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Calling all General Lee Fans - revised

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Okay, I'm getting ready to step up to the plate and incur the wrath of all General Lee experts.

I'm going to use the 1/16th MPC kit as a basis.

There were 3 or 4 Chargers used as the "hero" camera car in the show, with over 250 others used for stunts and demolition. Which one of the 4 is most closely replicated by the MPC kit? (By, the way, I will do just as the show writers and producers did and say that the doors were welded shut, without paying expensive union technicians to actually do it).

Here's an overview from Wikipedia:

Although the estimated number of General Lees used 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 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. 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 many of the jumps the cars bent upon impact. All cars used in large jumps were immediately retired due to structural damage.

From 1979 to 1985, 1968 and 1969 model-year Chargers were sourced and converted to General Lee specifications. Despite popular belief, no 1970 models were used, according to all builders involved over the years. Obtaining cars was not a problem until later years. By that time, the car was the star of the show and Warner Brothers moved building of the cars in house to keep the cars consistent in appearance. Later in the show's run, when it got too hard and/or expensive to continue procuring more Chargers, the producers started using more 'jump footage' from previous episodes. In the final season radio-controlled miniatures were occasionally used to the chagrin of several cast members.

Episodes 1 to 5 were filmed in the Georgia towns of Covington and Conyers in November and December 1978. Georgia episode cars consisted of 6 Dodge Chargers. The first General Lees were built by Warner Brothers (WB) and shipped to Georgia where John Marendi (picture car coordinator) labeled the first 3 cars LEE 1, LEE 2, and LEE 3 in no particular order for film editing purposes. LEE 1 was a 2nd unit car with a full roll cage. It is a 383 V8-powered 1969 Charger equipped with air conditioning (A/C). It was originally code T3 Light Bronze Metallic with tan interior, 3 speaker dash, and chrome rocker trim. After the now-famous jump over Rosco P. Coltrane's police cruiser by stuntman Craig Baxley, it was stripped of its front seats and 1969-specific grill and taillight panel. LEE 1 was used once more as the "Richard Petty" tire test car in the fourth episode Repo Men and afterwards was retired to a junkyard in Georgia, but later bought and restored. LEE 2 was also a 2nd unit car with a full roll cage and tan interior. It was used for the opening scene in One Armed Bandits. In this scene, Bo and Luke were chasing Rosco's police cruiser with the General after Cooter stole it; during this chase, LEE 2 is shown making a jump (the second that Baxley performed). LEE 3 was the first unit 1 close-up car and the first General Lee built by Warner Brothers; it's seen in the first publicity photos. It was originally a F5 Medium Green Metallic R/T SE (Special Edition) model. It was powered by a 440 Magnum V8,375hp(horsepower)3671 lb,and also had A/C with power windows and a wood grain dash. This car had a tan interior and a removable roll bar that allowed installation of a camera for in-car shots. This car was painted 1975 Corvette Flame Red with a special basecoat; the basecoat was used after they found LEE 1's paint appeared to be blotchy due to the direct application over factory paint. Eventually the first 3 General Lees started to show visible damage, so the crew had to start making more. The first General Lee built in Georgia was a 1968 Charger converted to look like a 1969; the tail light panel, front grill, and front seats taken from LEE 1 were used. The paint used on these cars was Chrysler code EV2 or "Hemi Orange". Interiors not originally tan were sprayed with SEM brand "Saddle tan" Vinyl dye. The first 3 Georgia Lees had a set of crossed flags (a Confederate flag and checkered flag) on the panel between the rear window and trunk lid. Although 4 sets were created, only 3 were used. They were discontinued due to the continuity of the General Lee graphics, making it one less thing to be used. The 3 surviving cars went back to California and had the crossed flags removed upon reconditioning. The wheels were generally 14X7 inch American Racing brand "Vectors" throughout the show and were mainly mounted on P235/70R14 B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A tires with the blackwall side facing out.

Edited by sjordan2
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Skip, while hardly a General Lee expert, the fact that the MPC 1/16 kit is based on the Richard Petty stock car chassis with a rudimentary "interior" added it's really not that close to any car used in the show.

So you're saying that a reasonably accurate replica can't be made from this kit?

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If I remember correctly Skip, and that's asking a lot since the last time I built the 1/16 scale kit was when I first started building a little over 25 years ago, but keeping with the vintage NASCAR theme Mark has mentioned, I also think it has a full race car rollcage. I think it also had the NASCAR type Goodyear Blue Streak Stock Car Special tires with very little tread detail instead of a proper street tire. It is more or less what Mark said, you'll end up with a nice curbside General with a vintage NASCAR underneath. Another way to look at it is you would have the General Lee if it actually WAS a race car.

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So you're saying that a reasonably accurate replica can't be made from this kit?

