Special Edition. This label often has to do a lot of lifting, but may not always get the resources for it. Let’s take Dodge’s 2023 Challenger Black Ghost, for instance. How do you feel about the official release? Well, an Instagram artist, who happens to own a “standard edition” Gen 3 Challenger, came up with an interpretation that brings the special closer to the original Black Ghost that swooped the Detroit street racing scene off its wheels back in the early 1970s.
So far, we’ve met six of the seven Last Call editions that mark the end of the line for Gen III HEMI V8-powered Dodge muscle cars—the all-electric Dodge Charger is going into production next year, remember?
The seventh model, set for a March 20 reveal, should be in a totally different league compared to any factory Challenger we’ve seen so far, at least if the endless teasers released to date have taught us anything. In fact, why don’t you check out the latest official video of the sort below? If you feel this talks about 25.38 psi of boost from the supercharger, which would support Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis’ claim that engines were blown during testing, you’re not alone.
By contrast, the Last Call models we’ve met so far mostly rely on exterior and interior customization, plus the smallest of tech tweaks. Chief among these is the Challenger Black Ghost, which uses the Hellcat Redeye Widebody as a base. With an extra 10 hp on tap (think: 807 hp in total), this sports a Pitch Black exterior with a gator skin-like vinyl roof pattern and small custom details inside—there’s an official image in the gallery below.
The community has shown this yet-unpriced limited edition—only 300 will be made—plenty of respect. Why? Well, we can use all the Mopar releases available now that the Challenger ICE age seems to be ending. More importantly, the classic example referenced here is the very definition of Mopar cool, at least at street level.
The story of the Black Ghost can be traced back to a 1970 Challenger R/T SE owned by a certain Godfrey Qualls. The man, a Detroit motorcycle police officer, infamously attended traffic light drag races on Woodward Avenue, as well as drag strip showdowns. He grabbed the big Ws and vanished into the night, leaving only a 426 HEMI aroma behind.
Back in 2020, Qualls’ son, Gregory, induced the OG Black Ghost into the National Historic Vehicle Register. It’s also worth noting that, after his father gave him the car when passing away back in 2015, the man brought the vehicle back to roadworthy condition, but the car remains unrestored. Oh, and the 1970 Black Ghost Challenger is going under the hammer at Mecum’s Indy 2023 event (May 12-20). Word around the internet is that the machine could break into the seven-figure territory, so you’d better be prepared—you can check out two photos in the gallery below.
2023 Black Ghost Challenger retromod rendering
Meanwhile, back in the side of the world where we mortals can only reach “regular” Gen 3 Challengers, digital artist Oscar Vargas (aka wb.artist20) has created a deeper fusion between the contemporary model and the legendary 1970 street racer that influenced it.
In his renderings, Vargas went as far as adding chrome bumpers to his 2023 Black Ghost Challengers at both ends! And, even in the ever-growing world of real retromod builds (have you seen the 2071 Cuda?), this kind of feature is unheard of. Somehow, though, this artist manages to pull it off, at least on the visual level we can perceive here.
Elsewhere, the Mopar gets steelies with chrome hubcaps, extra chrome trim for the body, plus white tail graphics and retro-styled exhaust tips. Based on an R/T Scat Pack—after all, the pixel master does drive a 392-powered Challenger—the digital creation breaks away from the original by featuring a sunroof.
Frankly, all we can hope for is seeing people getting inspired by this rendering and doing more of those retromod projects in the real world.