Success Story: Former General Lee Rescued!

A few years ago, we wrote about a genuine General Lee Dodge Charger listed on eBay. You can see the original story here. Fast forward to a few days ago and a reader contacted me to send over some pictures of how the car looks now – and what a transformation it is. The reader, whose name is Mike, has a great story to tell about how he and his dad went in 50/50 to buy the Charger a week before he deployed to basic training in the U.S. Army. Since then, they have brought this significant car back from the brink and made some great memories along the way. Thanks, Mike, for reaching out, and congratulations on saving such a significant car.

As you can see, Mike and his dad have made some incredible progress on the Charger. He says the car basically had to be rebuilt from the frame up, noting that the rear of the Charger was heavily damaged, fueling speculation that it was an original jump car. That, plus multiple camera mounts out back seemingly confirm the suspicion that this was a high-flying TV car used in some of the iconic jump scenes. The Charger is certainly worthy of the effort, however, and Mike notes that the bodywork took five years alone. A high-performance 440 was custom built by a local racing legend by the name of Joe Lemley, and the transmission is ready to go as well.

Perhaps some of the bigger highlights of the project have included meeting the original cast and crew of the show. Mike (on the right) is shown here with one of the most recognizable members of the original show, Ms. Daisy Duke herself. Mike had the chance to meet most of the crew at the Dukes of Hazard Fest in Virginia, with some awesome pictures to remember the event by. He even got all the surviving cast members to autograph the glovebox door of the Charger, which will surely be a cherry on top of the proverbial sundae when the Charger’s restoration is complete. On a side note, it’s great to see the cast acknowledging what a hold the Dodge Charger still has on pop culture when it’s wearing the iconic numbers and paint job.

The Charger should be on the road by the end of the year or early next, if Mike is able to keep up with the punchlist while fulfilling his Army career in addition to life’s other responsibilities. When I talked to him last, he was hoping to take some time off to install the wiring harness and brake lines, and drop in the engine and transmission. When we feature cars on this site, we very rarely get to see what happens to them after they are sold. For a car as special as a genuine General Lee, it’s great to see the end result and that this icon of both the muscle car era and one of the most loved televisions shows ever produced will soon be riding proud again. Thanks again for reaching out, Mike, and let us know when she’s on the road.

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Comments

  1. MattR Member

    It looks like Mike is the right man for the job. It looks fantastic. Great story.

    Daisy still has it going on. That’s good to see too.

    Like 32
  2. Steven

    Great Post. I’m anxious to see what the end result looks like!

    Like 10
  3. Courtney

    Outstanding job. Thank you Mike for your service to our country & this General Lee.

    Like 3
  4. Classic Steel

    I remember going to a Carl Casper auto show when the show was in its hay day and seeing Daisy in her Dukes and a long line dads with kids under ten to obtain a glossy 8×10 with her in those short cut Daisies signed. I am sure the kids never saw it again 😂

    Its good to see the project nearing completion 👍✅

    Like 21
  5. R Soul

    I hope they painted the Confederate flag on the roof.

    Like 211
    • Ken Jennings

      I hope they don’t because if they do, someone will harm it. That flag was innocent enough in the 1970s, at least as far as its intent on that show was, but today it means something else. Leave the flag to museums and move one.

      Like 12
      • fran

        No way. Certain people want our history gone. BAD! The meaning never changed, one side changed!

        Like 22
      • Dave Mazz

        I hope they don’t replace the Confederate battle flag with the Norwegian national flag. That might get some more flag-clueless people upset!!

        Like 7
      • triumph1954

        Ken Jennings. Well said. What you wrote is perfect for todays U.S.A.

        Like 2
      • triumph1954

        I do not agree with taking flag off. It is part of our history. Only for owners and cars safety

        Like 6
    • Keith D.

      I’m sure you do.

      Like 2
    • P T Cheshire

      And have the “Dixie” horns! It’s the cars history, we should live with it, not erase it..

      Like 18
    • Kim

      The flag is there but blurred out to protect the indoctrinated. I’m not an ole confederate man but like it or not it’s part of our history. Those who don’t learn history are destined to repeat it.

      Like 11
  6. egads

    Why no pictures of the roof??

    Like 7
  7. Fran

    I love it and I am a FORD Guy!!! It does NOT offend me in the least!!!! History like this KEEPS America GREAT!!!!

    Like 16
  8. Rusty Trawler

    The flag is a part of the car, without it it’s not the General Lee. Let’s hope there’s some adults in the room and they understand that it was a TV car and the flag means nothing.

    Like 28
    • David R Member

      Love it or hate it few people feel that flag means nothing.

  9. Last 1LE

    I have a couple little quibbles about Jeff’s write-up.

    1) the show name was ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ with 2 ‘Zs in Hazzard.
    2) Give some credit where credit is due: Catherine Bach is the actress who
    so memorably portrayed Daisy Duke. There are undoubtedly a few million
    ‘dirty ol’ men’ of all ages who loved those short-short jeans she wore so
    well.

    That show is probably the biggest single reason for the second-gen, Chargers being so incredibly popular and it’s great seeing one of the almost-destroyed ‘jump’ cars being saved. My compliments to Mike and his dad for the great job they’re doing!

    Like 12
    • CJinSD

      I might be a dirty old man now for loving girls in short-shorts, but I wasn’t certainly wasn’t forty years ago when Catherine Bach wore them.

      Like 8
      • Last 1LE

        I always figured that ‘dirty old man’ was a somewhat honorable state of mind, and age had nothing to do with it. My father used to say that he’d be a dirty old man ’til he was a dead old man.

        Like 5
      • CJinSD

        I was ten years old. If anything, she coaxed me into an early puberty.

