What goes up without a landing ramp must get mangled on impact.
The king of custom car shows took place last weekend in Detroit. We’re speaking of course about Autorama, and to kick it all off, another orange Dodge Charger took to the skies for a brief moment of glory before the reality of life hit home hard. Real hard.
You might think we’re talking about the fender-crumpling, frame-twisting, chiropractor-calling impact this familiar-looking 1969 Dodge Charger took last Friday outside Detroit's Cobo Hall. The stunt was a callback to the glorious 1980s, and the airborne antics of cousins Bo and Luke Duke during the seven-season run of The Dukes of Hazzard. Of course, in the show the General Lee always lands with nary a scuff to the bumper guard. Spoiler alert in case you haven’t watched the video yet: television is not like real life.
The physical impact wasn’t the only hard-hitting taste of reality here. Back in the early 1980s you could buy a halfway decent Charger for $500 and a pack of smokes. These days it’s not uncommon to see restored classic Chargers sell for six figures, with junk cars still bringing around $4,000. And when we say junk, we're talking ratty shells with sketchy frames and engine parts stashed in the trunk.
In this instance, the jump was performed by a company in Ohio appropriately called Northeast Ohio Dukes. As the name might suggest, they specialize in stunts like this and apparently the car launched outside Cobo Hall already had a foot in the grave. Still, with these cars approaching 50 years old, a steel-buckling landing isn’t the only source of pain in this video. Would a landing ramp be too much to ask for? At least then the television show could be faithfully recreated with the General Lee driving into the sunset, even if it is a patched-together bondo-mobile with nice paint.
Then again, this is Detroit. Had the General survived the landing, the next pothole would’ve dealt a death blow.