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Life Before The Dukes of Hazzard:
Before this car was known as "GL#127", for the 2005 Dukes movie, it was just a regular run-of-the-mill Dodge Charger. It is believed that this car was originally from Oklahoma. It started life as a 1970 model Charger that was Hemi Orange with a white top and white interior. It was a fairly base model XP car with a 318ci engine and an automatic transmission on the column. Early in the car's life, someone applied large "Dodge" decals on the quarters, which were very popular back in the 70's and early 80's.
Fast forward to the late 90's... in Kansas, JR Barton was in the process of building a Daytona clone. He needed a pair of '70 fenders and hood for his project. He purchased the orange '70 Charger in 1999 just for parts. At the time, a decent Charger could be had fairly cheap... and only being a 318 car, they were pretty plentiful. The car was parked many years earlier and the tired 318 had not run in years... so it was a perfect candidate.
After a few parts were picked off the car, it was pushed off to the side. JR and his long time friend Lee Holland got the idea that they wanted to build a "stunt" General Lee out of the '70 parts car. Lee had his own Charger project at the time...but it was a 1968 model. Lee pulled a 318i out of his car in favor of a 440. So the 318 was pulled out of the '70, and they dropped in the 318 from the '68. A pair of '69 fenders were bolted on as well as a 68/69 hood. Lee donated a spare '68 grille to the stunt car project, and JR had a spare '69 center I-piece trim. The rest of the '69 simulated center grille section was made out of the Oklahoma license plate that was removed from the car, which was folded up and painted black.
They went to a local junk yard and found a 1978 Ford Bronco with a push bar that looked close enough to resemble a General Lee push bar. Inside the same truck was a roll bar. They bought the roll bar and push bar and figured they could make them work on their project. The dimensions of the roll bar had to be tweaked to fit inside the Charger body.
Most of the work on the car took place throughout September 2000. They would work on the car in their spare time and would chip away until it was finally finished. Since most of the car was still the original Hemi Orange, it did not take much paint to cover the whole car. JR taped off the flag letters, and 01 and sprayed them with Krylon.
In Oct. 2000, the car was finished. JR and Lee knew of a local railroad crossing that was perfect for jumping a car. On the first attempt, the car had an ignition problem and did not reach the speed they would have liked. They took the car back home and installed a GM one-wire alternator and HEI distributor that was converted to work on the 318. This allowed the ignition system to be less hassle. The second jump attempt was much better. JR hit the railroad crossing at about 65mph and sent the Charger flying through the air about 10ft high and a distance of around 30ft. They had so much fun, they decided to try it again. On the third attempt, the torque converter was damaged and once again, the Charger was out of commission.
Since it's use on the movie...
In the spring of 2013 Mr. Barton sold the car to a gentleman who sent the car directly to Welby's Collision Center in Springfield, OR... home of Graveyard Carz. The car was fully disassembled and a complete restoration is currently in progress. Check back for updates!
After the car returned to the Production lot, a few parts were robbed off the car to keep other General Lees up and going. The missing parts were replaced and on Jan. 27, 2005 JR (with his son) and Lee were on the lot to pick up the car along with GL#126.
Dec. 18, 2004 was the day for the biggest jump on the Dukes movie. The crew hauled two General Lees to I-110 on the northbound side in Baton Rouge, LA. GL#015 was launched first and the tail end sprung up as it flew through the air. The car landed on it's nose and swerved hard to the right into the guardrail. So GL#127 was placed on the ramp and some adjustments were made. The car was launched onto the interstate and it flew well over 120ft. The car performed the longest jump during the movie. It anded right behind the Evo camera car and swerved hard to the left and hit the center concrete divider. This is the car that you see for the whole scene on the movie. The car was hauled back to the production lot.
On Dec. 16, 2004 #127 was moved back over to the Transportation shop where they installed radio controlled drum brakes all the way around. The car was pushed outside where the fenders were beat in. Since the fenders had so much body filler in them, the body filler over the side marker cracked and fell out. A quick repair was made and the simulated scratches were painted on and the decals were installed
Fast-forward to late-2004. GL#127 was one of the two cars that were temporarily sold/leased to Warner Brothers by JR Barton in Kansas. It was already built as a General Lee replica when it arrived, but would receive a fresh paint job and decals.
The car arrived to Baton Rouge, LA on the second week of Dec. 2004. Work began on on the car pretty quick after it's arrival. The drive train and most of the interior was removed and the body got a quick paint job. By Dec 15, 2004, the car was in the Special FX shop where the crew welded in framing. The car already had a roll bar in the car when it arrived, but the crew cut away some of the bars and installed framing around the floor which allowed them to adjust the car's weight for the jump.