MotorCities National Heritage Area
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By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Robert Tate's Collection
Published 09.12.2018

ME 4 12 Tate Collection 1 RESIZEDThe Chrysler ME Four-Twelve concept (Robert Tate Collection)

It’s hard to believe that 14 years have gone by since Chrysler introduced the ME Four-Twelve concept model at the North American International Auto Show. I remember when I first saw the model back then. I thought it was one of Chrysler's best looking design model concepts that they had ever introduced.

ME Four Twelve 2 Tate Collection RESIZEDME Four Twelve side view (Robert Tate Collection) 

Taking less than one year to complete from start to finish, the Chrysler Group had some of their best and brightest engineers and designers develop the ME-Four Twelve design concept vehicle. The model was developed under the direction of Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President of Chrysler Group Design.

ME Four Twelve 3 Tate Collection RESIZEDME Four-Twelve rear view (Robert Tate Collection) 

Creed had this to say about the ME-Four Twelve concept model: “ME Four-Twelve adds a new aura of performance to the Chrysler brand. It is aerodynamically honed, and it balances elegance and power. It exudes strength, performance and prestige.”

ME Four Twelve 4 Tate Collection RESIZEDME Four-Twelve overhead view (Robert Tate Collection)

The ME Four-Twelve was Chrysler's own creative interpretation of the classic mid-engine super car architecture. The concept model offered an all-aluminum quad-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 engine and a fully developed under-body with an integral rear diffuser to reduce lift, which provided an additional rear down force when driving.

ME Four Twelve 7 Tate Collection RESIZEDME Four-Twelve interior (Robert Tate Collection)

The ME Four-Twelve’s interior was designed with a carbon fiber structure and a great looking leather sports seat cover design as well. It also offered a tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control and a premium audio system. A large glass roof panel extended from the windshield to the rear window which was tastefully designed. The passenger side adjustable foot support helped to keep the driver in position during extreme cornering maneuvers. The body was made of a lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum type of material. 

ME Four Twelve 5 Tate Collection RESIZEDME Four-Twelve (Robert Tate Collection)

The ME Four-Twelve was a great idea and a nice looking concept model. It represented the ultimate engineering and design advancements for performance and aerodynamics. The ME Four-Twelve had a V-12 powered mid-engine. It is my understanding that two models were built, one with an engine and one without. The display model without an engine was unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

ME Four Twelve 6 Tate Collection RESIZEDME Four-Twelve (Robert Tate Collection)

The running prototype model project was directed by Dan Knott, who was involved with the Dodge Viper SRT programs. The ME Four-Twelve concept model was also a follow up to the Dodge Tomahawk, introduced at the 2003 NAIAS. The ME in the name of the concept stood for mid-engine. The designer for this great looking concept model was Brian Nielander, who had worked with a great team of engineers and aerodynamics experts to shape the interior and exterior.

Patrick George wrote this about the ME Four-Twelve concept model for Jalopnik.com: “The ME Four- Twelve could then be considered the ultimate Daimler Chrysler car. When it debuted at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show, it stunned audiences and sparked instant demand. Sadly, it was not to be.”

 

Automotive historians have said that for many years that the ME Four-Twelve concept would have been too costly to manufacture in large numbers. In conclusion, the popular concept model was introduced at a time when Daimler Chrysler was taking a different path in the auto industry, and a new leadership team had been formed to take charge of Chrysler's brand. In terms of advanced materials, aerodynamic efficiency and vehicle performance, the ME Four-Twelve represented the ultimate engineering and automotive design statement.

 

Bibliography

 

George. Patrick. “The Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Could Have Been One of America's Greatest.” Long Lost Concept Cars, Jalopnik.com, September 27, 2013.