Under The Hood

Call the cops, Cletus! The world has gone mad!

Every once in a while, the old car hobby surfaces in the mainstream media. It’s unfortunate when the news centers on the value of our cars, because there’s much more to this hobby than dollar values of our cars.

The most recent incident revolves around a 1969 Dodge Charger owned by John Schneider, who co-starred in the TV series “Dukes of Hazzard” alongside Catherine Bach, Tom Wopat and an orange 1969 Dodge Charger named “The General Lee.”

Following the end of the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show, Schneider had an orange 1969 Charger built to look like the General Lee that he drove in the show. That Charger, which was created in the image of the TV General Lees well after the show ceased production, is said to have recently sold for $9.9 million, though that bidder hasn’t surfaced to comment and legitimize the sale.

Now, like many elementary age children in the early 1980s, I sat in front of the television to watch the Hazzard County antics of the General and the Duke boys. Even after several swigs of Alabama moonshine, there’s no way anyone call sell me on the idea that a recreation of a TV show car is worth almost $10 million, even if it was built for one of the people who helped make it famous.

Of the 200-plus General Lees built for stunt scenes and for pretty scenes in the TV show, around 20 are said to survive. All of those cars have camera time during the magical period in which the TV show was filmed. This most recent car does not.

So, why would anyone pay such serious money for a clone? You got me. And I think even Cletus would agree. During and after the TV show, every town sprouted at least one General Lee look-a-like, and as far as I am concerned, Schneider’s car was just another one of those look-a-likes, but with a celebrity twist.

Not surprisingly, more General Lees have hit Internet auctions following the sale of Schneider’s car. What’s troubling, however, is that a 1969 Dodge Charger said to be one of the 200-plus cars used in the filming of the show was placed on the same internet auction site. The listing for that Charger said the seller could document the car as belonging to the Warner Brothers studio, yet it didn’t draw one bid with its opening price of $150,000.

Not surprisingly, other Chargers with “Dukes of Hazzard” TV and movie provenance have popped up on the same internet site, and it will only be a matter of time before the market is flooded with Dukes Chargers. Maybe we’ll even see Boss Hogg’s Cadillac show up.

What do you think? Is one of Boss Hogg’s business partners up to no good? Is the sale as legitimate as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane’s affection for his dog Flash? Is Schneider’s Charger worth as much as all of Hazzard County? Let me know what you think.

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