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Legendary Street Racer: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE Hemi

As family heirlooms go, they don’t come much better than this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE. Its specifications and optional equipment make it a genuine 1-of-1 classic, while its early life included a stint humbling lesser mortals in the Detroit street racing scene. The R/T’s performance is understandable, considering its original owner selected a firebreathing Hemi under the hood with the optional Super Track Pac to cement its credentials. It went from father to son in 2016 following the original owner’s death, but the time is right for it to pass into the new hands of a passionate enthusiast. It is listed here at Mecum Auctions in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is set to go under the hammer on Friday, May 19th. The sellers consider it a Main Attraction, and it is easy to see why. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder PRA4SNW for spotting this amazing classic.

Knowing where to start with this Challenger is hard because it has led quite a life. Its original owner was a combat-honored Army paratrooper and young Detroit police officer. He wanted something unique, ordering the car as 1-of-23 Challenger R/T SEs equipped with the legendary Hemi and a four-speed manual transmission. However, the Gator Grain top helps this car to stand apart because it is the only known Hemi Challenger produced with this feature, paint shade, and stripes. Its panels wear their original Code X9 Black paint with White stripes. The car is original and unmolested, having never undergone any form of restoration. The panels are straight, and the vehicle is rust-free, but the paint carries years of minor chips and scratches. It still shines impressively, leaving the winning bidder with a tough decision to make. A cosmetic restoration would be straightforward, and returning it to a showroom state would be easy. However, is there more value in this car as an unmolested survivor? That is a tough call, but I would opt for preservation if I had the money to park this R/T in my garage. The overall appearance is menacing, and as we delve further into its mechanical specifications, you will soon learn why it was dubbed “The Black Ghost.”

The original owner didn’t target pure pose value when ordering this triple-black Challenger. He pushed the boat out by specifying the magnificent 426ci Hemi V8. By spending an additional $235.65 on the Super Track Pac option, the car received the A833 four-speed manual transmission and 4.10 Sure Grip Dana 60 rear end. Was it fast? A ¼-mile ET of 13.1 seconds guaranteed it would leave the opposition shaking in their boots during various points in this classic’s past. As a law enforcement official, the original owner couldn’t be actively seen as part of Detroit’s street racing scene during this era, but this car competed. It would appear anonymously, blitz all comers, and disappear into the night. This earned it the handle of “The Black Ghost,” with the trend continuing until the original owner parked it in 1976 with 45,000 miles on the clock. It remained hidden until his passing in 2016, when his son inherited and unveiled it to the waiting classic scene. It has won numerous awards and honors since reappearing, and the only changes it has received are an OE-style exhaust and radiator. The documentation the winning bidder receives is extensive, including the Owner’s Manual, Warranty Book, original Window Sticker, two Broadcast Sheets, and the Vehicle Traveler Sheet.

Helping this Challenger stand apart from other R/Ts is the original owner’s decision to order it as an SE. That brought many interior luxury appointments, including lashings of faux woodgrain, an overhead console, a rimblow wheel, Rally gauges with a factory tachometer, an AM/FM stereo radio with rear speakers, and a center console with the wonderful Hurst Pistol Grip shifter. One interesting change the original owner made was to delete the leather seat upholstery, trimming them in Black and Gray vinyl and cloth. The overall condition is excellent for an unrestored classic of this vintage. There may be some repairable seam separations on the driver’s seat, but the rest of the interior appears virtually perfect. I am sure an in-person inspection will unearth some faults, but I doubt they will negatively impact the car’s ultimate value.

Rarely do classic muscle cars appear from obscurity that tick as many boxes as those ticked by this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE. Its mechanical configuration with the Hemi under the hood and the Super Track Pac option makes it one of the most potent cars to grace our streets during that era. The combination of options and the documentation confirm it is a genuine 1-of-1 survivor, while its street racing history provides a colorful backstory. It isn’t perfect, but it is a genuine and unmolested survivor that will appeal to purists. This is a rare moment when I am unwilling to stick out my neck and estimate the final sale price. That is partly because the Challenger market has recently been volatile, but the rarity of this classic will be the determining factor. I may be unwilling to guess, and this gem is well beyond my financial means, but that isn’t going to prevent me from being an interested spectator for this auction. Who is going to join me?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Neat car. One of those “looks fast sitting still” cars.

    Like 17
  2. Jim Sartor

    Sales price probably a 1, followed by (guess how many) zeroes. We’ll soon see.

