Official Dukes of Hazzard Dodge Charger set to go under the hammer
'69 Charger didn't star in 1980s TV show but that won't stop it commanding big money at an upcoming US auction. - By John Mahoney
A version of this article was first published on YesAuto UK.
One of the 12 1969 Dodge Chargers officially created to promote the Dukes Of Hazzard TV show will be auctioned off on 3-4 September with all proceeds going to charity.
Sadly, for fans of the action-comedy TV series, the Charger set to go under the hammer never appeared on screen. Instead, the Dodge was officially licensed by Warner Brothers to help the studio to promote the TV series, attending live events and starring in photographs around the US and Canada.
That explains why this particular Charger, that still sports the highly controversial Confederate flag, is signed by the Dukes of Hazzard cast, both on the dash and on the boot lid.
Presented in a well-worn, but well-preserved original condition, the 1969 Dodge has spent the last two decades in a museum.
Painted in bright Hemi orange and featuring the same 10-spoke turbine wheels, the official Charger even gets the screen car's Dixie horn.
Detracting from its value, the Dodge misses out on the General Lee's 375bhp 440cu (7.2-litre) V8 and has to make do with the less powerful 330bhp 383 V8 (6.3-litre).
Other features that might see Luke and Bo Duke's ride going for less money is its being a four-speed auto, rather than the manual that featured on TV.
Fans might also baulk that the promo car gets opening doors, instead of the real General Lee's NASCAR-style welded-shut doors.
That said, the highly original car does come with desirable power steering and power brakes.
Originally, more than 300 Dodge Chargers appeared in the TV series that aired from 1979 to 1985, but the near uncountable jumps and stunts took their toll and, when filming finally wrapped, just 17 General Lees survived, in various states of disrepair.
Such was the huge death toll for Chargers over the 147 episodes filmed, producers were forced to leave notes on the windscreens of 1969 Chargers in shopping mall car parks asking if the owners wanted to sell them.
It got so bad, at one point stunt men had to drive disguised AMC Ambassadors painted in orange as substitutes and just when it couldn't get any worse – they completely ran out of cars and were forced to use scale models for the most extreme jumps.
It's no wonder why so many cars were destroyed. In the famous leap scene used in the credits, the Charger jumps almost 25 metres up to near 5 metres off the road. To ensure it landed as gracefully as possible, the stunt team filled the General Lee's boot with sacks of cement, to try and offset the weight of its huge V8.
Offered for auction with no reserves, it's thought the promotional Dodge will sell for a six-figure sum, but that's a small price to pay considering the $10 million (£7.3m) paid for John Schneider's personal General Lee back in 2007. Adding value, was Schneider was the actor who played Bo Duke, by sheer coincidence owned his '69 Charger before he won the part in the TV series and used his own personal car during filming multiple times.
According to Worldwide Auctioneers who is hosting the sale in Auburn, Indiana, in the US on Sept 3-4 says all the proceeds from the sale will go to a charity that funds the education for those in need.