It was 1979, and I (Lyndon) was 14 years old living in Alberta. I had just acquired my learners drivers licence and enjoyed watching TV shows such as Chips, Starsky and Hutch, and the Six Million Dollar Man. I remember first seeing the commercials for The Dukes of Hazard. Of course I was mesmorized by the bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger with the confederate flag painted on the roof, the numbers 01 painted on the doors, and the horn that played Dixie. Oh the police chases, stunts, and especially the long jumps. The car had the doors welded shut leaving Bo and Luke Duke to climb in and out of the car through the windows, and of course what young boy wasn’t blown away by those Daisy Dukes. Of course the car was named “The General Lee”. The show soon became a big hit. I even heard it was so popular in the southern states they had to re-schedule Friday night high school football games because many people were staying home to watch the show.
The estimated number of chargers used while filming the series varies. It ranges from 255 to 325. Rumor has it around 17 original cars still exist in varying states of condition. Typically one General Lee was destroyed per show. When preparing to film a jump, 500 to 1000 pounds of ballast was placed in the trunk to prevent the car from nosing over. As the series went on, they also raised the nose of the car to prevent it from scraping the take off ramps and losing speed. It was rumored that the stunt drivers loved the flights, but hated the landings. 1968 and 1969 model year Chargers were used. Typically the Chargers were 383 V-8 powered. When they started filming the first season, 2 directors of the show were driving down the road and heard a car drive by with the Dixie horn. They instantly knew they had to have it for the show. They chased the car down and keep offering the guy more money till he got out of the car and ripped it out for them. The word is they bought it for $300.
Even years later the General Lee still resonates with many people. Hundreds of replica’s are out there. In 2014 the General Lee was featured in a commercial for Auto Trader along with Dukes of Hazzard stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat.
Which brings us to Michael. Even though he wasn’t around when the show first came out, he still discovered the General Lee, and managed to acquire one.
How I got my General Lee
Hi my name is Michael and I own a replica General Lee. It all started when I got to take a ride in my neighbors 1946 Ford pick up truck. When I went for the ride something just clicked and I said to myself one day I would like to have a nice car in some point of my life. When I was in grade 9 my older stepsister showed me the 2005 movie of the Dukes of Hazard. I didn't care about the actors, but when I saw that car I said I'm going to have that car one day. I started looking around to how much they were going for and I had no luck finding one. When I thought it was time my stepmother and I put an ad up saying looking for a 1969 Dodge charger and I was in grade 10 at this point. I had some guys email me about 68 chargers 69 charger Daytona and regular 69 chargers that were not general Lee, but I kept on looking until one day on August 9, 2016 A guy emailed me saying that he had two General Lee’s sitting in his yard. One was for sale, the other one was not. He gave me the low down what was going on with the general lee that was for sale. He told me it needed some work and he sounded like he wanted this car out of his yard like now. So I phoned my mom and told her the whole story about this car. I gave her the guys email and she started chatting back-and-forth. Little did I know that mom had bought the car and I didn't tell me. She wanted to do a big surprise. She told the owner to keep me going thinking that the car was still for sale. Until one day she sent me a text saying that they needed help unloading some metal at her boyfriends house, and I said OK what time. She said 10:30pm, so I said OK. She picked me up and we drove to her boyfriends place. An hour and a half went by and then all of a sudden she said, it's here, so we walked out the door with her boyfriend and I saw the truck and I'm looking at it and I could see something but I just couldn't make it out. What it was in the back? All I could see was a radio antenna but I never clued in it was a car, and not even 30 seconds later the truck is up in the yard and there's a car sitting on the flat deck. I was in shock!!! I literally slapped myself twice and I was saying “it is not a dream”. I was so excited that I had my very first car and it was my dream car. We had it unloaded and it's now around almost midnight, and I was so tempted to fire up the car. So I got the go ahead from my mother and the battery was dead, wouldn't start. But I was happy to have it, so the next day I went back to my moms to go start the car and drive it. When I got myself behind that wheel of the car I was smiling ear to ear. So I just want to thank my mom and the previous owner Jason for making this dream of mine come to reality. I'm enjoying the car every day and every summer and every summer it's better than it was last year. So that's my story. It is a blast to drive and for future general Lee owners out there, it's well worth it