You Ol’ Ghost: 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost Pays Homage

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
you ol ghost 2023 dodge challenger black ghost pays homage

The sixth of seven Last Call editions crafted by the speed freaks at Dodge has been unveiled, showing up for duty as one which makes reference to a muscle car that haunted Woodward Avenue in the 1970s. And, yes, it even has a vinyl roof – kind of.


Witness the 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost, a special edition offering a modern take on the original car that prowled Detroit nearly 50 years ago. That machine was a black 1970 Dodge Challenger RT SE owned by Godfrey Qualls and earned a legendary reputation for flexing its 426 HEMI-powered muscle on Woodward and then driving off mysteriously into the night, often not to be seen again for months. This, naturally, lead to the “Black Ghost” nickname. Not simply a local legend, Qualls’ vehicle earned a spot on the National Historic Vehicle Register two years ago and remains in the Qualls family to this day.

For ’23, Dodge has built this tribute using a Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody as its base, bumping the output to 807 horsepower and adding some styling addenda calling back to the original car. A unique roof graphic is meant to evoke the old-school ‘gator skin’ vinyl roof which was part and parcel of that ’70 model, along with white graphics on the rear fenders and bright D O D G E billboard lettering on its nose. This author is not sure how he feels about the latter, despite generally liking the detail (see: the old Ford Flex), though that could be down to nearly 15 years of seeing this fascia without such adornment. 

Other garnishes on this special edition include the typical tat of special badges inside and out, a smattering of Alcantara around the interior, and hood pins that sprout from the bonnet like dandelions. Keeping with the Black Ghost theme, its Brembo-branded brake calipers are dipped in ink and the 20-inch satin carbon warp speed wheels would be impossible to find in a darkened room.


Like the other Last Call cars, the Black Ghost homage is limited to 300 copies and will have its allocation listed on the Dodge website. One more Last Call is slated for the SEMA Show in November; we’re hoping someone stuffed a Hellephant crate engine into the LX chassis.

[Images: Dodge]

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  • Fred Private equity is only concerned with making money. Not in content. The only way to deal with it, is to choose your sites wisely. Even that doesn't work out. Just look at AM/FM radio for a failing business model that is dominated by a few large corporations.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Lots of dynamics here:[list][*]people are creatures of habit, they will stick with one or two web sites, one or two magazines, etc; and will only look at something different if recommended by others[/*][*]Generation Y & Z is not "car crazy" like Baby Boomers. We saw a car as freedom and still do. Today, most youth text or face call, and are focused on their cell phone. Some don't even leave the house with virtual learning[/*][*]New car/truck introductions are passé; COVID knocked a hole in car shows; spectacular vehicle introductions are history.[/*][*]I was in the market for a replacement vehicle, but got scared off by the current used and new prices. I'll wait another 12 to 18 months. By that time, the car I was interested in will be obsolete or no longer available. Therefore, no reason to research till the market calms down. [/*][*]the number of auto related web sites has ballooned in the last 10 to 15 years. However, there are a diminishing number of taps on their servers as the Baby Boomers and Gen X fall off the radar scope. [/*][/list]Based on the above, the whole auto publishing industry (magazine, web sites, catalogs, brochures, etc) is taking a hit. The loss of editors and writers is apparent in all of publishing. This is structural, no way around it.
  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.
  • Dukeisduke I subscribed to both Road & Track and Car and Driver for over 25 years, but it's been close to 20 years since I dropped both. I tried their digital versions with their reader software (can't remember the name now), but it wasn't the same. I let it lapse after a year.From what I've seen of R&T's print version, it's turned into more of a lifestyle thing like The Robb Report. I haven't seen an issue of C/D in a while.I enjoyed both magazines a lot when I was subscribing. R&T for the road tests (especially the April Fools road tests), used car reviews, historical articles, and columns like Peter Egan's Side Glances and Dennis Simanitis's Technical Correspondence. And C/D for the road tests and pithy commentary, and columns like Gordon Baxter's, and Jean Shepherd's (that goes way back to the early '70s).
  • Steve Biro It takes very clever or amusing content for me to sit through a video vehicle review. And most do not include that.Tim, you wrote :"Niche titles aren't dying because of a lack of interest from enthusiasts, but because of broader changes in the economics of media, at least in this author's opinion."You're right about the broader changes in economics. But the truth is that there IS a lack of interest from enthusiasts. Part of it is demographics. Young people coming up are generally not car and truck fans. That doesn't mean there are no young enthusiasts but the numbers are much smaller. And even those who consider themselves enthusiasts seem to have mixed feelings. Just take a look at Jalopnik.And then we come to the real problem: The vast majority of new vehicles coming out today are not interesting to enthusiasts, are not fun to drive and/or are just not affordable.You can argue that EVs are technically interesting and should create enthusiasm. But the truth is they are not fun to drive, don't work well enough yet for most people and are very expensive.EVs on the race track? Have you ever been to a Formula E race? Please.And even if we set EVs aside, the electronic nannies that are being forced on us pretty much preclude a satisfying driving experience in any brand-new vehicle, regardless of propulsion system. Sure, many consumers who view cars as transportation appliances may welcome this technology. But they are not enthusiasts. I don't know about you, but I and most car fans I know don't want smart phones on wheels.There is simply not that much of interest to write about. Car and Driver and Road & Track are dipping deeper into nostalgia and their archives as a result. R&T is big on sponsoring road trips for enthusiasts - which is a great idea. But only people with money to burn need apply.And then there is the problem of quality in automotive writing. As more experienced people are let go and more money is cut from publications, the quality and length of pieces keeps going down, leading to the inevitable self-fulfilling prophecy.Even the output on this site is sharply reduced from its peak. And the number of responses to posts seems a small fraction of what it used to be. This is my first comment since the site was recently relaunched. I don't expect to be making many in the future.Frankly Tim - and it gives me no pleasure to write this - but your post makes me feel as though the people running this site have run out of ideas and TTAC's days may be numbered.Cutbacks in automotive journalism are upsetting. But, until there is something exciting and fun to write about, they are going to continue. Perhaps automotive enthusiasm really was a 20th century phenomenon..
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