By John Coyle
You know what’s generally not a good idea? Showing up the boss—but we’ll get to that. For now, let’s look back a decade to the 2004 North American International Auto Show. Now, lots of cars which see the spotlight at NAIAS are just hollow shells, design exercises which don’t move unless a white-gloved attendant is pushing them. But the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve was a big-time exception.
Powered by a 6.0L V12 fortified with four turbo chargers, the ME Four-Twelve was an 850hp monster designed to compete in the stratospheric segment populated by the Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Zonda and the Ferrari Enzo. A carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque tub insured all those ponies only had to motivate 2860lbs, and performance estimates—2.9 second zero to 60, 10.6 second 1/4 mile, top speed far north of 200mph—were predictably dazzling. Dazzling enough, in fact, that they trumped anything then parent company Daimler AG had on the drawing board. Unwilling to let its humble Detroit stepchild have a halo car which would eclipse anything sporting an AMG badge, the Mercedes brass declined to produce the ME Four-Twelve, making it one of automotive history’s sexiest might-have-beens.
Click on the image above for an wallpaper-ready shot of this American-made hypercar!
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