Your Money > Autos
Dukes of Hazzard car for sale
You could own and drive a real General Lee. But watch out for fakes. Also: More famous cars
June 26, 2003: 11:28 AM EDT
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Here's your chance to purchase a real drive-able piece of kitschy TV memorabilia.

A real "Dukes of Hazzard" General Lee, one of hundreds used in the show and, according to the seller, one of 17 verifiably sold by Warner Brothers, the show's producer.

Association with a television show, movie or historical event can add greatly to the value of even the most plebeian vehicles. (More of those later.) In the case of the General Lee, the fact that the car is a Chrysler (DCX: Research, Estimates) "muscle car" from the late 1960s or early '70s also adds to its value.

Listed in the April duPont Registry -- a glossy publication that's sort of an "Auto Trader Magazine" for the caviar set -- the 1969 Dodge Charger with a 383 four-barrel engine is being offered at the asking price of "$46,000 OBO."

It was "a real stunt car used in the filming of the 'Dukes of Hazzard' TV series," according the listing. The seller has not returned calls to the number given in the listing.

Authentic-looking General Lees are not hard to find. The cars used in the show featured a bright orange paint job, the number "01" emblazoned on the side and a Confederate flag painted across the roof. Replicas are common.

"I've seen seven of these sold over the years; most of them are clones," said Larry Batton, president of the Auto Appraisal Group of Charlottesville, Va.

Proper documentation is key to proving the value of any car that claims to have a historic or unique past. In this case, the claim of being an authentic Dukes of Hazzard General Lee contributes a lot to the car's value.

A mechanically similar standard 1969 Dodge Charger in "#1" condition -- the sort of shape that only about one in 5,000 cars of that age would be -- would fetch about $35,000, said Batton. If this car were used as a stunt car, it probably would have had a rough life for a while. If you ever watched the show, you will recall that the General Lee was not driven lightly.

Overall, assuming the paperwork was in order, Batton called the asking price reasonable.

Another General Lee, also with paperwork but with a larger 440 engine, was bid up to $41,000 at a June 2001 auction at Petersen's Automotive Museum. The car went unsold as the owner held out for more, said Tim McGrane, director of marketing for Barrett-Jackson of Scottsdale, Ariz., the company that arranged the auction.

Star power

Brushes with -- or baths in -- celebrity or history can greatly increase the value of even ordinary vehicles. The actual presence of a celebrity at an auction can do even more.

This 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda -- show here with Don Johnson (right) as Nash Bridges and Cheech Marin as Joe Dominguez -- sold for $148,000.  
This 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda -- shown here with Don Johnson (right) as Nash Bridges and Cheech Marin as Joe Dominguez -- sold for $148,000.

A 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda convertible used in the TV series "Nash Bridges" sold for $148,000 during a Barret-Jackson auction at the Petersen Museum in January.

The car, a stock 'Cuda modified to make it appear to be a 1971 model with a Hemi engine, would probably have sold for about a third that price had it not been for the presence of the program's star Don Johnson himself, promoting the car and even driving it onto the stage, said McGrane. "My sweet ass has been in this car," Johnson said, according to two people who were at the event.

A real 1971 Hemi 'Cuda convertible could be worth well over $500,00, according to a representative of Kruse International, an auto auction company.

The buyer of the Nash Bridges car is unlikely to ever get his money back when reselling that car, though, said Batton of Auto Appraisers Group. "When he goes to sell that car, Don Johnson's not going to be there talking about his ass," he said.

"It's correct, I did overpay for that car," said the buyer, Brett Torino, a Las Vegas real estate developer. Torino, who said he owns 19 Barracudas, felt he needed the car for his collection and said he simply paid as much as he had to to get it.

Other famous cars

A Batmobile used as a promotional vehicle for the Adam West television series sold for $182,000 in last month. Another Batmobile, used in the 1995 movie "Batman Returns," sold for $359,000 in August of 1999.

A 1999 Ford F350 Ryder rental truck used to carry contested presidential election ballots from Palm Beach to Tallahassee, Fla., after the 2000 elections sold on the Yahoo! Auction Web site for $67,100 in December 2000.

The bus that Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of went to the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village for $427,919 in October 2000. The bus's authenticity was verified by a scrapbook kept by a bus company employee immediately after the 1955 event which listed the bus number and driver's name.  Top of page

  More on AUTOS
Muscle car madness?
Dodge: 'Guy cars' only
Concept cars worth watching
Corporate America's best report card since 2010
'Solo: A Star Wars Story' disappoints at the box office
The places hardest hit by soaring gas prices

graphic graphic