Dodge Charger General Lee 1969

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According to Ben Jones (“Cooter” in the show), as well as builders involved with the show, 309 General Lees were used to film the series. Approximately twenty-three still exist in various states of repair. Among survivors is the very first General Lee, known as Lee1. This car is seen in the debut episode and jumping a police cruiser at the end of the opening credits of every episode with John Schneider and Tom Wopat. On average, more than one General Lee was used up per show. When filming a jump, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 pounds of lead 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, doing this also provided a cushion for the driver upon landing. Stunt drivers report enjoying the flights but hating the landings. Despite the ballast, the landing attitude of the car was somewhat unpredictable, resulting in moderate to extremely violent forces, depending on how it landed. (On a DVD player, using slower settings will reveal that on many of the jumps the cars literally bent upon impact.) All cars used in large jumps were immediately retired due to structural damage. From 1979 to 1985, Chargers of 1968 and 1969 vintage were sourced and converted to General Lee specifications. Despite popular belief, and according to all builders involved over the years, as well as the VIN list supplied to Wayne Wooten of all Chargers used on the show, no 1970 models were ever used.[citation needed] Obtaining cars was not an issue until later years. By that time, the car was the star of the show and Warner Bros. moved building of the cars in-house to keep the cars consistent in appearance. Late in the show’s run, when it got too hard and/or expensive to continue procuring more Chargers, the producers started using jump footage from previous episodes (something that had been done occasionally previously, but not to such an extent). Click here to read more.. »

Scribbled on December 27th 2007 in Dodge, Dodge Charger
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