When it comes to The Dukes of Hazzard, it often seems as if the General Lee car itself mattered more than Bo, Luke, and Daisy. In fact, of 60,000 letters received from fans per month, more than half were addressed to or about the General Lee. And given the wild stunts pulled off in the iconic vehicle, perhaps it’s no wonder. However, fans of the modified Dodge Charger may be shocked to learn that the show typically destroyed at least one General Lee car per episode.
What kind of modifications were added to the General Lee car?
The General Lee wasn’t a particularly rare model of car at the outset. It was a standard 1969 Dodge Charger before modifications. However, the various changes to the Dukes of Hazzard car are what truly managed to set it apart.
In fact, the Dodge Charger itself would have been largely incapable of the fantastic stunts the Duke cousins pulled off on a regular basis. To that end, the Dukes of Hazzard car was modified to include heavy-duty suspensions (for obvious reasons) as well as custom tires, as reported by Screen Rant.
The General Lee car also included a Magnum V8 engine and special brakes that allowed it to pull off impressive 180-degree turns. The cars included roll bars of course, because safety is important.
However, these modifications in themselves weren’t enough for the car to pull off its wild airborne scenes. Weight had to be added to the back of the General Lee car, or else it would simply nosedive after being sent aloft. The Dukes of Hazzard crew loaded the General Lee down with ballast such as concrete and sandbags.
The General Lee car had plenty of stunt doubles
Naturally, The Dukes of Hazzard car wasn’t able to truly survive all of those daredevil leaps. In fact, the General Lee had plenty of stunt doubles ready to replace it whenever the car got totaled — which was typically at least once per episode.
In fact, the General Lee had about 300 doubles while filming The Dukes of Hazzard television show, and around 26 doubles in the 2005 feature film.
Every single one of these Dukes of Hazzard car doubles was destroyed during filming. That’s 300 Dodge Chargers smashed and bent for the show. It’s only natural that they had to be replaced.
‘Dukes of Hazzard’ crew hunted down General Lee car replacements
The impressive number of General Lee cars that were destroyed for The Dukes of Hazzard meant that the show’s crew was always on the lookout for additional replacements.
Eventually, crew wound up buying AMC Ambassadors and changing their appearance to better suit The Dukes of Hazzard car. According to Screen Rant, crew even left flyers on windshields of Dodge Chargers they discovered in public and even performed aerial searches looking for additional General Lee replacements.