It can be, but you will have to scratch build about 90% of it though. The 1:16 kit is the worst kit for a General Lee model. The chassis, interior are way incorrect. Now if you can scratch build the interior to look correct for stock '68 or '69 charger, then you can use the roll cage in the kit but then you might also have to modify it a little here and there though. But the stunt cars had that same kind of roll cage for the big jumps (minus the styxs river jumper).

The chassis, is like a nascar chassis.. and you will have to scratch build a engine bay, and from frame rails if you want it to look anything like a real charger. This also goes for the whole chassis as well.

The interior, is almost no better. I mean it has a flat dash, and the cluster panel is a flat area with stock car gauges and doesn't at all look anything like a standard charger one. So the whole dash would have to be scratch built. There is no console in the kit either, and the floor board has no detail almost, just for a few fuel line running down I think the driver side of it. The seats are from a 1970 high backs, you could modify them and with some work turn them into '69's. There is no rear seat in the kit either, but then again alot of the stunt cars on the show didn't have no interior either just a driver seat. But in the COT episode (two part episode) at the end in Part 2 where Bo and Luke gets ready to take off for the 32 park car jump, they show two cars (General Lees) one shows with both front seats but no back seat and that car also has a roll cage in it (you can see the hoop at the windsheild line top) and over spray of the chestnut color brown on the window as well where it was spray bombed. Now i said there was two cars (General Lee's) the first car that starts the jump didn't clear the cars (It took out the last car on the pile) as teh General Lee leaves the ramps and has it's nose downwards and tail upwards, The 2nd General Lee is the car you see land and buckle badly at both ends. This car also had the rear bumper fasten with cable wrapped around it and ran in through the tail light panel.

Now the thing with the General Lee's is this, there is really no correct orange paint, In the start of the series in the first five episodes, 3 cars was built in CA almost, Lee3 was the first car built in Ca and was used for the promo shots, Lee1 and Lee2 was built down in GA well not really built, just finished up being built is all. Lee1 was teh first to do the stunt over Rosco in front of the Oxford Collage Saturday (14th I think) 1978 at around 8AM in the morning. Lee2 was jump down Elm Street the following Wednesday for the opening shot of the One Arm Bandits at around 3PM as they had to hold school bus's back for that stunt to take place. That car Lee2 was rebuilt and reused again for another scene in the junkyard with the fbi agents.

Lee3 went back to CA and was killed off the The Meeting when it jump the black limo.

How they numbered the cars was not how they built them, they numbered them as they used them for filming down in GA. Hence Lee1 (1st car used for filming), Lee2 (2nd car used) and Lee3 the same thing.

Now they also bought 3 extra cars for General's down in GA to make and also use as part cars. there was 2 1968's and 1 1969 Charger. One charger was also chopped at the front end and grafted onto another General that had a bad front end damage. They called this car the Frankenstein General Lee.

The color that they said the first 3 General Lee's was when they showed up in GA was Hemi orange, but when the guys down there had to repair the cars and touch them up, the body guys went with EV2 Orange though.

Now when they went back to CA, and got building the cars back there, they had not body shop building the cars but as the show went on they had around 4 body shops in total. That's why through the run of the series the cars color would change slightly. They started out with the small push bars, and then later in mid 2nd season or 3rd they changed to the wider version of the push bar. Reason is this. The small push bars was the issue, they would at times fly back and hit the "I" piece in the grill and bust it, and at times bust it right out. You can see this in the COT episode as well in Part 1, whenRosco was towing the General Lee and he comes to a stop in front of the court house and the General Lee rolls up (being towed by the potrol car) rolls up and bangs into the tail end of the portol car and the push bar hits the "I" area in the grill and shoved it backwards. This also indention as well that this was also a '68 charger used to play the General Lee in this scene.

They went with the winder push bars, as they would not only attach to the frame up under the car BUT also welded to the chrome bumper as well on some of the General Lee's. There is one episode in the 5th season with Coy and Vance, where Coy had to ram a car in the tail with the General Lee and you can see the damage of both cars in that scene.

The push bars when they was mounted, now here is where alot of people on the models would mess up at. they would/will mount the push bars way down low (incorrect place). The push bars top bar on the small push bars (they was 3 different small versions styles used on the series) the top bar would be either at the chrome trim level of the top of the grill or at times just afew hairs below it. The bottom bar always lined up with the bumper face (on both the small and wide versions). The wide versions, the top bar would line up in front of the top chrome trim of the grill top, and the bottom bar would line up with like I said with the bumper face.

Now for the cars, the doors on the real cars did open, but the story line they was welded shut, but in scenes at times you could at mer sec's see the cast using the doors (behind or under trees) and when they cut they would be either already in the car or sliding in through the window. The episode Days of Shine and Roses is a good episode , watch as Luke Grabs the Detour Sign as Bo pulls the General up under a tree, and when Luke runs back across the road, you can see him slightly use the door to get into the car. When they cut, to him inside the General he just shuts it as the scene cuts to him from another view camera.

