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Friday, August 28, 2009

Dukes of Hazzard General Lee Charger

By Luc Gagné

Fans of the American TV series Dukes of Hazzard now have a chance to buy their own Charger General Lee. On September 26, the mythical muscle car shown on these photos will auction by RM Auctions at a one-day event, billed as Icons of Speed & Style, at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. 

One of… 320! 

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. After all, to be sure they would stay horizontal as long as possible while in the air, the producers used lead or sand bags in the trunk as ballast!

This particular General Lee is believed to be one of the cars associated with the original television show. Although no concrete evidence is currently available to confirm its use in one episode, its authenticity is supported by signatures on the hood of the car 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 show. A “real” General! “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 for shooting, 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 6.3-litre big-block V8 (383 cid), which is the same type of engine this car left the factory with. The car 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... when the Dukes chose to push Rosco’s police cruiser or Boss Hogg’s white Caddy. This General is also equipped with five air-horns that play the whimsical opening bars from “Dixie”, the song of the South, another trademark highpoint of nearly every episode—remember the heroes were Georgia Red Necks! 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.

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. A TV show that lasts The CBS television network originally aired the 145 episodes of Dukes of Hazzard from 1979 to 1985. The TV series was inspired by the 1975 film “Moonrunners” starring James Mitchum, the oldest son of actor Robert Mitchum. But the film never gained the popularity of the television show. So much so that nearly 25 years after the last episode was shot, the Dukes still appear every week on TV screens somewhere on the globe. This is why RM Auctions experts estimate this General Lee could fetch between $40,000 and $60,000 US. For more information about this car or the Peterson Automotive Museum auction, visit

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