The Noble M12 GTC Sports Car

The Noble M12 GTC – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The M12 GTC sports car was one of three M12 variants introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show in 2002.

This groundbreaking model, priced at £45,000, was the first Noble sports to be offered in the form of a convertible, and was based on the M12 GTO-3.

In terms of marketing, the GTC was positioned in the under £50,000 sector so that it would be seen as a viable alternative to the higher-priced Porsche 911 Carrrera Cabriolet and Morgan Aero 8, whilst Lotus Elise convertible owners would be attracted to the higher performance on offer.

The car’s roof section was reminiscent of the Porsche and Triumph TR Targa tops, and consisted of two detachable composite fibreglass panels which, when removed and stored behind the seats, left the rear section in place.

However, to achieve the full benefit of open top driving, the rear section could also be removed, although there was nowhere on the car for it to be fully stored away.

The acknowledged high build quality of Noble sports cars meant that the GTC was as draught-free as its coupe counterpart.

Another unique feature was that the car’s rear section had been re-styled to create an area suitable for storing luggage, which could be accessed by way of the engine cover that could be raised hydraulically via a lever in the cabin.

A regular feature of many convertibles was that the chassis would require additional strengthening to allow for the increased stresses created by removing the roof section.

However, this was not necessary with the GTC owing to the rigid steel space frame chassis used in conjunction with the coupe variant.

Large 33cm AP Racing vented and drilled disc brakes all round were retained, as was power assisted steering.

The spacious cabin had leather trim as well as adjustable steering column and seats, the latter being fitted with anti-roll hoops.

It had a composite fibreglass body, 18 inch alloy wheels, and a kerb weight of 1080 kg.

THE ENGINE

The M12 GTC was powered by the same 3 litre, V6 engine as used in the M12 GTO-3 variant.

However, the only difference was that only one turbocharger was used, with a maximum boost of 0.6 bar, unlike the two fitted to the GTO-3.

Furthermore, as a result of the modifications to the car’s rear section, the intercooler was now re-positioned.

This arrangement developed 290 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 290 ft/lbs of torque at 4750 rpm, the greater majority of which was available around 3000 rpm.

Linked to a six speed manual gearbox, it produced a top speed of 160 mph, with a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 secs, both of which were slightly slower than the GTO-3. Technical Data:

COMPETITION

Typical competition for the Noble M12 GTC included the following sports cars: Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, Morgan Aero 8, and Lotus Elise Sports Racer.

This concludes my Noble M12 GTC Sports Car Review

The Aston Martin Virage Sports Car

Aston Martin Virage – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The V8 Series of Aston Martin sports cars had been successfully produced since 1969, and a replacement was well overdue.

Consequently, in late 1988, and as a natural evolution, the successor was introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show as a 2+2 coupe, and designated the Aston Martin Virage sports car.

It was positioned as the company’s premier and exclusive model, and the timing of the launch coincided with the acquisition of the company by Ford of the US.

In terms of styling, it’s sleek lines, which produced a drag coefficient of just 0.34, resembled that of a Lagonda rather than the classic lines of the V8 Series.

It was fitted with spoilers both front and rear, and stylish flush headlights.

The influence of Ford was noticeable in the fact that, as a cost-cutting measure, a number of the car’s’ components were sourced from a wide range of companies, including the Parent.

Although it used aluminium body panels, it was still a heavy car with a curb weight of 1790 kg.

When production ended in 1995, Aston Martin had built a total of 365 Virage sports cars.

THE ENGINE

The Virage was powered by a front-engined, all aluminium, 5.3 litre, 32 valve, DOHC, V8 unit with the head modified by Callaway Engineering in the US, and incorporated a modified intake manifold and Weber-Marelli fuel injection.

This developed 330 bhp at 5300 rpm, and 350 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 rpm.

Fitted with a ZF five speed manual gearbox and using a 9.5:1 compression, it produced a top speed of 158 mph, with 0-60 mph in 6.5 secs.

Interestingly, the majority of customers preferred the optional Chrysler three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.

Towards the end of production, an optional six speed manual gearbox from the Vantage sports car was offered.

In January 1992, as part of a programme of improvements, existing customers were able to replace the original 5.3 litre engine with a 6.3 litre V8 unit that had been incorporated in the Aston Martin AMR1, a Group C sports car racer that was entered in the 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours race.

The new engine developed 500 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 480 ft/lbs of torque at 5800 revs, which gave the car a top speed of 175 mph.

The conversion included fitting larger vented disc brakes, 18 inch wheels, air dams and side air vents.

For Technical Data, see original article below

COMPETITION

Typical competitors of the Aston Martin Virage sports car were the following: Porsche 964 Turbo, and Ferrari 550 Maranello.

For Comparative Technical Data, see original article below

This concludes my Aston Martin Virage Sports Car Review

The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider Sports Car

The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider – A close look at this sports car performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The 458 Spider sports car, also referred to as the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, was introduced in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and priced at $257,000.

It was the convertible version of the 458 Italia, and featured a unique retractable hardtop.

This was, in essence, a roadster that replaced the conventional soft top with an automatically operated hardtop, made entirely of aluminium, which stored itself away in front of the engine bay in as little as 14 seconds, and without affecting the car’s aerodynamics. The coefficient of drag remained at 0.33.

The engine cover of the 458 Italia was modified to contain this new system, which actually weighed 25 kg less than that of the soft top used in the F430 Spider.

An additional benefit was that extra space was created behind the seats in order to store luggage, etc.

Externally, this sports car looked very similar to the coupe variant, with the front section remaining unchanged, whilst the rear area received minor styling changes to maximise the flow of air to the engine’s cooling ducts and oil cooler.

A further innovation was that the 458 Spider was fitted with a large, adjustable, electrically operated wind break, which was designed to slow down and dissipate the airflow throughout the cockpit so that conversation between the occupants was not affected, even at high speed.

The Spider weighed in at 3153 lbs, slightly heavier than the 3042 lbs of the 458 Italia.

It had an aluminium body on an aluminium chassis which had been strengthened in order to withstand the additional stresses consistent with the removal of the roof section.

It used rear wheel drive, with 20 inch wheels, and carbon ceramic ventilated and drilled disc brakes.

There was a steering wheel mounted Manettino switch which controlled the limited slip differential (E-Diff), the traction control (F1-Trac), ABS, dampers and transmission, all activated electronically.

THE ENGINE

The 458 Spider was powered by the same 4.5 litre, V8 mid-engine, with the new direct fuel injection as used in the 458 Italia.

It produced the same 0-60 mph time of 3.3 secs, whilst the top speed was 3 mph slower at 199 mph.

It had a huge 12.5:1 compression, and used a seven speed Getrag F1-style paddle shift gearbox with a dual clutch.

The Spider produced 570 bhp at 9000 rpm (the red line), and 398 ft/lbs of torque at 6000 rpm, with most being on tap down at 3250 rpm.

Overall fuel consumption was 21 mpg. Technical data:

COMPETITION

Typical of the competition of the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider were the following sports cars: Audi R8 GT Spider, and Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster. Ferrari performance:

SPORTS CARS FOR SALE

A Ferrari 458 Italia Spider in good condition could fetch around $300,000, whilst an example in showroom condition could command up to $525,000.

Another supercar from Ferrari.

This marks the end of my Review of the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider sports car.