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Hagerty Employee

Black Ghost: The mysterious 1970 Challenger that dominated Detroit street racing | Hagerty Media

No one knew when the Black Ghost might appear, but they certainly knew where. It was the early 1970s, the height of the muscle car era, and if you had a hot car and something to prove, Woodward Avenue and the more secluded back streets of Detroit were the best places to do it.
Intermediate Driver

Damn I needn't tear up this early in the morning. Great article.
New Driver

I wonder if the Black Ghost ever met up with the other legend of Woodward Ave, namely Jimmy Addison’s Silver Bullet Plymouth?
That car still survives too.

I was thinking the same thing.
My neighbor is Jimmy's daughter, and she has some wonderful stories about here dad and that car. She has many pictures of her in her "little girl dresses" with her dad and the Silver Bullet when they would go out and cruise together too.
Since the Silver Bullet was pretty well modified (ran mid-10's in the 1/4), I'm betting it would have taken a "stock" Hemi Challenger without too much difficulty. But, it still would have been a fun one to watch.
I'll ask her if she recalls hearing anything like this, but she was pretty young then, I doubt she'll have any recollection about the Black Ghost....

Rest in peace, GQ.

"The pony cars are cruisin' on Woodward Avenue,
Go and try to pass'em, they'll smoke you if you do"

Bob Seger, Horizontal Bop.

What a great story! Badass was a term invented for this car and the guy who owned it.

Great story... Being a native Detroiter "gear head" who grew up at the tail-end of the legendary muscle-car kingdom known as Woodward Avenue in the late 60's/early 70's I can really relate to this one. God Bless GQ and his family. Keep that car EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS and KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY!
Back in my "hot rod" days (Black Ghost era +10 years), Woodward Ave, was too heavily watched by the po-po, so we used to Cruise Telegraph road (usually between West Chicago & Ford Rd) and Gratiot Ave too.
Back in my days (especially in the downtown Detroit/Gratiot cruising area) there was a '63 Belvedere with a highly modified (nitrous?) 426 Wedge motor in it that ruled the street racing scene. For such an ugly car, that thing flew! All the badging/trim was removed from the car and the custom art-work on the back edge of the trunk identified the car as "Rat Poison". Does anyone remember that car? I did a quick search of the net and couldn't find anything on it... All I remember was that thing was pretty much unbeatable...

I didn't think I had 40 minutes to watch that...but I was wrong again. Fingerhut seatcover anyone?
Pit Crew

What a Wonderful story (reading while listening to Charlie Brown Christmas) these kind of story's are the best. Getting a glimpse into the Live's of really wonderful people, let alone a great car story of a Legend of the Motor City.
Mr. Qualls and The Black Ghost sound like 2 of a kind, Strong, Respected, and BAD ASS. We need more of them today. A big THANK YOU to his son Gregory, for bringing the Black Ghost out of it's slumber and sharing the story. Truly a piece of Detroit History, and a great way to keep his fathers legacy ALIVE .............
Pit Crew

This story has been circulating the various meeia feeds for the last several weeks. Its a touching tale and well worth reading. I grew up five miles from where this car and its owner lived. I was very much active in street racing during this time period. Although Gratiot was my preferred area i did spend many nights on Woodward and telegraph as well. Ive been to jimmy addisons gas station on Woodward and have personally seen the silver bullet but I’ll be darned if i ever heard of this car. Thats not to say it didn’t exist but I never cam across it live or in conversation. Considering how close i lived to this fellow, that’s really strange. Again, im not invalidating the story.
Advanced Driver

The first article I read here about the Black Ghost was a good one, but the additional personal photos and details in this one really brought the story home to me! And, what's really funny is, I have the exact same seat covers in my '74, 69k mile Challenger! The driver's seat is uncovered (just like the Ghost's) because it wore out some time ago, LOL!! 🙂
Advanced Driver

Thank you so much for this article. You got a tear out of this old Mopar guy!
Intermediate Driver

Same here
Advanced Driver

Hats off! Keeping in the family!
Pit Crew

What a cool story. One of the best I’ve read all year.
Advanced Driver


A truly touching story and great video. So nice to see the car preserved and kept in the Qualls family to create more memories.
Intermediate Driver

