Legendary “Black Ghost” Challenger up for sale by original family

Godfrey Qualls' 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE, known as the Black Ghost. HVA/Preston Rose

If you were a part of the Detroit street racing scene in the ’70s, or if you’ve been a muscle car fan at any point since then, there’s a good chance you’ve heard tales of the Black Ghost, a street-racing 1970 Dodge Challenger that would prowl Woodward Avenue, show its opponents its taillights, and then disappear. The triple-black Hemi-powered Challenger R/T SE was stealthy and, at the same time, distinct thanks to its black “Gator Grain” alligator-print vinyl top.

Now, after more than 50 years with the same family, the Black Ghost will be offered for sale as part of Dana Mecum’s 36th Original Spring Classic event held May 12–20 in Indianapolis. Mecum made the announcement at its Kissimmee, Florida event going on right now.

Godfrey Qualls, a United States Army veteran and Detroit police officer, was the driver behind the mysterious 426 Hemi racer. The fact that he was a cop explains why he kept his after-hours street racing shenanigans quiet. Qualls retired the car from racing in 1975 and didn’t brag about his exploits. In 2015, just before he passed away, he signed the title over to his son, Gregory. The story of Quall’s racing prowess received national attention thanks to the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, which helped the Black Ghost enter into the National Historic Vehicle Register. Gregory shared his father’s story with Hagerty:


How big of a deal is this car? Aside from its place on the National Historic Vehicle Register, Dodge chose to pay tribute to the Black Ghost as one of its seven “Last Call” models that honor the brand’s Hemi muscle cars. The Black Ghost is the only individual car to earn such a distinction thus far (there’s still one more Last Call car announcement coming).

A Hemi-powered 1970 Challenger R/T SE four-speed in #2 (Excellent) condition is currently valued at more than $350,000, although this car’s near-mythical status and history will certainly elevate it above its brethren.

How high, you may wonder? Hagerty valuation specialist John Wiley explains how the car’s unique history will come to play when the Black Ghost hits the auction block.

“Unrestored, culturally iconic muscle cars such as the 1968 Bullitt Mustang sell for well over seven figures, and it’s not unreasonable to expect the Black Ghost might do the same,” Wiley said.

Mecum hasn’t published any other consignments for its Indy sale besides the Black Ghost, but we can’t imagine any that will eclipse this legendary muscle car. We’ll certainly be watching to see where this car lands, hopefully in a collection that will put it on display and share its fascinating story.

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    I started with a 64 sport fury 383 727 bucket seats in floor black with red and white interior before leaving
    high school mom cosigned and helped with the down payment from russel and smith ford in HOUSTON. I
    saw cars like this but mom was not having it(smile). I hope the family gets their fair share of all that this
    legendary car brings. I tried to buy a hemi motor to build me a mopar hotrod but had to sell all three kids.

    I know this car as I lived in Michigan during the time of 1970s and had race cars this was the car that was to have served in the service come to find out with GQ I wish the family the best in their sale

    Dodge should buy it, get Dodge-bleeding David Freiburger to take it on power tour (his shows could document the prep & journey) and then get the car touring museums (Peterson, Lars Anderson, etc) so people all over can see it.

    I’m thinking a Sox & Martin tribute, but Dick Landy is worthy. Bobby Isaacs deserves a nod- and Big Daddy Don Garlits is as legendary as the Hemi, why not?

    If I had to guess his wife is after him to sell it. Despite what most commenters say, this won’t send any kids to college. It’ll get squandered. Godfrey would probably not be proud.

    I suppose selling is inevitable, maybe predictable, after the publicity blitz about the car the last couple years.
    So, “striking while the iron is hot”, I suppose.

    Great article on U.S. automotive culture. You should give some thought to doing an article on the Ontario, Canada equivalent, that being Hwy 401 ( the shortest distance between Michigan and New York).

    Cattoo: a car with this value could be difficult for most people to care for. As if you didn’t already know before your snarky remark.

    Wow !! Breaking news? Lol I saw this coming years ago. This is typical of an inheritance whether it be a house or a car the kids just can’t wait to cash in!
    Not surprised but I can’t blame them. The car could probably buy them a palace in the east coast.

    First time I read about the BLACK GHOST I didn’t want the story to end .It was here or Hemmings that put out the story . I remember wishing a guy could have a discussion with the dad who raced it .I understand that the son is willing to let it go .My son is not into cars .

    Great story. It’s sad that the family can’t keep the car, but I understand. Sometimes you just have to make realistic, hard decisions. This car is just too valuable to keep just for sentimental reasons. The upkeep, insurance, storage, fear of it being stolen or wrecked. Not to mention it can help pay for college for his grandkids!

    This right here. When it reaches a certain value, A middle class family is not going to be able to afford to keep it. The Hearst family could not afford to keep San Simeon after William Randolf Hearst died. The Miller family could not afford to keep Miller raceway when Mr. Miller passed away. It was inevitable that a middle class family can no longer afford to keep an asset as valuable as this auto.

    DON’T SELL IT!!!! You’ll regret it forever. I’m sure I speak for millions who wish they could inherit such an awesome piece of history, not to mention for me the family connection since it was new.

    That’s a really gratuitously racist comment. What relationship does the color of their skin, or anyone else’s, have to the historical importance of what really is a notable car? Don’t demean our car hobby with this stuff.

    What a truly legendary piece of American history. Taking the bigger picture into context, I’m sure that the Black Ghost can provide better for the family at auction than in the garage. The man’s and the car’s legacy will live on regardless of ownership.

    When I was 16 I worked at a Chrysler/Plymouth dealer in Washington state. A lot of 66 charger hemi cars came thru. I wanted to buy a 1966 satellite hemi / 4 speed with Dana 60 rearmed 411 gears It was used and listed for 1,395 dollars. My mother would not let me buy the car because she thought I would hurt or kill my self with it. She may have been right but will never know. Wish I had it now. Worth big bucks.

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