was its simplicity, and its reliance on pure engineering excellence. That is, in fact, why the M12 is the favorite car in his collection, so in many ways, the newly released M600 is a return to the company’s roots.

The History of Noble

It is impossible to talk about the history of Noble Automotive without talking about the British entrepreneur who launched the company in 1999, Lee Noble. He’s been designing sports cars, super sports, and supercars since 1983, when he designed the Ultima Mk1. Having worked extensively with supercar manufacturer Ascari, designing for them (most notably, the Ascari FGT, in 1996), Noble left Ascari to form his own company, because his design ethos began to differ markedly with the other designers at Ascari. His vision was to produce a cheaper, simpler vehicle. To build a relatively affordable supercar that focused on two things: exceptional engineering, and light weight.

Ultima MK1

In many ways, the Noble M12 was the ultimate expression of that vision. The vehicle won high praise for its speed, power and handling, and became affectionately known as the “Ferrari Killer.” Noble though, has never seen his company as competition for the Ferrari market. Ferrari mass produces high end cars, and Noble has always chased a more distinguished, refined, and discerning market, a sentiment shared by Peter Dyson, the company’s current owner. His tiny company only built 12 cars their first year in business, and only builds about fifty a year today, each one made by hand, and with a relentless focus on perfection.

Every car that rolls out of the small factory in Leicestershire, England is 100% custom. The future owners of the vehicle have input on just about every feature and aspect of their new vehicle, so that when it is delivered to them, it fits them like a glove. Like an expensively tailored suit. If you want to change the color, the interior, the sound system or virtually any other feature, you need but say the word, and your desires will be built into the fabric of the vehicle.

The suit analogy is an excellent one, by the way, because the vehicle is hand crafted with carbon fiber, which begins life as a cloth, and is then cut into the 3D shape it will ultimately take. This is, in large part, what gives the M600 its ultralight weight. Fully built, the car weighs a scant 1198 kg (2641.138 pounds). That’s an amazingly low weight, and when combined with the supercar’s 662 horsepower engine, allows the vehicle to turn heads, even among supercar enthusiasts. For the curious, here are the relevant benchmarks for the mighty M600:


0-60 MPH: 3.0 seconds

0-100 MPH: 6.5 seconds

Standing quarter mile: 11 seconds

Top speed: 225 MPH

With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why the cars are so well received among the supercar community, and as to price, you can own one of these custom-built engineering marvels for around $300,000 new, which is, in the world of supercars, a relatively modest price. Although Noble left his company in 2009 to form a new automotive venture, Fenix Automotive, the M600 proves that he’s left the company in good hands. Peter Dyson shares his vision for what a supercar should be, and both men focus on the driving experience itself, seeing too many electronics as a distraction, and something that separates car and driver.

Dyson’s goal is to connect his drivers with the road, thus the company’s motto, “Perfection is a road, not a destination.” Indeed, and a sentiment that each and every owner of a vehicle produced by Noble Automotive deeply understands. It takes real skill to drive one of these vehicles. There’s no ABS, and there’s not much in the way of electronics to get in the way of the driving experience. There’s you, a fabulously engineered vehicle, handcrafted just for you, and the open road.

One of the few bits of electronics the car does come with is a switch, borrowed from the British Tornado fighter jet, however. Built with three modes, “road,” “track,” and “racing,” this switch allows you to tap into the M600’s awesome power when you need it, and scale things back when you don’t.

Flip the switch to the “Road” setting, and you have a powerful but sensible 450 hp at your command. Adjust to “Track” setting, and you get access to another 100 horses, bringing your total to 550. Set it to “Race” setting, and you gain access to the full 650 horses the supercar can deliver.

Everyone who buys a supercar is looking for something different. If what you ultimately want are all the electronic bells and whistles, then the offerings by Noble Automotive will leave you cold. They’ll feel too bare bones and simplistic for your tastes, and there are other companies out there that will better cater to your needs.

If, however, your focus is on the experience of driving, and you’re looking for a vehicle that will truly make you one with the road, and eliminate everything that gets between you and it, the Noble Automotive M600 is a dream come true. Add to that the fact that you’ll have such a big hand in the decision making process of what your finished product looks like, and can customize to your heart’s content, knowing that a team of relentlessly perfectionist engineers will add your desired customizations to the basic design, and it’s easy to see why Noble Automotive has earned the respect and admiration of the supercar community.

They don’t build cars, really. They tailor fully customized suits on wheels that you wear to your destination, and they are a wonder to behold.

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