Dubbed as “America's Greatest Hot Rod Show,” the Detroit Autorama is held during the first quarter of every year and highlights hot rods and custom cars. This event has always excited car enthusiasts from every corner of the globe and this year was no different.
The event started with an orange 1969 Dodge Charger going up a ramp placed just outside the Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan. A video uploaded on YouTube showed the Dodge Charger going up the ramp and then, as the saying goes, it came down with a bang. Indeed, it came down hard.
The stunt, for those who are familiar, was a reference to the high-flying adventures that Bo and Luke Duke encountered in the 1980s show “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Running for a total of seven seasons, the Dodge Charger used in the show was nicknamed as General Lee. The name is, of course, a reference to the famous general during the American Civil War and its features included a Confederate flag painted on the roof with the horn playing the first few notes of the “Dixie” song. In the show, the General was not only known for its unique horn sound but also for being involved in police chases and the long jumps.
In the show however, the worst that happens to the General is some scratches on the bumper guard. As the YouTube video shows, reality is indeed far from fiction. However, the resulting damage from the impact is not the only thing that differentiates what is real and what is not. During the early part of 1980s, it was possible to get an almost decent Dodge Charger for around $500.
However the going rate at the present, especially with restored versions, can go as high as six figures. Even junk versions can still fetch a cool $4,000. Note that this is not junk as in it doesn’t work anymore junk. Rather this is about Chargers with dilapidated shells and most likely engine parts that have been placed on the trunk.
Regarding the stunt itself, it was done by Ohio-based Northeast Ohio Dukes, which is a rather appropriate name. The company specializes in these types of stunts and it appears that the Dodge Charge used was already on its deathbed, so to speak. One needs to ask though if it would have been better if there was a landing ramp. This would have been a more faithful tribute to the show. Given its condition though, even if it did manage to survive the jump, it clearly would not have lasted that long.
First released in 1964, the Charger over the years has undergone changes but mainly utilize three different sizes and platform. For the U.S. market, the Charger name has also been used for personal luxury coupes, full-sized sedans, and even subcompact hatchbacks. The latest version is a four-door sedan.