"Dukes of Hazzard" Movie Reignites Excitement for the Dodge
"Dukes of Hazzard" Movie Reignites Excitement for the Dodge Charger NORFOLK, VA - October 4, 2005 - The excitement surrounding the big screen remake of the popular television series, "Dukes of Hazzard", has reignited interest in the 1969 Dodge Charger. The Charger gained popularity during the 1980's series as The General Lee, as the car used by the Duke boys to wreak havoc.
The renewed interest is being felt on third party online classifieds sites, such as CollectorCarTraderOnline.com [CCTOL.com]. Searches for the Charger on CCTOL.com increased by 3,000 between July and August, with over 28,000 searches performed in August. Currently, twenty-eight 1969 Dodge Chargers are listed on CollectorCarTraderOnline.com, including four General Lee replicas.
Three of the General Lee replicas listed on CollectorCarTraderOnline.com are from Luedtke Auto Group, a Lake Villa, Illinois dealer. The Luedtke brothers began transforming 1969 Chargers into the General Lee five years ago and have sold well over 100 General Lee's since. They have had sales in all 50 states as well as in Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Denmark and other overseas locations. Luedkte Auto always has at least 10 Dodge Chargers on hand that can easily be transformed into a General Lee.
"Over 150 man hours go into each of the cars," says Oscar Luedtke, "and it is fun to say the least."
Luedkte Auto Group recently sold seven of their replicas to Warner Brothers for use in the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie that came out in August. Warner Brothers used a total of 20 cars during shooting.
The choice of the Dodge Charger for the General Lee was no accident. With the south being the hotbed of stock car racing, and with one of the major NASCAR events, the Atlanta 500, being held at Atlanta International Raceway, the idea was born that the General Lee would be a racecar turned into a street car by the Dukes.
The NASCAR connection with the Charger and the "Dukes of Hazzard" goes deeper than just the General Lee. When characters Bo and Luke Duke left the show during the 1982-83 season, the viewers were told they went to try their hand at NASCAR racing. During the show's run, NASCAR notable Cale Yarborough made a guest appearance.
The history of the Charger itself is a storied one. Launched in 1966 as a response to the muscle car fad started by the Mustang and the Barracuda, the Charger quickly found its way to the NASCAR scene with it's famous Hemi engine. It remained an industry leader until 1974 when stricter emissions standards forced Dodge to scale down the engine. After 1974, though the Charger name remained until 1987, Dodge branded the car as a luxury item.
In the past few years, interest for classic muscle cars has returned. Baby boomers, who remember the classic cars from their childhood have been paying big bucks to restore cars such as the Baracuda, Pontiac GTO and the Chevy Camaro. According to Kelley Blue Book, the 1969 Charger has seen its value increase by 64 percent over the first six months of 2005, from $28,200 to $49,900. Hoping to cash in on this renewed interest, Dodge decided to bring back the Charger, beginning with the 2006 model. The Charger even made a return to NASCAR in 2005 and has had its share of success on the circuit.
"Pop culture has always been the road map for popular trends, so it was no surprise that surrounding the release of "The Dukes of Hazzard" movie the Charger saw a resurgence of popularity. The movie introduced the General Lee to a new generation whose interest is now peaked," said Marcus Dame, Business Development Manager for CollectorCarTraderOnline.com.
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