It’s a purpose-built stunt car designed to be wrecked and rebuilt on the cheap.

Body-on-frame cars have plenty of disadvantages, but there’s a distinct advantage. The big frame underneath means you can pretty much cut everything else away to make something crazy, like say, a General Lee Dodge Charger from a freaking Ford Crown Victoria. That’s exactly what James Smith did to make a General Lee stunt car for a live Dukes of Hazzard show in Virginia.

Wait, what?

Yep, this orange 1969 Dodge Charger is actually a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria wearing a Charger suit. If that’s not enough irony for you, the Vic is a retired police cruiser, so yeah, Bo and Luke Duke – at least for this particular stunt show – were fighting the cops with their own cop car. With that in mind, the million-dollar question you’re probably asking is, why go through so much trouble to make a clone instead of using a real Charger?

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For starters, vintage Dodge Chargers don’t exactly grow on trees. Cars from 1968 to 1970 have all served as the General Lee, but with these rides approaching 50 years old, there simply aren’t that many left to wreck. There’s also the fact that these cars are arguably the most sought after machines of the original muscle car era, which makes the survivors extremely valuable. Even the sketchy parts cars are expensive, and then there are the scores of enthusiasts who get rather angry over people intentionally wrecking the cars they love. In short, a new solution was needed.

General Lee Crown Victoria
General Lee Crown Victoria

Fortunately, the same popularity that makes the Charger so valuable also means there are companies that produce aftermarket Charger body panels. Smith found the wheelbase on the Crown Victoria was very close to that of the Charger, so he hacked away the Ford’s skin and replaced it with Charger panels. It certainly wasn’t a bolt-on process, and the original dash seems to take up half the windshield. But with some fabrication and a few spare parts from his own collection, he created a convincing clone that used almost zero original Charger parts.

And when (yes when) it gets wrecked, it won’t be such a tearful occasion to see another Charger sacrificed in the name of entertainment.

Source: Autoedit via YouTube

Gallery: Ford Crown Victoria General Lee Dodge Charger