        Like 10
  10. Rod Brace

    No the flag doesn’t mean something different people have chosen to try to change what it means. If you erase and forget history you will repeat it. I hope it is painted and stays permanently there.

    Like 20
    • Keith D.

      Yeah and if it does have that flag painted on the roof more than likely it will be destroyed…garaged or not.

      Like 1
      • Mike

        Then there’s the situation of the owner constantly being in the middle of arguments between opposing sides. You’ll be either praised or scolded or maybe be refused entry to car shows because of the controversy.
        A cop out solution could be just paint a giant 01 on the roof and change the horn to the “shave and a haircut” tune.

        Like 3
  11. gtoforever

    Its funny how we get lost in politics and caught up in something everyone knows has no validity in todays world.
    As a proud car nut, I am so impressed with this family and it gives me hope that our hobby is still alive and well!!!!! This is what our hobby should do;
    bring together a father with his children with the priority on the project, not money or politics or whatever. We need more of these articles
    Thanks for brightening my day!!!

    Like 12
    • Last 1LE

      Well said!

      Like 3
  12. Big Mike

    To start off, Mike Thank You for your Service to this Great Nation!!! Also thank you all for helping to maintain and remember past TV shows that were based on good clean fun!!!

    Like 11
  13. Bob Mck Member

    This is the first time I have seen BF go political. I am surprised they allowed it. Let’s stick to talking about the cars. Both pro and con.

    Like 10
    • Keith D.

      You can thank some character named “R Soul” for mentioning his love for the confederate flag instead of simply elaborating on the car itself. I don’t think anyone would’ve gone political if he had not gone political. Isn’t that a violation of BF rules?

      Like 6
      • Steve Bush Member

        Regardless of politics, I think R Soul might have given himself at least a few dozen extra thumbs up. I’ve seen maybe 40-50 on some posts. But 206? Lol!

        Like 2
      • R Soul

        Don’t try to put words in my mouth Keith D. Nowhere in what I wrote did I prefess my love for the flag. I didn’t turn this political at all, I only was hoping the car was done up like it was on the show.

        Like 3
  14. Mike1955

    I knew right wing nuts would jump on the flag issue. Doesn’t bother me, but it does bother a LOT of Patriotic Americans? Would you still defend it if it were a Nazi flag? That was history too? I thought not…..

    Like 7
    • Poppy

      If it was on a restored Panzer or Messerschmitt, or below the canopy of a P-51 showing kills, a Nazi flag is entirely appropriate.

      Like 3
    • Bhowe Member

      First person to name call. So much for tolerance

      Like 2
  15. Mike1955

    You must be a Cheeto follower. LOL I don’t like to bring politics in, but Silence = Agreement.

    Like 2
  16. Grant Smith

    Why not a big magnetic flag so the appropriate situation can be met?

    Like 5
  17. Keith DeMonde

    Fran scroll down and read the comment rules….NO POLITICS…It’s not about Biden, it’s about respecting the BF rules…I take responsibility myself for jumping on the political bandwagon that “R Soul” started. Hopefully Barn Finds will scrap this controversial article.

  18. regg

    So many good comments here. People communicating with open minds all in
    the pool of the car culture. This can stimulate a communication of current differences. I am very much with the comment that this was just a T V show perspective
    Surprised that no one mentioned a plastic wrap…or a plastic wrap over an authentic paint job.
    Cool project.

    Like 4
  19. Sean2325

    Thanks for the follow up story. It is great to see the results of someone’s passion to save a piece of motoring history. Really enjoyed the story and the picture and hope we see the final result. Well done to Mike and his father.

    Like 3
  20. Bennie C Davis Jr Member

    You know we started out talking about a kid and his father buying an ironic TV car and it went straight into talking about politics. Let’s keep politics out of BF and keep our minds on the beauty of the cars and trucks that are seen on here. I want to thank Mike for the story about him and his dad in rebuilding this car and I also want to thank Mike for his service to this country.

    Like 3
    • David R Member

      I rarely go on Facebook anymore to avoid these charged conversations and found refuse in non-political sites like awesome BFs. However you can’t highlight a car named General Lee without reasonable expectation the conversation will go down that road so to speak. There is no shortage of classic cars to present that keep the comments on cars and favorite car related memories.

      Like 1
      • David R Member

        *refuge

        Like 1
  21. regg

    Restore the car to what it was and if desired wrap it. This is easy.
    B C Davis Jr. second that comment. Well said.

  22. TimM

    Great to see young guys doing such a good job restoring a car like this!!! Great job guys!!

    Like 2
  23. David Miraglia

    great job at preserving TV history.

  24. regg

    What is all this Nazi stuff?

    IF is a big word as I was told in grammar school. I was told that people used this to avoid being direct.

  25. Roger Clites

    I hope they left the camera mounts on the body, adds to the authenticity just as they did on Steve McQueens Mustang.

    Like 1
  26. regg

    Good one Sean.

    “Just some good ol’ boys meaning no harm” or sumthin’ like that.

    Like 2
  27. Mike1955

    I understand what you’re saying. But what if… I made a replica of Col. Klink’s German limo complete with swastikas? After all they were made to look like fools? I bet no one would think that was appropriate to drive around?
    Btw, my kids loved the Dukes growing up.

    Like 2
    • Bob Mck Member

      If you built that in Germany you would be arrested.

      Like 2
  28. mike1955

    Well…. you got me there, no I don’t listen to Rap. But I also don’t use words that needlessly hurt, put up flags from U.S. traitors. I don’t always agree with groups, but I always try to understand. I applaud this young man’s restoration, but he should understand if the flag goes on, there will be confrontations.

    Like 2

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