Here’s Where The Dodge M4S From The Wraith Movie Is Today

Many years back, when Charlie Sheen was not the Quasimodo that he’s considered today, there came an independent supernatural movie The Wraith, starring him, Randy Quaid, and Sherilynn Fenn. In it, a mysterious black-clad figure drives an equally mysterious car, the Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor, which was a concept-car-turned prototype for real and shot into popularity because of the movie.

The car looked out-of-this-world, which is why it was a perfect fit for a supernatural movie where a girl’s boyfriend get murdered, she gets kidnapped and kept by the villain, and then he comes back as a different person, manifesting himself in a car that kills the bad guys in fiery crashes. And then, the car miraculously resurrects itself. Far out, right?

But then, this was the ’80s, the time when the DeLorean DMC was a cool time machine. So why couldn’t the Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor be a murderous supercaravenging its driver who was dead, but alive, both at the same time.

The car became the fantasy poster pinup for every teenybopper out there. So here’s where the Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor, the car from The Wraith is today. And why we still crush on it…

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2022: We take another look at the all-but-forgotten 80s Dodge special that inspired a classic film and still looks futuristic and dangerous for all the right reasons today; also how it foreshadows the kind of performance we could eventually achieve with small, turbocharged engines after the turn of the century.

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The Dodge M4S / Turbo Interceptor PPG American Concept Car

Jay Leno & Charlie Sheen With The Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor
Via: Facebook via Jay Lenos Garage

The M4S stood for “Mid-engine, 4-cylinder, Sport” and the nomenclature gave every secret of the car away, probably why they also called it the Turbo Interceptor PPG. It carried ‘PPG’ in its name because its future was to be the pace car for the PPG IndyCar World series.

It got featured in Jay Leno’s Garagewith Charlie Sheen guest-starring in it although this one, was an unusable movie prop.

It got designed by Bob Ackerman (and admittedly, came inspired by the Porsche 962 IMSA GTP class) and got built in 1981, but it was never supposed to be a production car, just one that could show off the technological prowess of Dodge as a demonstrator vehicle. It was also way different, almost radically so, from every other Dodge, or even any car from that era. The idea behind the vehicle was to show that the malaise era had ended, and automobiles were ready to usher in a whole new world of cool.

The engine was a forced-induction, turbocharged 2.2-liter Cosworth inline-four that came with dual Garrett turbochargers, and could offer 440 hp, letting this very aerodynamic wind-tunnel sculpted beauty fly from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. The top speed was a cool circa-195 mph. For 1981, this was the fastest four-cylinder car around, although it was not built by Chrysler, per se.

The submarine-like body had a drag coefficient of only 0.23 and came created by 3-D Industries of Madison Heights, while Michigan’s Special Projects Inc assembled the body and interior. The semi-monocoque race car chassis cam by California’s Huffaker. Finally, the assembly of the four prototypes got headed by Michigan’s Specialized Vehicles Inc.

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The Casting Of The Dodge M4S In The Wraith Film

The Wraith Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor / Charlie Sheen
Via: Facebook via Jay Lenos Garage

The M4S was originally intended to get used as a pace car, and years later, when the 1986 movie The Wraith came out, the car created even more waves because suddenly, it was a lot more visible.

In the movie, this is the hero car, driven by a dead teen who has come back to life, in a different body of course, and literally merges with the car to avenge his murder as well as his girlfriend’s kidnapping and abuse by the villain . The car is all black and ends up destroying the villain and his gang in fiery crashes, and then regenerates itself without batting an eye, or a headlamp.

It’s an indestructible supercar in the movie, and it looks the part, so much so that once the movie released, the car gained a cult following of sorts. To be honest, it deserves a lot more attention than it got, being rather ahead of time in tech and looks, even though the movie kind of flopped.

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Where The Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptors Are Now

Dodge M4S (
Via: Facebook via Jay Lenos Garage

First things first, the car nearly ended up killing the stunt driver who had no idea of ​​the speeds it was capable of, and the kind of insane acceleration it had.

The original concept car is at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. But talking about the toned-down cars in the movie, the two drive-worthy movie props got sold off once the production wrapped, one of which vanished and has not got heard of ever since. The second one went to its creator, Gene Winfield, who later sold it to Bob Butts at the Fantasy Car Ranch. Later, Butts sold it to John Watson, a kit carmaker, who decided to make a kit car off it, called the Wraith II.

The dream remained a pipe dream, and finally, the car reached the McPherson College in Kansas. A fan of the movie and the car, Lyle Suhr managed to buy it off and restore it with a supercharged Pontiac V6, and this very car ended up for sale on Craigslist, for $150,000, in 2015. The car got sold, but since then , has also been under wraps. So for now, two very lucky people in the world have the coolest four-cylinder supercar ever made.

Since the inclusion a few years ago in Jay Leno’s the Dodge M4S is now only actively seen on its Facebook page, where enthusiasts can relive the 80s thrill of its design and intriguing history.

Interestingly, aside from its connection to the futuristic Dodge Laser and Jaguar XJ220-esque rear end, the car’s small-displacement, turbocharged format was the sign of things to come in today’s downsized-world. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG from the 21st century would bring the kind of power the Dodge M4S boasted of to an engine even smaller – only 2-liters, and matching The Wraith star’s 0-60 mph time.

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