What a great story. I'm the same age, 2000 miles away, similar road experiences. But we knew Woodward Ave. and Detroit were where the true street races were.
New Driver

This is the reason I joined this forum ............. terrific, positive story to help offset all the atrocious realities that occurred in 2020. Want to say this would be great subject topic for a motion picture. Perhaps Spike Lee or Steve McQueen ( the Black director of “12 Years A Slave” ) would thrill at bringing the Quals’ story to life ? Not a “Follower” of director celebrities, but a veteran of the 82nd Airborne (1972-75) and a MOPAR fan going back to the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner and beyond. But this is not about my history......... looking for advice on how to spark the right movie person to at least think about it.
New Driver

I may know that 'right' person whom I met last fall when I bought a large quantity of '41 Plymouth parts from him.
He lives in Michigan and has written, filmed, acted and directed a fair number of films,
and as you might suspect, he is also a MoPar guy.
I'll drop the suggestion to him.
New Driver

Thanks for any action you may take to see this dream come true. It’s really hard to get important subjects to the screen....... more likely to happen after the subject has become a successful book. Still, the times are perfect ....... I feel it in my arthritic bones! 


Great article. Cool car, cooler guy.
New Driver

Keeping this car in its original owner's family preserves everything about this car to its highest degree.
Being a hemi crazed boy since I first learned of the 426 hemi, I needed more than to just own one, but to delve into its insides and know them inside out. Build them, test them, improve them, and enjoy them for as long as I'm allowed to.
Gregory, pass this passion onto your children and grandchildren! Your dad's a hero in the car world for his life's decisions. No amount of money can replace his adventure he started by ordering this car. Stick by his last wish when you brought him that envelope...
Pit Crew

It does not get much better than this!!
New Driver

Great history, awesome story!
New Driver

This is a remarkable survivor with a significant Woodward Avenue reputation.
While I never saw it (only heard of it) during my cruising days, I had the delightful opportunity to get an up-close look at it last summer as it sat on the rotisserie in the HVA photography studio.
What MoPar fan wouldn't want to own this example?
Regrettably, personal photos were prohibited.
New Driver

In '73 in Asbury Park, NJ...when Springsteen was still a virtual unknown outside the little local joints, there was a black '70 Cuda stalking the streets. On the tail, I remember it saying:
"...and on the 7th day, GOD created the Hemi" My '69 Cyclone with a 390 was certainly no match, as was pretty much no one else.
New Driver

Great article. It just reinforces my perception that, back in that day, if you checked the right boxes for your MOPAR, nothing else could compete with it.
New Driver

Nice story. Enjoyed it. As other mentioned here The Silver Bullet and other cars were out on Woodward, Gratiot, Telegraph and elsewhere before this 70 Challenger was born. Royal Pontiac cars, guys I worked with at Oakwood Blvd. A street-hemi Challenger could out run a lot of cars, but nowhere near what fastest guys were running. Legit 10 sec cars or faster by '70 and '71. Again, fantastic wonderful story of a first class Detroiter and his family. Adds to the historical society for sure. But the legend of "dominating" is getting legs it may not have had back then.

Intermediate Driver

Truly, a great story! Godfrey was a living legend back in the day! His legend lives on with the survival of his car!! Keep that jewel in the family, and share that legend of Godfrey and his car out on Woodward Avenue for years to come!! God Bless your soul Godfrey!!
New Driver

I love the article but I can't help but wonder how a '70 Hemi Challenger was such a street terror or is it more urban legend looking through rosy glasses 50 years later. Compared to the '66-'67 fire-breathing Hemis that were barely streetable, the '70 Hemi was a de-tuned version with a hydraulic lifter cam and lower compression. It was offered to meet homologation rules in NASCAR. And let's not forget it's weight penalty of an extra 100lbs up front. If you truly wanted to rule the streets with a Mopar back in 1970, the 440 was the better choice.
New Driver

I'm hoping that Dodge has included the Black Ghost into their final 2023 tribute series. Knowing that GQ was a police officer, what if the white stripe was blue? Now THAT would be a tribute!