Television has given us a plethora of unforgettable automobiles that have etched their place in pop culture history. Among these, the Dodge Chargers used in the TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” stand out as some of the most iconic and recognizable vehicles in television history.
Here are 6 Facts about The General Lee
The General Lee, as the car was named in the show, became a symbol of rebelliousness, adventure, and family values. This article delves into the history, significance, and lasting legacy of the Dodge Chargers featured in “Dukes of Hazzard.”
1. The General Lee was created for a TV Show
“Dukes of Hazzard,” a popular American television series that aired from 1979 to 1985, was centered around the adventures of the Duke family in Hazzard County, Georgia. The show’s defining element was undoubtedly the General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger that played a central role in nearly every episode.
The creation of the General Lee was a result of careful consideration and a desire to make a car that would be as memorable as the characters themselves. The Charger was chosen for its sleek, powerful appearance and its association with the muscle car era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The car was painted bright orange with the Confederate flag emblazoned on its roof, a design that would become both iconic and controversial.
2. The Bright Paint Became One of Its Trademarks
The General Lee’s design was an integral part of its appeal. The bright orange paint job, known as Hemi Orange, was a color that radiated energy and excitement, perfectly complementing the show’s high-octane action and chase sequences. The roof of the car bore a large Confederate flag, known as the “Southern Cross.” This emblematic image stirred debates about its historical implications and symbolism, leading to ongoing discussions even years after the show ended.
3. One Feature of the Car Was Dedicated to Burt Reynolds
One of the most distinctive features of the General Lee was the number “01” painted on the doors and roof. This number wasn’t chosen arbitrarily; it was a tribute to Burt Reynolds’ character, Bo “Bandit” Darville, from the film “Smokey and the Bandit.” The “01” was symbolic of the Duke boys’ rebelliousness and their resistance against authority.
4. Of the 300 Cars They used during filming, most had V8 Engines
While the General Lee’s appearance was attention-grabbing, its performance was equally impressive. The Chargers used in the show were outfitted with powerful V8 engines, which was in line with the Charger’s reputation as a muscle car. This enabled the General Lee to perform daring stunts, incredible jumps, and high-speed chases that became the show’s trademark.
Despite the on-screen mayhem, the crew took great care to ensure the safety of both the actors and the vehicles. Stunt drivers and mechanics worked together to modify the Chargers for the demanding tasks they had to undertake. Reinforced suspension, roll cages, and specialized engines were just some of the modifications made to enable the Chargers to handle the rough treatment they received.
5. About 3 Chargers Were Destroyed For Each Episode.
One of the most memorable aspects of “Dukes of Hazzard” was the spectacular jumps performed by the General Lee. These jumps were often the highlight of the show, leaving audiences in awe of the car’s daring feats. The Chargers would soar through the air, often covering incredible distances and landing with a resounding crash.
The jumps were achieved through meticulous planning and precise calculations. Special ramps were constructed, and stunt drivers honed their skills to ensure that the Chargers would land safely. These jumps became such an integral part of the show that they contributed significantly to its popularity.
6. For The TV show, Many scenes were Filmed in Santa Clarita, California
Since I lived there from 1975 to 1992, I had many chances to rid my BMX bike to the set which was just three miles from my house. Watching so many automotive TV shows and movies being filmed in my area, I fell in with love cars.
The General Lee and “Dukes of Hazzard” left an indelible mark on popular culture. The car became a symbol of American rebellion and adventure, embodying the spirit of the Duke boys’ escapades. The show’s catchy theme song, “Good Ol’ Boys,” further ingrained itself in the minds of viewers, becoming synonymous with the General Lee and the world of Hazzard County. Everything was coll about this car, right down to the wheels.
However, the use of the Confederate flag on the General Lee’s roof has been a topic of ongoing debate. While some view it as a representation of Southern heritage, others see it as a symbol of racism and oppression. In recent years, amidst a broader cultural reassessment of such symbols, there have been discussions about whether the flag’s presence on the car is appropriate. As a result, reruns of “Dukes of Hazzard” have been edited to remove the flag, highlighting the complex relationship between nostalgia and societal values.
One of the Most Popular Cars From Film and TV
Despite the controversies, the legacy of the General Lee and the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show endures. The Charger itself has become a sought-after collector’s item, with enthusiasts and fans of the show clamoring to own a piece of television history. Restored General Lees continue to make appearances at car shows, conventions, and events, allowing new generations to experience the thrill of seeing this iconic vehicle up close.
The show’s influence can also be seen in various forms of media and entertainment. References to the General Lee and the Duke boys appear in movies, TV shows, and even video games, serving as a testament to their enduring impact on popular culture.