The General Lee is a modified Dodge Charger driven by the Duke cousins Bo and Luke in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. The car is popularly known for the chases, stunts, and high jumps, and for having the doors welded shut, leaving the Dukes to climb in and out through the windows.
The car’s name is a reference to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, symbolizing the Southern United States, or the former Confederacy, bearing a Confederate naval jack on its roof, and a horn which plays the melody from the first line of the song “Dixie”.
The idea for the General Lee was developed from the famous bootlegger Jerry Rushing’s car, which was named for Lee’s favorite horse, Traveller.
Although the estimated number of General Lees used in the series varies from different sources, according to Ben Jones (“Cooter” in the show), as well as builders involved with the show, 256 General Lees were used to film the series. Others claim about 321 were used in the series. Approximately seventeen General Lees still exist in various states of repair.
On average, more than one General Lee was used up per show. When filming a jump, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 pounds of sand bags or concrete ballast was placed in the trunk to prevent the car from nosing over. Later in the series the mechanics would raise the front end of the car to keep it from scraping against the ramp causing it to lose speed, thereby providing a cushion for the driver upon landing. Stunt drivers report enjoying the flights but hating the landings.