The Dukes of Hazzard features arguably the most iconic car in all of classic TV, the orange Dodge Charger dubbed “The General Lee”. The Duke Boys’ chariot seems downright humble compared to showy cars like the Batmobile and the Munster’s Koach. However, the orange beauty did have a high-octane engine, welded-shut doors, and a signature horn. Here are some fun facts about the iconic car that even hardcore Hazzard fans might not know.
The General Lee is Inspired by a Real Life Bootlegging Car
As Top Speed pointed out, Jerry Rushing, a bootlegger, owned a customized Chrysler 300D named “Traveler,” in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s horse. His story inspired the 1975 film Moonrunners, later adapted into The Dukes of Hazzard. The car The General Lee pays homage to both Robert E. Lee and bootlegger-turned-race car driver, Jerry Rushing.
A Pro Golfer Owns the Most Famous General Lee
The opening credits of the Dukes of Hazzard end with an iconic moment: the General Lee jumping over Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. This jump, measuring 16 feet high and 82 feet long, was performed by LEE 1, the original General Lee.
In 2012, pro golfer Bubba Watson bought this historic car for $121,000 at an auction. However, in the mid-2010s, public backlash arose due to the Confederate flag displayed on the General Lee’s roof. This reportedly led to Watson commissioning the car to have an American flag placed on the roof.
The General Lee Wound Up In Other Hollywood Productions
After The Dukes of Hazzard was canceled in 1985, some original General Lees were repainted and featured in other TV shows and movies. The Kibbie and Friends Show podcast recently tracked down some of these iconic General Lee cars, discovering their appearances in The Scarecrow and Mrs. King and the Mel Gibson film Forever Young.
The General Lee Got a Lot of Fan Mail
The Dukes of Hazzard made series leads John Schneider and Tom Wopat household names. However, their trusty car received a lot of attention as well. During the peak of its popularity, the show garnered an impressive amount of fan mail for Warner Bros. Studios. In fact, they received approximately 35,000 pieces every month, all addressed directly to the General Lee.
The Crazy Car Stunts on ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ Took Their Toll
Almost every episode of the show featured the cool TV car performing a cliffhanger stunt, usually a near-impossible jump. During its 7-season run, The Dukes of Hazzard aired a total of 147 episodes. Reportedly, as many as three hundred of the iconic 1969 Dodge Chargers were demolished for stunts on the series.
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