Back in the days when people talked about horsepower and meant it, General Robert E. Lee rode a trusty steed named Traveller into battle. If the famed Civil War commander could’ve lived to witness the popularity of the Dukes of Hazzard television show, he’d probably beam with pride at the merchandising franchise spawned by his automotive namesake. The 1969 Dodge Charger often stole the show from the human cast members and the latest testament to the show’s legacy came when actor John Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the TV program (and Clark Kent’s dad on Smallville), sold off the car last week on eBay for $9.9 million.
For tuners wondering what could warrant such a high price tag besides the sentimental value, they need only look at the General Lee’s key specs. While Traveller could only muster 1 hp on his best day, the customized orange whirling dervish with the politically incorrect Confederate flag painted on the roof has an 8.3-liter, 725-hp V8 powertrain and only 16,000 miles on the odometer. It looks just as good as I’d always thought it would when I used to carry my diecast toy version to kindergarten for Show and Tell.
In any event, keep in mind that Warner Brothers sacrificed hundreds of other General Lees in various stunts in order to build the current version’s vaunted reputation. The recent big screen adaptation of the show and high-profile sale of the car confirm that the effort paid off. As pop culture goes through its extended retro phase, rest assured that the General Lee will remain in the hearts and minds of Generation X for years to come.
Update: Looks like I spoke too soon. The man who placed the winning bid on eBay now claims his account got hacked and he refuses to pay. As a result, the General Lee is once again up for sale as of 5/13/07. Good luck to those with a little extra cash on hand.
– posted by Taeho Lim