    Like 6
  3. Greg B Greg B Member

    With all the hype the Black Ghost Hemi Challenger has received it will be a strong number when sold. Dodge even announced they are releasing a black ghost Hemi in its honor for a new edition that only a few will be issued. The background story is pretty cool but I’m sure there are many others out there with similar stories yet found. Just can’t see a million dollars plus however. It will most likely go to a wealthy collector for big bucks.

    Like 7
  4. BlondeUXB Member

    Looks like it sports the ultra-rare “towing package”…

    Like 5
  5. markp

    Overpriced or not, it has an awesome nasty badass look to it that a trailer queen couldn’t ever pull off.

    Like 16
  6. Big C

    The son must not be into automobiles, or had a bad relationship with his dad. If I had a car like this, handed down to me? With all the history of my father attached to it? It would remain in my family at least till there was no one left that remembered it.

    Like 48
    • Harry

      Simple, money can buy even the fondest of memories.

      Like 13
    • John Oliveri

      Got a million reasons why

      Like 5
    • Matt

      1000% agree. Rumor was he almost turned down taking delivery of the car after he returned from Vietnam because he didn’t originally order it with the Gator-skin roof and didn’t much care for it.

      Like 5
    • Allan S Member

      Or maybe just needs the money. His dad left him a nice little nest egg by keeping and preserving that car. 75k can buy him a pretty sweet muscle car, with $900k leftover spending money.

      Like 7
  7. C Force

    Probably the only other famous challenger like this was the white 1970 440 4 speed challenger featured in the original 1971 version of the vanishing point,with Barry Newman.Who knows where the bidding will go with this car,well into the 7 figure range probably with a 1 in front of it.

    Like 4
    • MoparMike

      Sadly the VP Challengers were destroyed by Chrysler corporation after being returned from filming the movie. Would have been iconic cars.

      Like 4
    • bigbird

      Yep, Nick of, Nicks Garage Utube, built a drop dead Challenger white, because he wanted one just like Barry Newman’s. Fun to watch him drive it when he finished it, he didn’t go easy on it…..

      Like 5
    • AnnasBigBananas

      Remember its an unmodified factory street hemi. At best it could get the low 14s! Stock headers and battery still up front?! Basic commonsense dictates this was NO street terror in the 70s …or any other time.
      Btw the kid is a filmmaker!

      Like 8
      • Jim


        Like 0
  8. Greg B Greg B Member

    I think the son and his family could use the money more than the car.

    Like 33
    • Dick Pelota

      Actually I think it’s better the other way around… The car would be better off with a real caretaker

      Like 0
  9. Joe Machado

    Sold, $975,000

    Like 9
    • George Mattar

      I saw this car at MCACN. It is full of patina. Yes, the son will get a big pay day. Unfortunately, since muscle cars have become Picassos, it will never be shifted at redline again. Into a collection to sit. Dumb. Life is too short to look at a car from the past.

      Like 0
    • Jay E. Member

      Capital gains taxes are going to HURT!!!!!

      Like 10
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      The Sold number I saw was $1,072,500.
      That must be after all of the tacked-on fees.

      Like 1
  10. KPaul

    People questioning how could the son sell his dad’s car, that their relationship “must have been terrible”: If I knew my son (and his family) would be taken care of BECAUSE of the sale of the car (in this case, a shade under a million dollars) I’d have no problem. But I digress…from what I’ve seen in the documentary about the car (free to view on YouTube btw) and several interviews that Gregory Qualls has given, I’m sure Godfrey (the father) would be more than pleased than what it sold for. And for the record, they did have a great relationship.

    Like 25
    • Big C

      If the dad told his son to sell it? And, if you weren’t a car guy? Sure. Take the cash. I’m sure there were some family members that could use the money. There always are.

      Like 6
  11. Patrick

    $975,000 the final bid. The vehicle is very cool, it’s silver bullet cool or Big Willy LA Street Racers cool.

    Like 8
  12. Marc Struglia

    Went for close to a Million. The movie will come out later this year. Uncle Tony on You Tube has his opinion: Biggest HOAX in collector car history!

    Like 6
  13. Jagger

    Here is the Hagerty documentary on this car

    Like 0
  14. Mike

    If the father said “don’t sell my car”, then the car should have been part of the apparently substantial estate. If the car had to be sold, that’s a pretty good indication that son had squandered everything else! a seat in hell was just set up for you, “son”. You’re right, he’s gonna rear what he sowed.

    Like 4
  15. Kanak Attack!

