The saber-toothed tiger went extinct round 8000 B.C. as, partly, the final of its ice-age prey died off. Now, 10,000 years later, Hellcats are as soon as once more on their method out, this time because of people—particularly, the people who got here up with electrical powertrains that make supercharged V-8s appear like glorified Briggs & Strattons. The Hellcat successors shall be electrical, however for now, you may nonetheless purchase a Challenger full of 807 of probably the most thundering troglodyte horsepower ever extracted from lit petroleum. Behold the 2023 Challenger Black Ghost, the penultimate particular version in Dodge’s Final Name collection.
To not be confused with the Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge, the Black Ghost is like an amped-up Challenger Redeye that pays tribute to one of many authentic 426-powered badasses, a 1970 Hemi Challenger RT/SE that dominated the Detroit street-racing scene again within the day. The Black Ghost, because it was referred to as, had a definite gator-grain vinyl roof and a white stripe on the tail, and earned its nickname as a result of its proprietor, Godfrey Qualls, wasn’t susceptible to stay round to talk after a race—comprehensible, since Qualls was a metropolis cop. Qualls died in 2015 and left the automotive to his son, who just lately bought it on the 2023 Mecum Indy public sale for a tidy $1,072,500. Whereas there’s just one authentic 1970 Black Ghost, Dodge is constructing 300 of the 2023 tributes, and for the cut price worth of $103,010, together with the $2100 gas-guzzler tax.
The Black Ghost is the sixth of seven Final Name automobiles—the ultimate one is the Challenger SRT Demon 170—and it is one thing greater than a tape-and-stripe bundle on a Challenger Redeye. Not way more, granted, however when your particular version relies on a automotive that already has 797 horsepower, the place are you gonna go? Up the tachometer, it appears, because the Black Ghost wrings an additional 10 horsepower out of its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 courtesy of the revised powertrain calibration from the Challenger Tremendous Inventory. Peak energy arrives on the 6400-rpm gas cutoff, 100 extra revs than the much less highly effective variant. It will definitely turn out to be useful in these conditions the place 797 horsepower simply is not sufficient.
Moreover that, the Black Ghost is basically a Challenger SRT Redeye Widebody that is virtually discovered the definition of the phrase “delicate.” As an example, there are not any ruby-eyed Hellcat badges, with the grille, flanks, and rear spoiler sporting easy throwback Challenger script. The paint is Pitch Black aside from the white decklid stripe, and black gator-pattern roof vinyl evokes Qualls’s authentic. Chrome hood pins present reassurance that the twin-scoop hood will not fly up in your face as you are wrapping up a 128-mph quarter-mile cross.
That is the lure pace we noticed in a 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, en path to an 11.6-second quarter-mile, and we might guess the Black Ghost shall be very comparable. That is as a result of it, like all Hellcat Challengers, is finally traction-limited. Throw some drag radials on it and head to a prepped floor and it might absolutely break into the 10s (we have seen Redeyes on inventory tires clock very low 11s on the strip), however in follow, the Black Ghost is a burnout machine. The Redeye hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, however that is with numerous self-discipline on the launch. Indiscriminately mash the throttle and you will make leisurely ahead progress whereas the 305/35R-20 Pirelli P Zero All Season tires remodel themselves from rubber into warmth, noise, and smoke. That additionally applies even when the Ghost is already rolling at back-road speeds—this is likely one of the few automobiles the place you would possibly pull out for a cross on a 55-mph street and pause to suppose, “Higher be certain it is connected earlier than I am going broad open right here.” It is telling that the Redeye’s 50-to-70-mph top-gear acceleration time, 2.2 seconds, is sort of equivalent to its 2.1-second 30-to-50-mph time. At 30 mph in a Hellcat Challenger, you are positively nonetheless minding the tires.
The Challenger’s entire schtick is that it is a muscle-bound goon constructed to go quick in a straight line and annoy the next-door neighbors with the BMW, however 807 horsepower calls for some commensurate competence in dealing with and braking. And whereas the Black Ghost is not precisely agile, neither is it a one-trick machine just like the muscle automobiles of yore. That chassis-clone Challenger SRT Redeye Widebody outfitted with Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer time rubber clung to the skidpad at 0.98 g and leaned on its six-piston Brembo entrance brakes to cease from 70 mph in simply 153 toes—or about the identical as a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51. The Challenger hams it up at each flip—try the Energy Chiller mode that makes use of the air-conditioning system to chill the engine consumption as an alternative of the cabin—however it’s critical about extra than simply horsepower and quarter-mile occasions.
Throughout these transits between stoplight drags, the Black Ghost prompts probably the most unsettling model of nostalgia—not for 1970, however for the current. It is like how mother and father can get nostalgic for moments with their youngsters at the same time as they’re taking place, as a result of time strikes relentlessly ahead and people moments trickle into the previous. With automobiles, it is uncommon to wander onto that prepare of thought as a result of the subsequent factor is usually imagined to be acquainted, however just a bit bit higher. The Final Name Dodges, although, are one thing completely different.
Regardless of the outrageous efficiency and goofy methods provided by the upcoming electrical Banshee fashions (and super-loud “exhaust” noise is undoubtedly hilarious), the Black Ghost represents the top of an period. Not only for the Challengers or Hellcats, however a complete expertise, of rumbling exhaust and whining superchargers and feeling the rear finish squirm sideways because the transmission bangs into the subsequent gear. We’re accustomed to deliberate obsolescence, however not the unplanned variety that abruptly makes 807 horsepower appear outdated. The 2023 Challenger Black Ghost has much more in widespread with its 53-year-old namesake than it’ll with its 2024 successor, and whether or not that makes you are feeling unhappy or optimistic, it is taking place. Sorry, people. You do not have to go residence, however you may’t keep right here.
2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost
Automobile Kind: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door coupe
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port gas injection
Displacement: 376 in3, 6166 cm3
Energy: 807 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 707 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Wheelbase: 116.2 in
Size: 197.5 in
Width: 78.3 in
Top: 57.5 in
Passenger Quantity. F/R: 56/38 ft3
Trunk Quantity: 16 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 4500 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.7 sec
100 mph: 7.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.5 sec
High Velocity: 200 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 15/13/21 mpg
Ezra Dyer is a Automobile and Driver senior editor and columnist. He is now primarily based in North Carolina however nonetheless remembers flip proper. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and as soon as drove 206 mph. These info are mutually unique.