Holley MoParty 2023 brought the heat, we brought the Black Ghost Hellcat Redeye

Cameron Aubernon

For most of the year, Bowling Green, Kentucky hosts the thousands of Corvette fans who make the pilgrimage to the National Corvette Museum. Some visit the museum specifically to take delivery of their new Corvette, fresh from the nearby General Motors Bowling Green Assembly plant. And of course, there are those who satiate a need for speed at NCM Motorsports Park. Come September, however, car enthusiasts in Bowling Green turn their focus to a different track: Beech Bend. There, over three weekends throughout the month, hometown performance purveyor Holley Performance hosts three high-horsepower gatherings down in the Bluegrass State: MoParty, LS Fest, and Ford Fest.

I had a hankering to let my proverbial mullet down and surround myself with all sorts of Hemis, 440s, Viper V-10s, and Slant-Sixes, all dressed in the wildest colors imaginable. Thus, I made plans to attend the 2023 Holley MoParty. It was an absolute riot.

2023 Holley MoParty event hemi engine signs
It’s Mopar or no car at the MoParty. Time will tell if this event grows to the scale of Holley’s biggest gathering, LS Fest. Cameron Aubernon

A celebration of all things Mopar, the MoParty returned for its fourth annual celebration on September 15–17. As we’ve all come to expect, the event attracted every sort of Pentastar-branded excitement down at the Barren River for three days of fun and firepower from the halls of Auburn Hills.

“At Holley, we’re all about getting out and having fun with your vehicles,” said Blane Burnett, senior events manager for Holley Performance. “To that end, these events [like the MoParty] allow us to set that exact experience up for people. We started working on Gen III Hemi swap systems, and just like we did when we came out with LS Fest—we had just started with our LS-centric product catalog—it’s really helpful to align yourself with that market and celebrate what they’re doing.”

It was my third trip to Beech Bend, though my first for the MoParty. I made sure to bring something appropriate for the occasion—a 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Black Ghost Last Call Edition on loan from Stellantis.

One of 300 such examples to ever be built as part of the last big, seven-car Last Call Edition hurrah for both the current Challenger and Charger before electrification and hybridization take over, the Black Ghost Hellcat Redeye pays tribute to a 1970 Challenger R/T SE bought in 1969 by Detroit police officer and U.S. Army paratrooper Godfrey Qualls. As the legend goes, Qualls would take his triple-black Challenger with its gator-skin vinyl roof and white rear stripe to race all comers in Detroit, only to vanish from the scene for weeks to months at a time, like a ghost, haunting the competition until its stealthy return.

“We’re doing pretty much everything that we do with LS Fest for the Mopar contingent,” said Burnett. “We do have some things that are different flavors, which cater to the Mopar community, whether it’s serious or in jest. We have a mullet contest, which is just a fun way for everybody to let their hair down. If we keep serving the community well and give them a good time and a good experience, the show’s gonna continue growing.”

2023 Holley MoParty event hemi
Cameron Aubernon

Amid its siblings in the “Brotherhood of Muscle,” such as the monster Charger King Daytona family sedan or the absolutely hellish Challenger Demon 170 in attendance, this 2023 Black Ghost Challenger homage flew a little more under the radar. However, its 807-horsepower, 707-lb-ft of torque, supercharged Hemi V-8 did plenty of talking from the stoplight to the highway and the quarter-mile. It was the perfect machine for rolling into the MoParty, and I experienced as much as I could before roaring back out to my Old Dominion home in southwestern Virginia.

While at MoParty, it felt wrong to leave the car by itself in spectator parking near the end of Beech Bend’s quarter-mile. I reached out to the event’s PR reps and Holley to humbly ask if the 2023 Black Ghost Edition would be a welcome guest at the big red Holley tent in Beech Bend’s midway.

On the day of our arrival at the track, we got our response: Yes!


2023 Holley MoParty event dirt track
Cameron Aubernon

In between visits to the Jeep 4×4 Experience—where Jeep fans can see their favorite rugged Mopars flex on the short course—the show ‘n’ shine, the quarter-mile, and the autocross on the other side of the drag strip’s timing tower, I looked over at the Black Ghost to see if anyone else knew what this nearly all-black Challenger was about. One older onlooker grabbed one of the hood pin posts to determine if it was real. Most looked at the big V-8 with the supercharger bolted on top of it, maybe even noticed the Last Call Edition plaque on the radiator support, peered into the rolled-up windows to see the interior, and, perhaps, caught a glimpse of the gator-skin roof graphic in the September sun and the big white rear stripe. All in all, it made me happy to see this special machine get its day in the limelight at the MoParty.

“We’re out here to have a good time [at the MoParty],” said Burnett. “We set the tone with the good mood, the good vibe, good playlist, and awesome stuff to do on the track. You couldn’t spend [your weekend] better than by coming out here and hanging out with us.”

The event was such a success, from our perspective, that we asked Burnett if MoParty will ultimately expand to other locations and markets the way LS Fest has.

“We’re not sure yet [if there will be a MoParty West or MoParty Texas],” said Burnett. “We’ve got a lot of room to grow this one before we need to think about that. LS engines are huge; that made us a little bit more able to [have more LS Fests]. We did the first LS Fest West in 2017. That took us about seven years to grow outside of Bowling Green.”

2023 Holley MoParty event
Cameron Aubernon

The Black Ghost did attract a couple of Mopar fans my way, even outside the Holley tent. Once was the day before heading out to Bowling Green, when a Challenger Hellcat Widebody owner saw me pull into the local Speedway gas station. He pulled alongside in the parking spaces up front to ask about the white stripe on the Challenger, as well as take a few photos so he could have a stripe of his own one day.

Later, a young man at a rest stop in Tennessee noticed the Black Ghost, and I noticed him noticing the car. He was enamored by the brutality of this Last Call Edition’s aesthetic—gator-skin roof graphic, bulging twin air intakes, and all. He told me his mom owned a Dodge Durango R/T with the 392 Hemi, which was moving their family down the highway.

Like my time at the MoParty, my time with the Black Ghost was too short. Both the event and the car left an impression on me that will last for years to come. Ghosts linger like that, no?

Flip through Cameron’s full photo gallery from MoParty 2023 here:




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