General Lee -
Racing the backroads of Hazzard County is the
General Lee, the mechanical star of the rural adventure THE
DUKES OF HAZZARD/CBS/1979-85. The General Lee was a 1969 Dodge
Charger (some 1970s used) with a 440 cubic inch Magnum V8
engine. Painted a bright racing hemi-orange (a.k.a. "Hugger
Orange"), the General Lee displayed the racing numbers "01" on
its side door, (ZERO because they started out with nothing;
and ONE because they were going all the way!) and a replica of
the Civil War rebel flag on its roof. Its specialized car horn
tooted the 12 notes from the song "Dixie."
Originally, the General Lee, was a black, dented hulk sitting
in Capitol City junkyard until Luke and Bo Duke (Tom Wopat/John
Schneider) rescued it, installed a new engine (with the help
of Cooter, the local mechanic), welded the doors shut for
safety (like the NASCAR racers), and entered the Hazzard
County Road Race Championship sponsored by the fat, little
Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke). The General Lee won the race and a
purse of $10,000. Uncle Jesse Duke (Denver Pyle), the family
patriarch had christened the automobile the "General Lee"
before the race. The license plate number is CNH320.
According to one report, the choice of which muscle car to use
on the series was decided by the producers Picard and Wilson
when they saw the transportation Captain pull up in a '69
Charger. Other sources report that specific model was used
because it represents "NASCAR racing heritage" in the South.
The death-defying jumps so common to the series, required
500/1000 pounds of ballast to balance the car, otherwise it
would have turned end-over-end in the air. The shock of one
jump could ruin the structural integrity of the car. However,
since there were 85,000 Chargers manufactured in 1969, the
series prop department never worried about running out of cars
to demolish. Fans of the show who requested photographs of
General Lee were sent eight-by-ten glossies of the General
autographed with tire-treads.
The General Lee resurfaced on the TV movie The Dukes of Hazzard:
Reunion that aired on Friday April 25, 1997 on the
CBS network. The reunion's storyline had Cooter (Ben Jones),
now an ex-Congressman and Luke and Bo now NASCAR racers
helping Uncle Jesse battle a local real estate developer who
wanted to create a theme park at the expense of destroying
local Hazzard Swamp. The episode also acknowledged the death
of actor Sorrell Booke who played Boss Hogg on the original
series. During the run of the first series, 150 cars were used
and abused for 145 episodes. (only three used on the reunion
In preparation for the reunion movie, the back lots of Warner
Brothers Studios were searched for the remnants of the General
Lee vehicle used on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD TV series. The car
(found abandoned with pigeon droppings all over its body) was
towed "as is" to the shooting set and debuted in all its
non-maintained glory sitting in an old barn until Bo and Luke
got busy and restored it to its former sparkling beauty.
In the summer of 2005, the Hazzard County boys returned in the
action adventure The Dukes of Hazzard: The Movie starring Seann William Scott as Bo Duke; Johnny Knoxville as Luke Duke;
Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke; Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg; M.C.
Gainey as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane; Lynda Carter as Pauline;
Alice Greczyn as Lori and Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse.
The backwoods chase scenes on the original series were shot 20
miles northwest of Los Angeles in the Lake Sherwood area on
the Walt Disney Ranch. The first five episodes were filmed in
and around Covington, Georgia.
The highest car jump appeared on episode No. 85 (nitrous oxide
in the fuel boosted its flight); and the longest jump appeared
in episode No. 129.
The rebel flag on the roof of the General Lee measures 54
inches across; the numbers 01 on the side door measures
20-inches high, 12-inches wide and four-inches thick. The
four-inch high lettering "General Lee" that ran along the flat
upper-part of the diprail was made of vinyl.
The unique "Dixie" horn sound used on the General Lee was
first heard in the 1975 Burt Reynolds film W.W. and the Dixie
On episode No. 5 "High Octane," Uncle Jesse revealed, he drove
a car named "Sweet Tilly" during his moonshiner days (later
called "Black Tilly" in episode No. 15 "Days of Shine and
On episode No. 19 "The Ghost of General Lee," The General Lee
was driven into a lake with the Duke boys inside (actually two
crooks who stole the car). The Duke boys used their alleged
demise to their advantage and drove the General Lee about town
(they hid in the car) and haunted Boss Hog.
On episode No. 95 a couple of payroll robbers heisted the
General Lee and painted it black.
On episode No. 129 "Happy Birthday, General Lee" featured the
origin story of the General Lee.
Cousin Daisy drove a yellow 1972 Road Runner (license FCH 630)
last seen in episode No. 27 "The Runaway" (but later seen in
episode No. 31 "Find Loretta Lynn"). Daisy's replacement car
was a sassy white Jeep (her CB Handle is "Bo Beep" but she
used "Country Cousin" on occasion).
Boss Hogg's car was called the Gray Ghost (first appeared on
episode No. 15.).
In 1969, Dodge Chargers won 22 of the 54 major NASCAR races.
John Schneider who played Bo Duke on the series owns the very
last General Lee used on the show. He keeps the car at his
suburban home outside of Los Angeles. See also "Daisy
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