Noble M12 GTO-3R


Typically speaking, I’m pretty familiar with whatever I’m shooting on any given day. I may not know all the exact technical figures and specifics, but I have ballpark numbers in my head and have a pretty good idea what the car is all about. That really wasn’t the case with this Noble M12 GTO-3R. I was well aware of Noble and had seen a handful of them, including this particular car, out at various events over the years, but when it came to those exacts, I was pretty clueless. All I really knew was they were sure-footed and quick. Very quick.

My first attempt to shoot this car was cancelled unexpectedly at the last minute. I’m always disappointed when a shoot doesn’t pan out, but especially when it’s not only a model, but a make, I’ve never had an opportunity to shoot. Fortune was in my favor in this case, though, and the shoot was soon rescheduled. This time, however, instead of meeting up with the owner at the photo location, he simply handed me the keys and said, “get something good”. This is always the best case scenario.

Once I got myself situated in the tight, sparse cabin I was off and immediately drawn into the driving experience of this car. Everything was so taught, as if simply an extension of my limbs. Turning a corner or accelerating from a standstill wasn’t as much a driving maneuver as it was a thought that seemed to manifest itself without any effort. But, as I said, I was naive. I began cruising around North Scottsdale, looking for good locations, just putzing around. I enjoyed a young kid in a minivan next to me with his face glued to the glass, staring slack-jawed at the car. I noticed twisting necks and puzzled looks everywhere I turned. What I didn’t experience was any kind of power that really made me take notice.

Don’t get me wrong, it felt pretty quick and planted to the pavement, but it wasn’t what I was expecting when it came pinning me to the back of the seat. I expected unbridled, instant power. I was naive. It wasn’t until I took a left turn onto a freeway on-ramp and told myself, “alright, let’s see what this thing can do” that I shed that naivete and started to get an idea what I was really dealing with. In third gear with the RPM rising quickly, I heard a swelling of air building behind me. Like a tornado suddenly forming inches from the back of my head. At that same moment I not only realized that I’d finally spooled the pair of turbos, but I also found myself spinning the rear tires at 70+mph… Turns out I was mistaken. This car wasn’t just “quick” or “very quick”, it was very, VERY quick. That sudden revelation was also enough to make me back off and take it easy for the rest of my time on this shoot… My job was to take some photos of this monster, not roll it through a dusty patch of Saguaros.

I soon found myself due back and with my memory card filled with what I needed, returned the Noble’s keys to their rightful owner. A short conversation with said owner occurred at that point and suddenly everything made sense. A standard Noble M12 GTO-3R produces 352hp from its twin-turbo Ford V6 and that 352hp is pushing around a mere 2380lbs. Impressive for sure. But I wasn’t surprised to hear this wasn’t your “standard” M12 GTO-3R. The lack of a rear wing tipped me off a bit, but what I had no way of knowing is that this particular car not only had a handful of additional weight-saving modifications, but this particular twin-turbo Ford V6 was making 600+hp. What that means is that this car had a power-to-weight ratio that bests a Ferrari Enzo or Carrera GT by a significant margin.

My time with this car was far too brief and far too restrained. A short window to shoot it, a lack of knowing what I was getting myself into and smoking tires at freeway speeds made for a combination that led me to shoot it and not much else. I can say, with confidence, that more time behind the wheel in a more appropriate setting would take my appreciation, and love, of this incredible car to a whole nother level.

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