The Legendary Black Ghost Goes Through Delicate Process

Ryan Snyder, a successful real estate attorney from Florida, acquired the legendary “Black Ghost,” a 1970 Dodge HEMI® Challenger R/T SE, which was a renowned Detroit street racer owned by Godfrey Qualls, a decorated Vietnam veteran and motorcycle cop. The car was so significant that Dodge produced a limited run of commemorative Challengers in its honor. Despite being a rare and valuable piece of automotive history, the Black Ghost required attention due to long-term storage and deferred maintenance issues.

Instead of opting for a complete restoration, which could erase its unique history and value, Snyder enlisted the help of Mopar® restoration expert Frank Badalson, who specializes in conservation rather than restoration. Badalson’s approach focuses on preserving the car’s originality while addressing mechanical and cosmetic issues.

The restoration process included removing dings and dents without repainting the car, rebuilding the HEMI engine to stock specifications, addressing non-factory modifications, and replacing rusted sections of the floorpan with discrete patch panels. The goal was to maintain the car’s external patina while ensuring it runs and looks as close to its original state as possible.

Consultation with Gregory Qualls, Godfrey’s son, helped ensure that the preservation efforts honored the car’s legacy. The result is a balanced approach that respects the Black Ghost’s history while ensuring it remains drivable and visually authentic.

Photo credit: Frank Badelson | Johnny Hunkins

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1 Comment


:saluting_face: to Ryan Snyder!