In the course of entertainment history, vehicles have held prominent roles in movies and television shows. Even casual fans can likely tell you an Aston Martin was the vehicle of choice for James Bond and that Tom Selleck drove a red Ferrari in his starring role in the TV series “Magnum, P.I.” The vehicle that transported Jed Clampett and his clan from the Missouri Ozarks to Beverly Hills (a 1921 Oldsmobile touring car converted to a truck by Hollywood customizer George Barris whose name appears later her) was more well-known that several minor characters on the CBS series.
With the possible exception of the red Ford Torino used for the TV series “Starsky and Hutch”, no television or movie vehicle has been recreated more than the General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger made famous by the CBS series, “The Dukes of Hazzard”. That car was as much a character in the show as any human and often saved the Duke boys from some calamity or another.
Over the course of the series, which was first filmed in Georgia and move to California to reduce production costs, it is reported that over 250 Dodge Chargers were used, Many were destroyed by the frequent jump scenes that saw the General fly across creeks and other obstacles with whatever useable parts remained scavenged to built more cars for the show. The car not only saw action in the seven seasons the TV show aired but two made-for-TV reunion movies and a feature film in 2005.
Purists note there were several inconsistencies with the General Lee cars used in the television shows. Some of the cars were floor-shift console cars with others shifting the automatic transmission on the steering column. Some of the cars had interiors dyed to match the tan used in the early cars and were not a good match. There were also a variety of engines found in the cars—most were big block 383 or 440 cubic inch but apparently there were a few small block 318 cubic inch cars utilized. There were even more inconsistencies noted between the series cars and those used in the 2005 feature film starring Johnny Knoxville, Sean William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds.
Car restorers both professional and amateur were quick to take up General Lee projects and recreations were seen at car shows and events all over the country. Unfortunately, there quickly became a situation where there were more cars that were claimed to have been on the show that were ever used. Numbers vary depending on the source but it appears that something less than 20 cars from the TV series were sold after production ceased on the show. The rest of the vehicles were damaged beyond reasonable repair in stunts and used for parts to create new Generals as needed.
While there were notable inconsistencies over the series and movies, the General Lee was always an orange Dodge Charger riding on turbine-style wheels popular in that time period. The most popular color was Hemi Orange, but records indicate there were other close colors used with some cars. The cars had the number “01” on the doors, the name “General Lee” on the roof above the doors and most of the remainder of the roof covered by the Confederate Naval Jack. (There has been some recent controversy about the use of Confederate symbols in our society and the General Lee has been a part of that as a few notable auto museums with such vehicles in their collection refused to bow to pressure to remove the flag from their vehicles.)
While there are those who make claims of authenticity that are not so, we want to state clearly that this is NOT a vehicle that ever appeared in any episode of the TV series or subsequent films. However, this car does appear to have a very special connection to the Dukes of Hazzard franchise and is a significantly rare vehicle.
At the height of the TV show’s popularity Warner Brothers commissioned a company, General Lee Enterprises, to build, maintain and transport a small fleet of General Lee clones to major auto shows, cast appearances and other events across the country. Beyond the basics, General Lee Enterprises did not show a great deal of concern for accuracy in their builds. The numeral placement on the doors was wrong and a few of the cars presented with black interiors as well as the push bar being incorrect. While the exact number of cars is not known and vehicle identification numbers of the General Lee Enterprises cars have not been located, the consensus opinion is that there were five or six cars built and shown by the company.
Based on provenance and memorabilia received when we acquired this car in September 2017, we believe this to be one of the General Lee Enterprise vehicles. There is a copy of a title showing prior ownership by General Lee Enterprises, photos of the car with John Schneider (Bo Duke) whose faded signature appears on the driver side sail panel and a display sign used at events indicating it to be a General Lee Enterprises car.
The fender tag is present on the car and the sequence number agrees with the VIN on the dash and the number on the title. The tag indicates the car was built in St. Louis as a yellow (paint code Y2) car with no vinyl top equipped with a 335 horsepower 383 cubic inch engine backed by a heavy-duty A727 TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission and a black interior. Additional options originally included power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, hood-mounted turn signal indicators, woodgrain console shift and woodgrain dash bezel. The car is now painted Hemi orange and has a tan interior. All other options with the exception of the hood-mounted turn signals remain, as does the original drivetrain.
The car has some defects consistent with being shown over the course of almost four decades. There are some paint chips in the stars on the car roof and in other areas. The roll bar padding is damaged in a few places and the interior has one button missing in the driver seat bottom. The odometer reads just over 30,000 miles but we cannot confirm that to be accurate. In accordance with regulations governing licensed automobile dealers in Missouri, this General Lee will be sold mileage exempt due to age. In addition to the faded signature of Schneider, the signature of famed car builder and customizer George Barris appears on the hood along with the hand-written “Hollywood Star Car Collection”.
Evergreen Digital Showroom offers this 1969 Dodge Charger General Lee replica for $64,900 USD. We will gladly assist the new owner with transportation arrangements at buyer’s expense or work with any shipping company of buyer’s choice. Financing may be available to those with approved credit. Additional information can be found under the “Financing” tab on our website, www.evergreendigitalshowroom.com. For additional information in this vehicle or to make an offer on this car, please contact sales manager Steve Russell at 417-532-8000.
The cars offered for sale by Evergreen Digital Showroom have been on static display for a long period of time, in some cases for decades. We make every attempt to describe these vehicles as accurately as possible and disclose any known flaws or defects to the prospective buyer. In the event a personal inspection of these vehicles is not possible, we recommend using the services of a qualified inspector to assess the vehicle prior to making a purchase. All vehicles are sold as-is, where-is with no warrant expressed or implied.