Insider Trading on the General Lee from Tom Sarmento:
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.