    $2.5 million? lol 😂 maybe more just because lol 🍻🍻🍻😳🫣🤙🙏🏦🏦🏦🔥🔥🔥

    Like 1
  16. ACZ

    This one is a living legend,

    Like 3
  17. TinCanSailor

    I was able to attend the hangar party to kick off the Amelia Concours event in 2022. I drove down with a group as part of an “Amelia Island or Bust” road trip. When I pulled up to the entrance of the event, I was in line right behind a black Challenger with the gator vinyl roof and thought, what are the odds? I got out and saw the African flag decal on the side, and confirmed it was the Black Ghost. I met the owner (the son) and had a chance to talk to him for a few minutes and got video of him driving it in.

    I’m sorry that the son decided to sell it, and I imagine it wasn’t an easy decision. But I can imagine the storage cost, insurance, and transportation costs were quite high.

    Like 8
  18. Matthew

    Rumor was, the father almost didn’t accept delivery of the car when he returned from Vietnam it had the “Gator” pattern vinyl roof which he didn’t order and didn’t care for it all that much

    Like 2
  19. Robert Liivoja

    I think that people have the right to keep or sell a car without everyone trying to make that decision for them.

    I would like to know what the buyer was thinking as they put out the kind of money that they did!
    I can think of so many other ways to spend this amount of $.

    As for the car itself……awesome.

    Like 5
  20. Richard Martin Member

    If Jay Leno bought it then who cares!

    Like 2
  21. Bj

    Lots of emotional comments on a car that had nothing to do with the commenters. The guy inherited a car, and did what was best for his family. Good for you! Stop whining about something that doesn’t concern you.

    Like 10
  22. JCH841

    It stated he was a paratrooper. Many a young man did their Viet Nam tour, banking all their pay and came home to buy seriously hot cars for cash.

    Like 9
  23. Allen

    Dear Gary–do ya think that he may have had the car before he had the family and do ya think he parked the car so he could take care of the family? I know that’s what I did.

    Like 9
  24. Cattoo Cattoo Member

    That’s a nice price for the car. After cash strapped Uncle Sam takes his cut the seller might have $400k left over. Better than nothing but (any) seller should keep all the proceeds.

    Like 0
  25. John Jasper

    sold for $1,072,500

    Like 1
  26. AnnasBigBananas

    Please try to remember… this is at best a rare hemi but non-the-less, at best a 14 second “stock” street hemi! During the day it was supposedly infamous there were actual 10 second “street” racers on the streets of Detroit!
    If the original owner was still alive he’d kick his son’s ass up and down Woodward Ave.
    BTW, his son, who started this crap, is a “Filmmaker”!!!

    Like 3
  27. Rob

    Legendary it is not. It’s a great story but it’s a bone stock Hemi. Nothing legendary about it. How has anyone else not called this car out

    Like 3
    • DonC

      It’s just a Hemi, yes, but there aren’t too many number matching unmolested hemi Challengers around and married to every performance option they offered plus a very unique paint and top. I’m not sure it’s worth a million, but most pristine 1970s are pulling $150,000 and up. So apparently there were enough buyers (and they aren’t stupid) to drive the auction up. Hey! I’ve watched many a Mecum and shook my head ruefully at prices paid. But this is a unique Challenger.

      Like 1
  28. ACZ

    If it isn’t worth a million now, it will be shortly the way this market is escalating.

    Like 0
  29. Jim


    Like 0
  30. Allen

    The car may not be a legendary down south, back east or out west but in the Detroit area it is a legend. Not just for the car but the story behind it. I’m from southern Michigan and ran Woodward Ave. in the 60’s. and there are several legends in the area. The big 3 engineers played there.

    Like 2
    • Terry

      I met Tom Hoover back in the 80’s when I had my souped up 68 Charger R/T. 12.5 cr,.628 lift cam, dual Holleys, B&M trans and converter. It was very quick for the time, I only lost one race. He was on vacation and stopped at the gas station I worked at in a RV. He showed me a pic of his Cuda, which looked familiar with the flames. I started it up and he was checking it out and I think he wanted to go for a ride but his wife popped out of the RV laughing and said they had to go. We had talked for 30-40 minutes and it seemed like 5 minutes. He was talking about the cars in his area and I was telling him bout ours. He gave me his card and said if I ever needed anything to call him. When I looked at it it I almost crapped my pants, I had no idea who he was, just a fellow gearhead. I was tripping over myself and we were just laughing about it. He was truly a gentleman to talk to a 18 year old kid like I was one of his buddies.

      Like 3

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