A legend in its own time, this Dodge Challenger was famous for winning street races and then disappearing into the night.
Mecum Auctions announced today that it has been consigned to sell a legend of the muscle car mythos. This 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T SE is better known by the name it earned while street racing in Detroit in the ’70s: The Black Ghost.
Although its ownership had long been a mystery, the world discovered recently that the car was owned and raced by Godfrey Quails. A Detroit police officer by day, Quails also served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, earning a Purple Heart for his service.
Upon returning home from the military, Quails ordered this car new from Raynal Brothers Dodge, in Detroit, and took delivery on December 5, 1969. The black Challenger had a white tail stripe and a “Gator Grain” roof treatment that would become the stuff of legends.
As a police officer, Quails couldn’t afford to be caught street racing. And although that didn’t stop him from participating in the local racing scene, it meant that he maintained an air of mystery.
Quails’ black Challenger was famed for rumbling up to Woodward Avenue, winning a race, and then disappearing into the night. The car would then not be seen again for weeks or months at a time, which only served to elevate its legend.
The car’s disappearing act earned it the nickname of the “Black Ghost,” and its career lasted until 1975. Even after he retired from street racing, though, Quails never boasted about his exploits, and his legend might have been forgotten were it not for his son Gregory.
First hearing the story from family members, Gregory was shocked in 2014 when his dad took him to the garage and pulled a car cover off the legendary Dodge. Sadly, cancer took Quails’ life just a year later, but before departing, he signed ownership of the car over to Gregory.
The car’s legend is such that it has now been honored by the Dodge company itself with a special edition “Last Call” version of the 2023 Challenger designed in its honor. Based on the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody trim, the modern car makes 807 hp (602 kW/818 PS).
And while that’s an enticing model, collectors are now being given the opportunity to own the real deal. The original Black Ghost will be sold this spring at Mecum’s Indy Auction, which runs from May 12-20.