The legendary “Black Ghost” 1970 Dodge HEMI Challenger R/T SE, a car renowned for its nocturnal street racing escapades on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, was recently sold at the Mecum Indy auction. With a high bid of $975,000 and Mecum’s buyer’s premium, the final price exceeded $1 million.
This iconic vehicle’s story once shrouded in mystery, has captivated enthusiasts for decades. Finally, after being hidden for years, the Black Ghost emerged from the shadows and gained recognition as it was inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register. Now, it has found a new owner, marking the first time since its original purchase by Officer Godfrey Qualls in 1969 that the car has become publicly available.
Purchased by Officer Qualls, a Detroit police officer, and combat-honored Army paratrooper, the “Black Ghost” Dodge Challenger was initially intended for both comfort and performance. However, during the summer of 1970, rumors began circulating about a black HEMI Challenger that would appear on Woodward Avenue, engage in drag races, and then mysteriously vanish. Officer Qualls, aware of the consequences if his identity were revealed, skillfully navigated the underground street racing scene, earning the car its legendary nickname.
In 1976, Officer Qualls retired the Black Ghost and stored it in his home garage, which remained concealed until 2016. After Qualls’ passing, his son Gregory inherited the car and decided to share its fascinating history with the public. Preserving its originality and leaving it unrestored, Greg ran the car and began taking it to shows, where he learned about his father’s daring exploits for the first time.
This 1970 Dodge HEMI Challenger R/T SE is considered one of the most highly optioned examples ever built. It features the one-year-only R/T SE package, making it one of only 23 HEMI R/T SE Challengers produced. Equipped with the dual 4-barrel 426 HEMI engine, A34 Super Track Pack, A833 HEMI 4-speed transmission, and 4.10 Sure Grip Dana 60 differential, this car represents the pinnacle of performance for its era. Remarkably, the drivetrain has remained largely untouched since its original installation.
The Black Ghost’s exterior still boasts its factory-applied triple-black color scheme, white tail stripe, and V1G Gator grain vinyl top. The body features original sheet metal with some signs of patina, including modifications by Officer Qualls, such as an anti-theft lock, motorcycle trailer tow hitch, and Zulu warrior decals. The interior is equally impressive, featuring a well-appointed cabin with a C16 floor console, Hurst Pistol Grip shifter, R35 AM/FM Multiplex stereo, rim-blow steering wheel, N85 tachometer, and premium houndstooth seating.
This Dodge Challenger’s significance has been recognized and celebrated at numerous automotive events, including the Concours d’Elegance of America, MCACN, Amelia Island, Hilton Head Concours, and EyesOn Design. Documented extensively by expert Dave Wise, the car comes with its original window sticker, broadcast sheets, vehicle traveler sheet, registration and warranty paperwork from 1969, and other related documents.
Despite the emotional attachment to the Black Ghost, Greg Qualls decided to sell the car. He hopes the sale will provide opportunities for his family and ensure the car’s legacy lives on. The auction marked the first opportunity for the public to own this exclusive piece of automotive history as it transitioned from the Qualls family to a new owner who will continue to cherish its storied past.
1970 Dodge HEMI® Challenger R/T SE “Black Ghost” Image Gallery:
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