A true piece of muscle car history could soon be yours.
The legendary 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE “Black Ghost” will hit the block next month at Mecum Auctions’s annual Indy sales event. The auction will mark the first time that Godfrey Qualls’s sinister speed machine has gone up for grabs in its 53-year history.
The story of the Black Ghost at the dawn of the 1970s, when Qualls, a former Green Beret paratrooper, purchased the triple-black Challenger brand-new after returning to his hometown of Detroit to become a police officer. The triple-black coupe quickly built a reputation in the Motor City street racing scene by defeating any car foolish enough to cross its path before it disappeared into the night—only to return weeks later to win more races. Sensing that street racing might not be great for his career, Qualls is said to have parked the car in his home garage in 1976, though he still took it out for a random race here and there.
One has to assume that Qualls was pretty skilled behind the wheel, but the engine under the hood of the Black Ghost also deserves some of the credit for its notoriety. As one of only 23 Challenger R/T SEs build during the 1970 model, it was powered by a dual four-barrel 7.0-liter Hemi V-8. The famous mill was mated to a four-speed manual transmission that sent all of its 425 horses to the rear wheels. With all that power available at the press of a foot, it’s little wonder Qualls could outpace or run down anyone hubristic enough to challenge him to a race.
There aren’t many vehicles, let alone muscle cars, that are talked about as reverently as the Black Ghost. The Challenger has been gracing the pages of enthusiast magazines for decades now and was added to the Library of Congress’s National Vehicle Registry in 2020. It even inspired one of the final gas-powered Challenger “Last Call” variants. The car—which Qualls gave to his son before his death in 2015—has never been rebuilt and retains its original black paint job, Gator Grain top and interior. It’s the real deal in every single way.
The Black Ghost is one of the main lots scheduled to go up for auction at Mecum’s week-long Indy 2023 sales event. No estimate has been announced, but expect to pay a hefty sum if you want to take this car home with you. Well-maintained 1970 Challenger R/T SEs regularly sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars—but none of those have a story like that of the Black Ghost.
Click here for more photos of the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE “Black Ghost.”