ALONG WOODWARD AVENUE, Mich. – The Dodge Challenger Black Ghost is a unprecedented mix of historical past and thriller served up in a contemporary Hellcat muscle automotive.
The 6th of 7 “Remaining Name” fashions Dodge constructed to ship out the Charger and Challenger LX vehicles, the Black Ghost is a Hellcat Redeye widebody with 807 hp. That’s the fashionable phase.
The historical past is solely as compelling. The authentic Black Ghost is a 1970 Challenger RT SE (Particular Version) owned through a Detroit police officer and Pink Center winner named Godfrey Qualls, who raced it on Woodward Road in the course of the Nineteen Seventies. He special-ordered the automobile with an upgraded 426 Hemi V8, the Tremendous Monitor Pack that incorporated a floor-mounted pistol-grip four-speed guide, and a few beautiful unique choices adapted to his tastes, like a snakeskin-style vinyl roof. It’s believed to be the one Challenger so-optioned for 1970.
That we all know. The auto used to be a murky presence on Woodward, with Qualls profitable unlawful boulevard races after which disappearing for weeks or months at a time. The all-black Challenger turned into referred to as the Black Ghost, and Qualls prudently stored a low-profile given his day process as a motorbike site visitors cop.
Because the ‘70s wore on, he began a circle of relatives, re-joined the Military and turned into a Inexperienced Beret, and the Black Ghost turned into a day-to-day driving force till in the end touchdown within the storage for years. After Qualls died in 2015, his son introduced the automobile again to operating situation. As its tale used to be absolutely advised, the Ancient Car Affiliation took observe, and the Black Ghost is considered one of simply 32 cars at the Nationwide Sign in. Remaining yr, it offered for greater than $1 million at public sale to a collector who plans to stay exhibiting it for a brand new era of fans to experience.
“There are such a lot of mythical muscle vehicles in Dodge emblem historical past, it used to be laborious to select the seven cars we needed to pay homage to with our Remaining Name lineup, however the Black Ghost used to be a very easy select,” stated Tim Kuniskis, Dodge emblem leader govt officer, within the automotive’s announcement.
I might agree. The 2023 Black Ghost I examined introduced a lot of its predecessor’s gravitas to endure. Stickering for a base worth of $99,315, it’s by no means the most affordable approach to get right into a Challenger, however with simply 300 made, it’s already a collector’s merchandise.
The ‘23 version is a Hellcat Redeye Widebody powered through the 6.2-liter Hemi V8 pumping out 807 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed automated transmission. I drove a pistol-grip Hellcat again in ‘14 on Woodward, and that is far more civilized. You can also’t get a Hellcat with a guide anymore. The Black Ghost rolls on 20-inch satin carbon wheels stopped through six-piston Brembo brakes. Old-fashioned touches like “Dodge” spelled out around the entrance and Challenger scripted at the fenders upload to the charisma. Quails’ gator-skin-styled roof is replicated in this particular version in vinyl.
The motor snarls beneath the lengthy hood, which airs out via nostril-like intakes, making the Mopar hood pins quake. Sinking into the Laguna leather-based seats, I’m comfy as a way of anticipation washes over.
To coalesce my ideas, I head to Woodward Road, the place the unique Black Ghost made its mark. Summoning its spirit, I release laborious from prevent lighting, goose the throttle each time conceivable and usually, experience myself. That’s obviously the purpose of a throwback muscle automotive just like the Black Ghost, in addition to the wider undertaking of the outgoing Challenger. As those Daytona SRT undercover agent pictures counsel, two-door mojo will proceed to reside at Dodge in some shape, and piloting the Black Ghost makes me imagine this isn’t in point of fact Remaining Name for a majority of these muscle vehicles. A Storm straight-six in a reborn two-door Charger? Sure, please.
The Black Ghost unleashes the Hellcat’s signature sound: livid, rumblin’ and growling with a resonance of bass. It’s a dinner party for the senses. Just like the Chrysler 300C Ultimate Version I drove previous this summer time, I may really feel a way of historical past within the Challenger Black Ghost. On this case, it’s a extra particular bankruptcy slightly than the 300C, which attempted to seize a two-decade run in one automotive.
Each are snapshots in a time when Chrysler Corp. attempted to connect to fans on a visceral stage via robust vehicles with dramatic styling. As I pulled the Black Ghost into my driveway to arrange for its departure, revving the engine gratuitously for the overall time, I felt nostalgic but rather hopeful. Chrysler’s present company entity, Stellantis, is aware of make emotional vehicles. The Black Ghost is an finishing, however I extremely doubt it’s Remaining Name for Mopar Muscle.