Dodge Charger General Lee
They were just good ol’ boys, never meaning no harm, but for seven years, the Duke boys of Hazzard County made a weekly jump into the living rooms of millions of television viewers as they piloted a seemingly indestructible Dodge Charger affectionately called the General Lee.
During the run of this highly successful television series, it is estimated that as many as 320 (perhaps even more) 1968 to 1970 Chargers were catapulted across rivers, over police cars, through construction sites or anywhere else one could imagine a car flying in the air, only to succumb to the rather hard landings. One rumor was that towards the end of production, the supply of fresh General Lees had dried out and people who owned even the most derelict examples were able to raise the asking price, as the production company was desperately in need of cars.
There were survivors, however – the lucky few cars saved from the rigors of being chased by the dimwitted Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, who himself was being egged on by the greedy commissioner of Hazzard County, Boss Hogg. This General Lee is believed to be one of those original cars that was associated with the original television show.
“Dukes” fans will recall the original General Lee was of the 1969 vintage, as evidenced by the proper grille and taillights. Unlike the ’68 and ’70 cars that were modified, this particular Charger is a true 1969 example, as verified by its chassis number, and is finished in the traditional bright orange with a hand-painted rendition of the rebel flag on the roof and the instantly recognizable “01” numbers on the doors.
Under the hood is a vintage 383 big-block V8, which is the same type of engine this car left the factory with. It has been fitted with the proper after-market alloy wheels that were used during the filming as well as the custom push-bar to protect the grille. It is also equipped with five air-horns that play the whimsical opening bars from "Dixie" – another trademark highpoint of nearly every episode. The interior is finished in saddle tan vinyl just as it was when the Dukes were behind the wheel. In fact, the car even retains its correct push-button AM radio and the interior is generally quite stock in appearance, save for the roll bar of course.
Although no concrete evidence is currently available to confirm this car’s use in the television series, its authenticity is supported by the signatures of actor John Schneider (Bo Duke) and custom car builder for the stars, George Barris, whose company helped prepare many of the original “Generals” for the television show.
With the recent renewed interest for the Dukes of Hazzard in a feature length film, re-releases of the original shows on DVD and reunions across America to celebrate the original cast members of one of America’s best loved television shows, this car is sure to be in high demand and attract tremendous attention. All that’s required is to heed Schneider’s advice, written on the hood: “keep it ‘tween the ditches and shiny side up.”
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in September 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Est. 335 hp, 383 cu. in. V8 engine, three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel power assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 117"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel