Building a kit car can be a lot of fun, but not everyone has the time or mechanical confidence to do it. Or the funds to pay someone to do it for them. Luckily, used pre-built examples sometimes pop up on auction sites. Meaning, you can theoretically get a Factory Five Mk4 ‘Cobra’ for less than the original MSRP. This week’s Bring a Trailer bargain, though, is a bit beyond something like a Caterham Seven, though it hails from the same country: a 2005 Noble M400.
The Noble M400 is an oft-forgotten British mid-engine kit supercar
Although Noble founder Lee Noble started out restoring classic Triumphs, he eventually moved on to designing, building, and racing his own cars, ClassicCars reports. After that, his company Noble Motorsports started making replica kit cars. From there he created Noble Automotive to design stripped-down, affordable supercars. And the company’s third model was the 2004 Noble M400.
Like the British brand’s earlier models, the Noble M400 is a kit car. That’s how Noble could sell it in the US in the first place, Road & Track explains. The M400’s body and chassis were built in South Africa and shipped to the US without a drivetrain. But the globe-crossing journey was worth it.
Even with its drivetrain and fluids, the Noble M400 is extremely light, Autoweek reports. Thanks to a plastic-composite body, steel tube-frame chassis, minimal sound-deadening material, and no modern safety features, it only weighs 2337 pounds. The Noble M400 doesn’t even have ABS, and it has manual windows instead of power ones. But it does have a full roll cage, racing harnesses, and 4-wheel AP Racing ventilated disc brakes.
Plus, compared to the earlier M12, the M400 has upgraded springs and shocks, grippier tires, and a front anti-roll bar, Car and Driver reports. Noble also installed a more responsive steering rack, Motor1 reports.
The Noble M400 is also more powerful than the M12. Mounted in the middle is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged Ford V6 tuned by Roush. It makes 425 hp and 390 lb-ft, sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual. As a result, it goes 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, which is still incredibly quick.
The 2005 Noble M400 on Bring a Trailer
Despite its design, the Noble M400 isn’t a track-only car. It’s road-legal, and surprisingly comfortable, Automobile reports. Yes, it’s loud and difficult to get in and out of, Autocar reports. But while the suspension, chassis, and tires deliver obscene amounts of grip and virtually no body roll, the ride is fairly compliant. And while the M400 doesn’t have many amenities, A/C was a factory option.
And it’s an option that the 2005 Noble M400 currently listed on Bring a Trailer has. The current owner also ordered the kit car with 18” wheels, a rear wing, and a limited-slip differential. The Alcantara-covered Sparco race seats, carbon-fiber steering wheel, and racing harnesses are standard.
Though we instead of ‘current owner,’ it’s more accurate to call them ‘the owner.’ Bring a Trailer reports that this M400 is a one-owner car. And it only has 3300 miles on the clock.
Admittedly, low-mileage vehicles can be maintenance nightmares. However, this 2005 Noble M400 comes with a service binder and factory documentation. Plus, Bring a Trailer notes the owner changed the oil and battery in October 2020.
What makes this kit car a bargain?
As of this writing, this 2005 Noble M400 is listed on Bring a Trailer at $42,000 with three days left in the auction. That price may seem high considering it’s for a kit car that doesn’t even have a radio or airbags.
However, it’s worth pointing out that a similarly-equipped example would have cost the rough equivalent of $123,000 when it was new. Also, $42,000 is fairly low for a Noble car on Bring a Trailer; the average is closer to $60,000. That’s also about what a Rossion Q1 goes for on Bring a Trailer.
The Rossion Q1 is sort of a more luxurious development of the Noble M400, R&T explains. After M400 production ceased in 2007, Florida-based Rossion bought the rights and refined it into the Q1, Motor1 reports. It’s slightly heavier, Autoblog reports, but it has more amenities—including leather, a radio, and carpets—upgraded Koni suspension, and a more powerful version of the twin-turbo Ford V6.
For daily driving, the Q1 is arguably more refined. But then, the people who buy a Noble M400 aren’t really after that.
Follow more updates from MotorBiscuit on our Facebook page.