1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE, “The Black Ghost”
A Badass Muscle Car
Between spec and story this one’s got it all. Godfrey Qualls bought this Challenger new in 1970 and checked a great many options boxes on his order. Under the hood sits a 426 Hemi rated at 425 hp (but more likely making 470, sneaky Dodge) with power sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual with pistol-grip shifter. It’s got hood pins like a racing car, a brilliant black Gator Grain vinyl roof, and even a tow hitch used to haul Godfrey’s Norton Commando motorcycle.
A Badass Man
So that’s the spec but what about the story? The Ghost got its name because of the way it would show up to race on Woodward Avenue, wipe the floor with everybody, then disappear into the night. Godfrey kept on driving after each victory because in addition to being a former paratrooper, Purple Heart recipient, and formidable driver he was also a serving Detroit police officer. This was the golden age of Detroit muscle car street racing and he had the baddest car around. He absolutely had to race it and thanks to his day job he knew all the best secluded spots to do so.
Black Ghost TOday
Godfrey kept up his sporadic racing schedule until 1977 when he reenlisted in the army and became a Green Beret. The car was parked in his garage and there it sat until the early 2010s. Before he passed away in 2015, Godfrey handed the keys to his son, Gregory, who promised to keep the car in the family in its immaculate original powertrain, paint, and interior form as a holy-grail survivor car. It’s so significant a piece of American automotive history that it’s been included in the National Historic Vehicle Register; a list which runs to just 28 cars and resides in the Library of Congress. Check out the video on this amazing car and its full story below.
James Walker is a freelance writer with a passion for four-wheeled things and twisty roads.