A police officer-owned 1970 Dodge Challenger became the stuff of legend in the drag racing scene, and now it's proven its worth on auction.
The Legendary 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE, nicknamed the Black Ghost, has been sold at auction for an astounding $1,072,500 after the hammer fell within nine minutes of bidding opening. At the Mecum Indy auction this weekend, the car that inspired one of the Last Call special edition Dodge models found a new owner.
The final bid of $975,000 fell shy of the projected million-dollar mark the car was expected to hit, but with Mecum's 10% buyer's premium included, the sale officially broke the seven-figure mark. That's quite the sum of money for what may at first glance seem like an ordinary, albeit classic, American muscle car. But the Black Ghost was far from ordinary and was the stuff of legend in the late '70s.
The car earned its nickname after it appeared at numerous illegal drag races held on Detroit's Woodward Avenue, regularly winning only to disappear for weeks on end before resurfacing and continuing to dominate. Because it was never seen in public any other time, and because its driver was unknown, it earned the nickname "Black Ghost" for its ability to simply disappear with no trace.
That, as it turns out, was for good reason, as it was owned and driven by Detroit police officer Godfrey Qualls, who would've likely been fired had his superiors known of his late-night antics.
The Black Ghost was owned by Qualls until his passing in 2015, when it was left to his son, Greg. After the car's story was revived a few years ago, the Black Ghost was inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register in the Library of Congress. Greg restored the car but left its various nicks and dings in place, taking it to car shows where more stories emerged of its notoriety in the '70s.
Even Dodge honored the legend, releasing 300 special edition versions of the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, paying tribute to the Black Ghost right down to the gator skin vinyl-look roof.
Given its notoriety and specialness as a family-owned car from day one, it may seem like a peculiar decision to sell the car. But according to Hagerty, Greg says, "The main reason is it's a chance to help my family, to give them opportunities they may not have otherwise. And the timing is right, as it seems like we're transitioning out of gas cars." He explains further, "Family, that's the key to all this. And it's something I think my Dad would be OK with. But I think it's shocking a lot of people. It was a hard decision to make. My dad didn't say don't sell the car, he said just don't give it away."
While the reasons behind the sale may be debated by enthusiasts, we can be certain the Black Ghost has gone to an enthusiast. After all, no one would pay a million bucks for an old Dodge unless they had gasoline in their veins.
"I'll be sad to see it go," Greg says. "But it's time."
The car originally cost Godfery Qualls $5,272.40, including destination. According to experts, it's the only 1970 Challenger to have left the factory in this specification with all these options, making it a one-of-one even before its drag racing legend began.
It was equipped with a four-speed manual paired with its 426 Hemi V8.
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