The 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost is the latest “Last Call” special edition model—part of a line of gas-powered Challengers and Chargers that arrive before the muscle car goes electric—and pays homage to the legendary mystery black Challenger from 1970. Aptly nicknamed “The Black Ghost,” the original muscleman fifty years ago occasionally strolled down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue or drove down an industrial street called Stecker before sneaking away, unseen for months or even years. He always seems to win and never lose, but he never hangs around to grab a burger and socialize. Can you imagine that today? A mysterious muscle car with no social media presence or auto show appearances?
The chances of seeing a modern Black Ghost Challenger are almost as slim as they were in the 1970s: only 300 Black Ghost Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody (with 807hp) wrapped in black will be built.
It turns out that the original Black Ghost was a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T with an SE package owned by a transmission man named Godfrey Qualls. Interestingly, “GQ” was actually a Detroit police officer, perhaps a conflict of interest that could help explain the secretive nature of the Black Ghost’s appearances and disappearances. He was actually a motorcycle cop and Black Ghost had trouble towing GQ motorcycles to the racetracks. He was also an Army veteran.
According to the in-depth Hagerty writeup, the 1970 GQ Challenger can be built as a one-of-one, given its 425 hp, 490 lb-ft of torque 426 Hemi V-8 with four-barrel carburetor ($778.75); four-speed manual ($194.85); AM/FM stereo ($213.60); “Gator Grain” vinyl roof ($24.60); and cloth and vinyl seats instead of leather ($-48.25). The whole thing came to $5,272.40. The shaker hood it was supposed to have was never installed. The Black Ghost recently became the 28th car inscribed on the National Register of Historic Vehicles.
Aside from an aftermarket coilover, 11-inch slicks and removing the mufflers, Qualls didn’t do much in the way of modifications to the Black Ghost, according to Hemmings. Qualls put over 45,000 miles on the odometer and apparently never needed the clutch.
As shown through exterior features, the new Black Ghost is a modern take on the original, right down to the black gator skin vinyl roof graphics, Challenger badging (grille, fender and spoiler) and white bumblebee rear fender graphic. . The black exterior is offset by a chrome Dodge badge on the front and a chrome fuel filler door. (You can tell Quall was a cop because he opted for a gas cap.) Black six-piston Brembo brakes help stop the 20×11 Satin Carbon Warp Speed wheels.
Inside, the Last Call Black Ghost Challenger features street-legal carbon fiber bezels, Dynamica suede headliner, an Alcantara steering wheel with red SRT logo, and a Black Ghost interior dash badge. As a side note, this badge features the Fratzog logo. While the original didn’t, the new Black Ghost has leather, as seen on the Alcantara/Laguna leather seats and door linings.
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