In­sider Trad­ing on the Gen­eral Lee from Tom Sarmento:

Mopar Muscle - - General Mayhem -

The doors were never welded. How else would Un­cle Jessie or Boss Hogg ever get into the back seat the cars?

Only 1969 and mod­i­fied 1968 Charg­ers were used. No 1970s for ob­vi­ous rea­sons — there are lots of in­cor­rect ru­mors to the con­trary. The rollcage in the car is wrong for safety sake, the rear di­ag­o­nal pro­tect­ing the pas­sen­ger side so that John Sch­nei­der could be seen in film­ing from the back seat of the car — Hol­ly­wood stuff.

317 Charg­ers were used — all taken from Los An­ge­les County.

Big-block Mopar en­gines pow­ered most of the cars. When used for First Unit film­ing, where the cars had to slide around to kick up the dirt, the 383ci en­gines were pre­ferred. To achieve the right an­gle when fly­ing and avoid the “nose in” dam­age they ex­pe­ri­enced in the first test flights, 300 pounds of lead was in­stalled in a weight box in the trunk of small­block cars and 500 pounds in big-block cars. Most of the cars re­ceived some form of roll­bar hoop in­stalled by A.J. Thrasher. For the big­ger jumps, a full cage was in­stalled to pro­tect the driver. The cages, big and small, used high­qual­ity tub­ing.

Guy Walden, the creator of the orig­i­nal Gen­eral Lee (as op­posed to ru­mors about Ge­orge Bar­ris) wanted a Pon­tiac GTO. There were 180,000 Charg­ers built back in 1969, so by virtue of avail­abil­ity it was the fi­nal choice. The orig­i­nal horn used on the Gen­eral Lee was heard first on a food truck by Di­rec­tor Paul Bax­ley and then used on the show. Only one car was equipped with a real horn — the First Unit car driven on stage by Sch­nei­der and Wopat.

Orig­i­nal Stunt­men: Paul Bax­ley, Craig Bax­ley, Gary Bax­ley, Henry Kengi, Bobby Or­ri­son, Al Wy­att Jr., Jerry Sum­mers, Kay Kilmer, Richie Burch, Corey Eubanks John Cade, and Rus­sell Sol­berg Me­chan­ics: Tom Sarmento, Rich Seph­ton, John Mancini, Mark Lilien­thal, and David Grant

While the busi­ness of build­ing cars to keep the driver safe dur­ing some crazy car stunt is se­ri­ous busi­ness, when these guys got to clown­ing around, it was pretty hi­lar­i­ous. Here Rich Seph­ton and A.J. Thrasher pose for a pic­ture, one they’d never live down.

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