Over the summer, Dodge revealed the 2023 Dodge Challenger “Black Ghost” as part of its “Last Call” retro-themed muscle car program. The car was inspired by the iconic black-colored 1970 Dodge Challenger HEMI R/T SE owned by Godfrey Qualls, which dominated the street racing scene on Woodward Avenue during the early 1970s.
Qualls’ 1970 Challenger quickly earned a legendary reputation for flexing its 426 HEMI-powered muscle on Woodward and then driving off mysteriously into the night, not to be seen again for months, leading to the “Black Ghost” nickname. Not simply a local legend, in 2020, Qualls’ vehicle earned a spot on the National Historic Vehicle Register and remains in the Qualls family to this day. That is, until this spring.
That’s right, the iconic “Black Ghost” will be crossing the auction at Dana Mecum’s 36th Original Spring Classic which will be held May 12th to the 20th in Indianapolis. Mecum Auction made the announcement officially during the beginning of festivities at their Kissimmee, Florida event.
So besides the street racing stories that follow the car, what makes it so legendary?
If you run the car’s VIN number (JS29R0B193271) in a breakdown calculator for 1970 to 1974 Dodge Challengers, you will see that Godfrey checked most of the option boxes when ordering his car from Raynal Brothers Dodge located on Chalmers Ave in Detroit. Some of those options included…
- (E74) 426 HEMI (Dual 4-Barrel Carbs) – 425 horsepower
- (D21) 4-Speed Manual Transmission Floor Shift
- (A34) Super Track Pack Package with 4.10 Gear Ratio in a 9 3/4-Inch Dana Axle with Sure-Grip Differential, 7-Blade Torque Drive Fan, 26-Inch Radiator with Shroud, HEMI Suspension Handling Package and Power Front Disc Brakes
- (J45) Hood Tie-Down Pins
- (R35) AM/FM Multiplex Stereo
- (S83) Rim-Blow Steering Wheel
- (V1G) Gator Grain Full Vinyl Roof
- (V9W) White Transverse Bumble Bee Sport Stripe
Equipped with a Black (TX9) exterior color, along with its Gator Grain vinyl roof, and the Black colored interior was a rare combination at the time. Not many of those colored colors rolled off the Hamtramck, Michigan assembly line, especially in R/T trim. The total price of the car came close to $5,300 at the time (which was quite expensive at the time).
However, one option added by Godfrey created even more of a legend for the car. He opted for the optional Shaker hood scoop. But when the car arrived at the dealer with the standard hood, Godfrey threatened to sue either the dealer or Chrysler; he eventually got the hood assembly, but then never had it installed. It also forced Dodge to release the Shaker hood option to the public soon after.
Currently, a 1970 Dodge Challenger HEMI R/T SE with a 4-speed manual in excellent condition is valued at more than $350,000, according to Hagerty. But due to its unrestored condition and unique historic value, it’s not unthinkable that the car could reach over $1,000,000 once its hits the auction block.
It will surely be interesting to see how much the auction for the car will bring in. But you can guarantee we will be keeping close attention.