The Dodge M4S Is the Mid-Engined Mopar You Never Knew Existed

Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor PPG 1 photo
Photo: Dodge
Dodge has built quite a few cool sports cars in the past. From the Challenger and Charger of the golden muscle car era to the modern Viper, Dodge made a name for itself as Chrysler's performance division. But Dodge also built a mid-engined supercar back in the 1980s.
It's called the M4S, but it's also known as the Turbo Interceptor PPG. Quite the fancy name, huh? Designed by Bob Ackerman, the M4S was built in 1981, but it wasn't a full-fledged production car. A technology demonstrator vehicle, it was radically different than any other Dodge from the era. It featured a midship layout, an extremely aerodynamic body, and was actually built outside Chrysler's facilities.

The sleek and streamlined body has a drag coefficient of only 0.23, resulted from extensive wind tunnel testing. While most supercar makers of the era used V8 and V12 power, Dodge opted to go with a turbocharged four-cylinder. The Cosworth-tweaked mill was no slouch at 440 horsepower and pushed the M4S from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. To go with a top speed of 195 mph (313 kph). At the time, it was the fastest car powered by a four-cylinder engine.

The Turbo Interceptor was based around a semi-monocoque race car chassis designed by Huffaker of California. The molds for the outer shell were created by 3-D Industries of Madison Heights, while Special Projects Inc. of Michigan assembled the body and the interior. Another Michigan-based company, Specialized Vehicles Inc., handled the final assembly of the four prototypes.

The M4S was intended to be used as a pace car, but it made more waves years later, when it was featured in The Wraith, an action-fantasy film from 1986. The movie tells the story of a teen who mysteriously returns from the dead as a supernatural (wait for it) street racer driving an indestructible supercar. The film stars a young Charlie Sheen.

The Dodge M4S has gained somewhat of a cult following after the film's release, but it's nowhere near as iconic as other movie cars. Based on its looks and unique layout compared to other Dodge cars, the M4S definitely deserves more attention.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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