It was known as “The Black Ghost” on Detroit’s streets.
If you cruised Detroit’s drag racing scene back in the 1970s, then even the mere mention of “The Black Ghost” could send shivers down your spine. Or not. It was a rare car in more than one way, a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T with a spec so unique that it has been entered into the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress through the National Historic Vehicle Register.
The triple-black Challenger – a rare color combination to pick when Dodge offered a wide palette at the time – packed iconic 426 Hemi V8, which packed 425 horsepower (316 kilowatts). The big burly mill paired with a four-speed manual gearbox and Hurst shifter. The man who ordered it, Godfrey Qualls, wanted a vinyl top, though his car came with the gator grain top instead. He optioned the rear defogger, houndstooth fabric, the AM/FM radio, hood pins, the passenger-side mirror, and the pop-up NASCAR-style gas cap.
Other extras added included the Bumble Bee stripes and the SE package, which added chrome trim and accent inside and out, along with the overhead console. Qualls also added a trailer hitch, as he was also an avid motorcyclist who used his Challenger to tow. In the 1980s and 1990s, the car sat in the family’s garage, collecting dust until his son wanted to restore it after Godfrey’s passing. He wanted to take start taking it out to car shows.
Godfrey’s son began a year-long process to get it running while keeping it as original as possible. He wanted it to be a survivor car, and that’s what it is. The Challenger has yet to undergo a restoration – the motor has never been out of the car nor opened, and it still has the original valve covers after 50 years. The Qualls family has no plans to sell the car, and the 40-minute documentary above about it is well worth the watch. The car has quite a history.