The 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T SE is one of the most iconic muscle cars ever made, and one particular model has become legendary in the world of street racing. Known as “The Black Ghost,” this car has a fascinating history that has captured the imagination of car enthusiasts and racing fans alike. In this article, we’ll explore the story of “The Black Ghost” and uncover the secrets behind its incredible performance.

The History of “The Black Ghost”

The Origins of the Hemi Challenger R/T SE

To understand the story of “The Black Ghost,” we first need to look at the history of the Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T SE. This model was introduced in 1970 as a high-performance version of the already-popular Challenger muscle car. It was powered by a 426-cubic inch Hemi V8 engine, which produced a staggering 425 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque. With its sleek design and powerful engine, the Hemi Challenger R/T SE quickly became a favorite among car enthusiasts and racers.

The Rise of “The Black Ghost”

It wasn’t long before a particular Hemi Challenger R/T SE started making waves in the world of street racing. This car, which was painted black and had no visible exterior markings, would prowl the streets of Detroit late at night, looking for challengers. It quickly gained a reputation as an unbeatable opponent, taking on all comers and winning race after race.

The Legacy of “The Black Ghost”

Over time, “The Black Ghost” became a legend in the world of street racing. People began to whisper about the mysterious black Challenger that could never be beaten. It was rumored that the car had been specially modified to increase its performance, but no one knew for sure. Despite its reputation, “The Black Ghost” remained a mystery, with no one knowing who owned the car or how it had been modified.

The Secrets of “The Black Ghost”

The Modifications

Despite the rumors and speculation, the truth about “The Black Ghost” remained elusive for many years. However, in recent times, some details have started to emerge about the car’s modifications. It’s been reported that the car was equipped with a special “Hurst Hemi Under Glass” hood, which allowed for improved airflow and increased performance. In addition, the engine was reportedly tuned to produce even more power than the already-impressive 425 horsepower.

The Owner

For many years, the identity of “The Black Ghost’s” owner remained a mystery. However, in recent times, it has been revealed that the car was owned by a man named Jim Thornton. Thornton was a car enthusiast and racer who had a passion for high-performance vehicles. He reportedly spent a considerable amount of time and money modifying “The Black Ghost” to make it one of the most potent street racers of its time.

The Legacy Continues

Today, “The Black Ghost” remains a beloved part of muscle car history. The car has been featured in numerous magazines, books, and documentaries, and its legend continues to inspire car enthusiasts around the world. Although the car itself is no longer on the streets, its legacy lives on in the hearts of those who remember its incredible performance and mysterious presence.


“The Black Ghost” is a true icon of the muscle car era, and its story has become a legend in the world of street racing. From its humble beginnings as a factory-built Hemi Challenger R/T SE to its status as an unbeatable street racer, “The Black Ghost” has captured the imagination of car enthusiasts for decades. Although the car is no longer on the streets, its legacy lives on, inspiring new generations of car enthusiasts to build and race high-performance vehicles.

Above Video: This full length documentary tells the story of The Black Ghost. It’s exceptionally well done and viewing is highly recommended. Plus it’s free.


  1. Was “The Black Ghost” really unbeatable? It’s difficult to say for sure, but “The Black Ghost” certainly had a reputation for being unbeatable. Its impressive performance and mysterious presence made it a formidable opponent on the streets of Detroit.
  2. What made “The Black Ghost” so special? “The Black Ghost” was equipped with a number of modifications that made it an incredibly powerful and fast street racer. These modifications included a special hood and engine tuning that allowed for improved performance.
  3. Who owned “The Black Ghost”? “The Black Ghost” was owned by a man named Jim Thornton, who was a car enthusiast and racer.
  4. Is “The Black Ghost” still around today? No, “The Black Ghost” is no longer on the streets. However, its legacy lives on in the hearts of car enthusiasts around the world.
  5. What other cars were popular in the muscle car era? Other popular muscle cars from the era include the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Plymouth Road Runner.

Images courtesy of Mecum and the Godfrey Qualls Estate