1970 Dodge Challenger HEMI 'Black Ghost': The Infamous Legend Fetches Nearly a Million at Auction -300

The 1970 Dodge Challenger "Black Ghost," one of the most anticipated classic cars auctioned off in 2023, just went under the hammer for $975,000. That's $1.07 million, including buyer premium, a record for 1970 Dodge Challengers of the coupe variety.

The auction kicked off with a $500,000 bid, and the price jumped over the $800K mark in just a few seconds. It then sat for a good while at $950,000 before the seller took off the reserve. One final bid bumped the sticker to $975,000, sending the infamous "Black Ghost" to its first new home since the original owner bought it in 1969.

So what makes this Challenger so special that it almost entered the million-dollar club? Well, for starters, it's an unrestored survivor that still rocks a numbers-matching engine. And it's not just any Mopar mill but the iconic 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI.

The powerplant alone makes it a rare rig. Although the Challenger was quite popular in 1970, moving almost 77,000 units, only 356 were equipped with the HEMI.

Moreover, the owner also specified the optional Special Edition package, which narrows it down to one of 60 cars built like this. Furthermore, the black paint and gator top combo is unique among R/T SE models, so this muscle car is a one-of-one.

But wait, there's more. This Challenger also has a spectacular story to tell. You see, the Mopar belonged to a guy named Godfrey Qualls. A police officer by day, Godfrey raced the HEMI-powered Challenger at night.

Knowing that a police career wouldn't go well with illegal street racing, he showed up out of the blue at local hangouts, challenged other racers, beat them to the quarter-mile, and then vanished into the night.

The mysterious man and his menacing, all-black Challenger became known as the "Black Ghost." And the true identity of the man behind the steering wheel remained unknown for decades because Godfrey didn't share his drag-racing stories with his family until he got old and retired from the police department. The story became public thanks to his son, Gregory, who inherited the car when his dad passed away.

It's been six years since the "Black Ghost" was unveiled to the world, and Gregory decided to part ways with the car. But needless to say, it will remain one of the most iconic classic Dodge Challengers out there, and I'm pretty sure it went to a good home.

And by the way, Dodge paid tribute to Mr. Qualls and his incredible story with a limited edition 2023 Dodge Challenger included in the "Last Call" series.

So is the 1970 "Black Ghost" the most expensive 1970 Challenger ever auctioned? The answer is no, but it's only superseded by a couple of R/T Convertible models. And that's not surprising since Dodge sold only nine drop-tops in 1970.

The most expensive unit was auctioned off for $1.8 million in 2016, followed by an example that found a new home for $1.4 million in 2019.

However, the "Black Ghost" is the most expensive first-generation Challenger coupe ever auctioned, regardless of model year. It's followed by a 1971 HEMI sold for $704,000 and a 1970 HEMI with a sunroof auctioned off for $660,000.

The former is a low-mileage, unrestored survivor, while the latter is the only 1970 HEMI R/T fitted with a sunroof. So, needless to say, the "Black Ghost" story made a big difference. I guess everyone loves a good story, including muscle car collectors.

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