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Craigslist Find: It’s Just An Early-Eighties Dodge M4S That Someone Swapped A Pontiac Motor Into…

Craigslist Find: It’s Just An Early-Eighties Dodge M4S That Someone Swapped A Pontiac Motor Into…

First off, a clarification: this is not a Dodge M4S. There are up to, but no more than, four official Dodge M4S prototype vehicles, and there are visual differences between them all. For the sake of this article, the car most people know as “the Wraith” can be called a Turbo Interceptor, since that name came about around the same time as the movie.

The Dodge M4s was commissioned by PPG Industries as part of their deal with CART racing: one Chrysler product, one Ford product, and one GM product would be created and used each year for pace car duties. The M4S came about when a Chrysler executive had seen pictures of a tube-chassis Pontiac Fiero done up for racing and decided that maybe Chrysler should get into the mid-engine game. Chrysler decided that a tube-chassis mid-engine car would be fine for testing purposes, and virtually copied the build, except for adding seven inches of wheelbase over the Fiero to an even 100″. The body was molded in fiberglass and the engine and transmission (a Cosworth-headed twin-turbo Chrysler 2.2L mated to a Liberty-modified Chrysler five-speed transaxle) were installed. The result was a 440hp test mule that ran 195 miles an hour around Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds before the over boosted engine popped the head gasket.


Then there is the Turbo Interceptor. Movie executives wanted a futuristic car that nobody had ever seen before, and with the M4S, Dodge certainly had it. While the chief designer, Bob Ackerman, had his reservations about the idea of his prototype being used by movie folks in Hollywood, he eventually relented…kind of. Two running vehicles, using Volkswagen engines, and four body shells were made off of the PPG Pace Car M4S, and the actual M4S was allowed to be on-set for a week, under guard, and was only used for close-up shots. One scene that is known to be the actual Dodge is where Rughead had to attach a device to the Wraith’s engine. Sure, the rocking and glowing part is Hollywood BS, but you are seeing the back of the engine bay in honest detail.


Now, about this car for sale. This is one of the two movie rollers that was recently restored to a high level. The car has been restored, and in place of the VW mill is a supercharged Pontiac V6. It’s not the M4S’s psychotic four-banger, but it will get the job done. It will run and drive, it doesn’t have a VIN and isn’t street legal, and it is undoubtedly expensive at $150,000. Considering that there are only a handful of these things period, the cost isn’t out of line. We’d love to see someone with the bones to pick this up do up a nasty little 2.2L combination and actually wring it out on a track. It’s low, it’s mean, and it could be yours!


Craigslist Link: 1984 Dodge M4S Clone (“The Wraith” movie car)

(Thanks to Nick for the tip!)

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10 thoughts on “Craigslist Find: It’s Just An Early-Eighties Dodge M4S That Someone Swapped A Pontiac Motor Into…

  1. Cletus T Rickenbacher 3rd

    Pontiac motor? Jesus wept.

    Snatch that imposter out and get a well built 2.2 in there like God intended.

  2. mooseface

    I love that styling!
    If the current engine is the BOP 3.8 V6, it should produce decent enough power and be a fair sight better than the VW mill it had originally had.
    It would be cool to title it as a one-off project car and it the streets.

  3. Nick D.

    The styling on these has aged fairly well. Although it oughta have a built Turbo III engin put in it, at least the 3800 S/C can be made to put out some real power. Too bad it isn’t road legal, it’d be fun to watch people rubberneck at you in this thing

  4. John T

    when I saw that Wraith movie I assumed it was just some VW kit car thing… bit amazed to think a big company was behind it – cos it sure as hell looks like a cheapo kit car. nah, not liking it, I could think of things I’d rather spend 150 k on

    1. Whelk

      I think it was Motor Trend that did a big article on this as a tie in with the movie. I recall them going on about how expensive the paint job was. I don’t remember if they mentioned the mules at the time.

  5. Pizzandoughnuts

    Man when the title said Pontiac motor, I was thinking a 400-to-455 engine and that would be very cool!!!

  6. The Crusty Autoworker

    Got a photo of my Mom sitting in the real car from back when she worked at a PPG tech centre outside the Chrysler Bramalea Assembly plant. (now called Brampton)
    She helped with arrangements to have the car displayed for Chrysler workers at the plant. Always thought it was kinda cool given my mother was/is no “gear head” type.

  7. BeaverMartin

    I have wanted this car since I was a kid. Drop in a SRT4 motor, title it and let her rip. PS. I don’t consider any “Pontiac” engine a Pontiac unless it was made before GM corpretized engine production.

  8. RacerX GTO

    There needs to be records to keep tabs on which cars are what. Somewhere along the line, a few body kits were punched out for the mere purpose of your ‘average Joe’ having the means to own a Turbo Interceptor, that had absolutely nothing to do with the movie production “The Wraith” or Dodge/Chrysler . A fascinating car with mystique, regardless

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