By Dave Ashton
Rare muscle cars pass through auction houses all the time, but not so many with the street cred. of the ‘Black Ghost.’
This 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE gained infamy from its street racing days on Woodward and Telegraph Avenues Detroit, appearing out of the blue, winning, and then disappearing into the night.
This type of behaviour was a great way to build the mystique and reputation behind the car. But in reality, the behaviour was out of necessity as the car was owned and driven by Detroit police officer and Purple Heart-awarded military veteran Godfrey ‘Dennis’ Qualls. A very low profile was obviously key in this scenario, which meant after a few years, Mr Qualls disappeared completely from the illegal drag racing scene, earning the nickname, ‘Black Ghost.’
The Hemi Challenger was originally purchased from Raynal Brothers Dodge, Chalmers Avenue Detroit.
The car itself is a 1 of 1 426 Hemi V8 version with a four-speed manual transmission, A34 Super Track Pack, R35 multiplex AM/FM stereo, S83 Rim-Blow steering wheel, Gator Grain roof, 4.10 gears, black paint job with white bumblebee stripe and interior, J45 hood pins, and the standout ‘Africa’ badge on the fender. The original cost being $5,300. A shaker hood was also ordered, but arrived after the car’s purchase and was never installed.
As for race prep, the only additions were 11-inch slick tires, unhooked mufflers, and an aftermarket coil. The car eventually clocked up 45,000 miles, with the intention of performing a restoration in the future.
The Challenger was garage kept for many years and is still in original condition, with paint chips and all.
The car’s exploits then turned into Motown racing legend, with the car hidden away until 2014, when son Gregory revealed it again to the world. Since that point, the Dodge Challenger has been added to the National Historic Vehicle Registry in the library of Congress. The car has also been honoured by Dodge, who has made a run of 300 limited editions 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeyes. These new models all housing supercharged V8s with 807HP.
The classic Black Ghost Challenger will be sold at Mecum Kissimmee 2023, May 12-20 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Similar Hemi-powered 1970 Dodge Challengers sold at auction for $1.65 million in 2016. Including the back history of the Black Ghost, the car could fetch a seven-figure sum.
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