They had 5 different style cages as well for in the cars depending for the stunt the car was going to do. In the Cale's one episode where they had 3 General Lee's on screen at the same time, in the one scene where Jesse does the 180 turn in front of Boss'. You can see the one style of the roll cage as the car spins around. The bars in the back seat area criss cross each other and was mounted to the frame rails with plates.

There was also a few ski car General Lee's also which was a few made to go up on two wheels and ski between or around things. Only one of these cars still serves today yet.

The General Lee's interior colors was a Dark Tan, to light tan used in the later season's. The dark tan, when in the shadows on the show appears to be black interior though which the General Lee didn't have. They went from the dark tan to the light tan due for the camera lights and what not to reflect off of. With the Dark tan the stuff wouldn't reflect to well at all.

The General's in the start of the show and the first few season's also had at times the side marked painted right over orange on some of the cars. Then later when WB changed builders, and went to in house building the cars, they took all side markens off the chargers.

The color orange they used was mostly what ever orange they had on hand at the time when building the charger into a Lee. At times they would also mix the oranges together as well just to have enough paint to build one or two Lee's that day. Some of the cars that did the stunts, there paint wasn't even dry yet as they needed a car that fast for a scene to be made.

The decals, the flag in the series, in some, was mostly painted on and had vinyl stars applied to the flag which was cut out from the crew members and there family's. Most of the stuff like the 01, text was decals, but they also used flag decals as well here and there.

When WB took over, after a car was jumped, and totaled, they would strip the car of it's parts, hood, doors. roof skins, trunk panel, interior stuff. You name it, they removed it. They did this so the junkyard they took the cars to wouldn't resell them, as there was afew of the General's that had been taken to the scrap yard was sold off to the public back in the day when the show was on the air yet. When WB got wind of this they started to remove all things off the car that revealed it was a General before taking the car to the scrap yard.

Also the decals on the cars, here is where some people gets the decal locations incorrect at, some people will apply the decals with the text in the center of the charger roof both on real chargers and also on the models. This is incorrect location. The correct location is, on the driver side, the "G" starts out above and between the flag and drip rail above the door vent window tip on the roof. The Pass side the last "E" in Lee ends at the same location on the pass side where the "G" started at on the driver side. The real flag was 4 inches back from the windshield edge in front, 3 1/2 on the rear by the rear window. The numbers was 2inches above the bottom edge of the doors, and the numbers didn't follow the door conture line like "Lee1" ones did.

Only the first few General Lees in the first episode had the crossing flags on the rear deck tray area though and was not seen after that in the series run.

The cb antenna's. The show on the General had 3 different styles. The tear drop, The Avanti, and a D-900A (I think that was the 3rd one name). The cb units, they also had afew different styles of them as well in the General's. Cobra was one of the most used though.

The cars on the show didn't have the Dixie horn in them, only the one first few General Lee's had the horn bought from a car that was pasting by and installed into the charger. After that, the horn became a edited in sound effect in the episodes.

The cars mostly used 318's, 383's and 440's.

The 383's and 440's was mostly used for the big stunts, where as the 318's was used for the small stuff an on ground stunts.

During the show, they went through 300 Chargers. 17 served the show, and around 6 more real General Lee's has had turn up also in the last 10 years as well that was repainted over for other things after the show ended in 1985.

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Silly Question.

With Soo many GL builds, what about Roscoes, Enos, Boss Hogs,Uncle Jesse, Cooters, Etc..

Another Question, What did Enoes drive when he had his own show??

I do recall some Bolt on Injectors stacks on the hood.

BTW: I'm just finishing up first Season DVD of DOH :lol:

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(Emoticon indicating "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggggh!" here.)

One question, if you dont want to read about the general Lee, why are you reading this posting?

Edited by midnightprowler
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I'm guessing because he has a sense of humor, and having a little fun.


(Emoticon indicating "Bingo!" here.)

There are a few peeps around here who could stand to cultivate and/or exercise their senses of humor a little more. I'm trying to inspire them.

(Emoticon indicating inspiration here.)

See. There I go again!

Edited by Danno
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Harry, please dont set any bad examples for certain people to follow, they are trying so hard to kick the habbit of emoticons and well...if they see you posting things like this you're just an enabler

I'm not sore who is worst, the other member trying so hard to brake the habit or Harry braking his own boss's rule with just posting a smiley icon himself. (LOL)

I'm doing my dang-est also to not post a smiley myself in my reply's.

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It would be interesting to see what y'all think are excellent builds of the General Lee, done by those who took the plastic kits and got it right, and why. Links and detailed images are good. I think this would be of interest to all past, present and potential General Lee builders.

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