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Original 1970 Dodge Challenger Sells for Over $1 Million

The original 1970 Dodge Challenger that used to cruise and race on the streets of Detroit continues its ride after selling this weekend at a Mecum Auction.

The historic 1970 Dodge “Black Ghost” Challenger was one of the headliners at the Mecum 36th Original Spring Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana, this weekend. On the Mecum website, it lists the price for the legendary muscle car as $1,072,500. Technically, the hammer price was $975,000 plus the auction fees. According to Mecum, it took less than 9 minutes to sell. The vehicle became legendary back in the 1970s when it would mysteriously appear late at night and drag race on the streets of metro Detroit. The HEMI-powered vehicle was added to the National Historic Vehicle Register in 2020, for its racing significance.

1970 Dodge HEMI Challenger R/T SE

According to the Mecum post and Detroit car buffs,

“Godfrey Qualls, a Detroit police officer by day and mysterious street drag racer by night, dominated the Motor City power scene with his black 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T SE adorned with the “Gator Grain” roof treatment and white tail stripe, and powered by the 426 Hemi engine. After serving in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Godfrey ordered the car new at Raynal Brothers Dodge in Detroit, with it arriving on December 5, 1969. Qualls paid $5,272 for the one-of-a-kind Challenger. He put it to good use, rumbling to local hangouts, including the famed Woodward Avenue and Telegraph Road, ready to trounce any contender. With a win secured, the pair would then disappear into the darkness for weeks and months at a time. The vanishing of Qualls’ triumphant Dodge Challenger earned it the nickname “Black Ghost.”

Apparently, Qualls kept his escapades quiet, concerned that he could lose his job as a police officer if he got caught racing. In 2015, when he was dying of cancer, Qualls signed the Challenger over to his son Gregory. Gregory got the Challenger back running but kept the car in its original shape.
“We all love a good car story, but this is nothing short of an all-American muscle tale forged in the heart of the Motor City,” Mecum Vice President of Consignments Frank Mecum said.

Original 1970 Dodge Black Ghost Challenger

“When you have the combination of a Purple Heart-awarded military veteran and a unique ’70 Challenger with the mythical street racing of a clandestine Detroit cop, the muscle car, drag racing and Mopar enthusiasts take notice.”
Mecum did not release the name of the “Black Ghost” buyer. I hope for the sake of car lovers everywhere that the buyer will continue displaying the car to the public, so everyone can appreciate the significance of the legendary muscle car.

2023 Dodge "Last Call" Black Ghost ChallengerDodge Recreating the Infamous “Black Ghost” as a “Last Call’ Edition

Dodge was so impressed with the legendary “Black Ghost” that it is reimagining the vehicle as its sixth ‘Last Call’ special-edition. Only 300 of the 2023 Challenger Black Ghost ‘Last Call’ models will be produced. The 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost boosts the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody to 807 horsepower, nearly double the original “Black Ghost’s” horsepower.

One of the 300 2023 Dodge Black Ghost Challengers also sold this weekend at the Indianapolis Mecum Auction. The vehicle, with only 13 miles on it, sold for $170,500. Mecum, again, did not say who the buyer was.

“There are so many legendary muscle cars in Dodge brand history, it was hard to choose the seven vehicles we wanted to pay homage to with our Last Call lineup, but the Black Ghost was an easy pick,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand chief executive officer – Stellantis.

I'm sure the incredible price for the original 1970 Dodge Black Ghost Challenger will only enhance the reputation of the 2023 Dodge Challenger "Last Call" Black Ghost as a collector's item.

Dodge and Historic Vehicle Registry Photos
Mecum Video

Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.

Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories.