Lee Noble, the maverick designer and engineer who has defined the British low volume sports car market in recent years, is back in the hot seat of an all-new company, Fenix Automotive Limited, and is due to launch one of the most dramatic supercars of the century next year.
With successful production cars like the Noble M12 and M400 already under his belt (as well as the original Ultima and Ascari, among many others) Lee is investing his vast experience in delivering a lightweight, ultra-powerful mid-engined V8 supercar to market by the end of 2010.
The as yet unnamed car, which will cost from under £75,000, will trounce all previous Lee Noble-built Nobles for performance with a 0-100mph time of under seven seconds, and will target serious track day drivers, while also being completely usable on the public road.
“Our new car will offer buyers performance and dynamics that they’d normally have to spend well over £100,000 to experience, but at a far more affordable price,” said Lee Noble. “It will combine simplicity, strength and agility, while its two-seat, closed body will ensure sensible levels of refinement for road use.
“And thanks to a feature which will be revealed nearer the car’s launch, it will be amazingly practical too, for both track and road users.”
With over 25 years’ experience in the low volume sports car market, Lee’s pragmatic approach to producing super-fast, giant-killing cars has won him credibility among buyers and the media alike. So while the first pictures of his new creation (due early next year) are sure to cause a stir, Lee’s grounded philosophy to manufacturing will ensure that the car is a production reality.
In fact, development of the car began in earnest a year ago, and the first prototype, which will be used to validate the all-new chassis and powertrain, is currently being built in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in the same plant that produced all the M12s.
Lee founded Noble Automotive Ltd in 1998 and a year later delivered its first offering – the M10 roadster – to the press. While the speed of its development and birth (which Noble is renowned for) were overlooked at the time, the car itself was not. Autocar declared the M10, “…one of the most complete and exciting British mid-engined two seaters we’ve driven.” (24.03.99).
Under Lee, Noble Automotive went on to sell around 1500 cars, mainly the later M12 and its derivatives (GTO3, 3R and M400). A majority were UK cars, but at its height – and thanks to the sensational press it received around the world – cars were being sold through official outlets in the US, New Zealand, Russia, Italy and Holland.
Lee sold the company in 2006, but stayed on until 2008.