By on February 25, 2017

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Onlookers outside Detroit’s Cobo Center took part in a great American pastime yesterday. That is, thrilling at the impending destruction of an airborne 1969 Dodge Charger.

You know the one. Orange, Confederate flag emblazoned on the roof, once the star of a popular TV show that was serviceable in its first season, but then got really stupid. There’s a pull, an irresistible force that compels us to find old B-body Chargers — ideally a ’69, sometimes a ’68 but never a ’70 — and launch those nose-heavy suckers to a frame-twisting death.

It’s the only classic, lusted-after muscle car that we associate with low-altitude flight and, for some reason, we continue to applaud the torture and destruction of the remaining examples. Why?

As we see here, Raymond Kohn of the Northeast Ohio Dukes — a Dukes of Hazzard-themed stunt show — kicked off Motorama with a crunch, launching his ’69 Charger R/T at 55 miles per hour and faceplanting after a flight that measured 134 feet.

“I expected worse, it wasn’t too bad,” Kohn told media following the group’s 20th jump, one that left the Charger in a state of potentially permanent disrepair. Watching the video, the Charger repeats what viewers saw weekly back in the late ’70s and early ’80s — a chassis absorbing the impact like a wet sponge and a body exhibiting more flex than a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. The passenger-side door pops open. The front wheels, from what we can see, now enjoy suspension travel in the negative range. Will it live to die another day? Maybe.

The group’s cars, Kohn told the Detroit Free Press, usually don’t survive more than one or two jumps. The original show, to anyone’s best estimates, destroyed up to 300 — maybe more — ’69 (or altered ’68) Chargers during its six-season run. That pales next to the number of old Coronets, Furys, Monacos and Polaras that met an often watery end in pursuit the General Lee. Frankly, I watched the reruns as much for the old Mopar cop iron as I did for the General Lee. (I certainly didn’t watch it for the plot or dialogue.)

I get the appeal of the show. There’s no way a family-friendly series with a vaguely libertarian theme, non-stop car chases, a beautiful and capable female lead, a healthy nod to family values and stereotypes aplenty will do badly on American airwaves, especially not at the end of a tumultuous decade like the 1970s.

Here’s the thing. This isn’t a stunningly original take, and many of you are likely thinking the same thing, but just I need to say that it pains me to see this. Chrysler only built so many ’69 Chargers. We drop to our knees and tear our hair out when a handful of classic Corvettes are swallowed by the earth, stopping halfway to Hell, but it’s just fine to shrink the dwindling number of finite ’69 Chargers?

It should hurt every red-blooded, car-loving individual to watch this.

Only 89,199 Chargers rolled off the assembly line for the 1969 model year, not counting the handful of 500 and Daytona variants. Age, accidents, and a certain TV show have shrunk that number. Sure, beat the cars to hell and replace broken components as needed — these rigs were meant to tear it up — but do we really need to bring a model closer to extinction to stir nostalgic memories of a cheesy TV show?

Well, maybe we do. Maybe our hearts can’t soar unless we see the General Lee in the air. Maybe this model can’t instill in our souls the spirit of motoring freedom and youthful, gas-fueled 1960s rebellion without invading our airspace. The pull to do it, and for onlookers to line up in anticipation of it, is a strong one.

Where would I have been if I was in Detroit yesterday? No question — front row.

[Image capture: MLive/YouTube]

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83 Comments on “Why Do We Still Applaud the Destruction of 1969 Dodge Chargers?...”


  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I really like the TV show; short shorts and muscle cars make up for all sorts of other cheesiness. That said for at least 20 years I have lamented the unnecessary demise of cool cars. I saw most of the fast and furious movies, but I never wanted to give them any of my money for watching them wreck a classic muscle car. So, I went to the multiplex and bought a ticket to anything else and just went into the F&F theatre.

    Save the great cool cars of the past. They just don’t make them like that anymore!

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      At first glance, Dukes was one of the dumbest shows in the history of television. But it never tried to be anything else. Certainly the scripts were awful, but the casting made it one of the most fun shows in the history of television.

      Sorrell Booke and James Best were hilarious, almost as funny as Gleason and Carney. In an era of bleach-blondes, Catherine Bach was stunningly different and smoking hot. Denver Pyle’s Uncle Jesse was a lovable curmudgeon, but tough as nails when the chips were down. And nobody appreciated Wopat and Schneider until the “Coy and Vance” season. Then you got a sense of just how bad this show would have been without its original cast.

      All the practical stunts were amazing, not just the car chases and jumps, but the fight scenes and pratfalls. All those times Rosco got knocked into a creek or Boss Hogg went flat on his face in a mud pit, it was usually Best and Booke. Stunt doubles were used only for the really dangerous stuff and CGI was nonexistent. (The final season used car models for stunts, and it was terrible. Check it out. Or better yet, don’t.)

      The musical guest stars were some of the best artists in the history of country music. Loretta Lynn, Oak Ridge Boys, Buck Owens, Johnny Paycheck, Mickey Gilley off the top of my head, and I know there were more.

      They made almost 90,000 Chargers in 1969 alone. By contrast, they made only about 2000 Countaches in the entire production run. So why not jump a few Chargers? Yeeeeee-haw!

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        I agree, the show is great. You have to turn off your brain for a few episodes – especially the Coy and Vance season. But there is a lot of stuff there to like. The show was always good-hearted.

        My favorite thing is the multi-layered relationship between Boss, Roscoe, Enos, Cletus, and Uncle Jesse and the Duke family. Boss was a villain (almost) to the pit of his heart, but still had a position to maintain in society, so he couldn’t afford to be seen as a villain by the general populace. So he had to do his villainy in secret while appearing to be on the up-and-up. Likewise Roscoe. But both of them seemed to have a certain secret affinity for the Duke family which, in practice, set a limit to how villainous they would get. When confronted by outside criminal (or bureaucratic) interests, Boss and the Dukes would sometimes pull together, at least for a moment. I think there was a lot that resonated with people in the 1970s and 1980s as certain parts of the country started to feel more and more sidetracked or left behind. Though of course, it was from a rural perspective, and not at all an urban one.

        I do think it’s a shame that the General Lee wears that flag, because it does send a mixed message to a certain extent. The show did try to give some positive messages about diversity (though there really weren’t too many opportunities given the setting). There were apparently 19 black characters over the years. The Dukes showed respect to black characters when they did appear, and spoke to them as equals. The only recurring black character was Sheriff Little from the neighboring county. He’s cast as a sort of villain in the show, but he doesn’t really reflect any black stereotypes. At a time when it would have been easier to just leave people of color out of the show, I think these little things were steps in a positive direction.

    • 0 avatar
      xander18

      I know that the wreckable Chargers in the later F&F movies are tube frames with SBCs so I assume they’re repop bodies as well.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m not a Corvette fan, but in that case, the cars swallowed by the earth were one-of-a-kind (there is only one 1,000,000th Vette). There are/were 89,199 Chargers to destroy before they’re all gone.

    Besides, the Charger is just a convenient tool serving the desire to see cars go airborne.

    The association with the TV show is helpful, but really, people just like to see vehicles fly and/or crash. That’s why people watched Evel Knievel, and it’s a big reason people watch car racing. Indy 500 viewership would plummet if 33 cars finished every race.

    So it really has nothing to do with the Charger.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      ah yes, the Bowling Green Corvette Massacre. Who can forget.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I have to disagree with you. The General Lee still has a huge presence in our culture, especially for anyone who grew up in the 80’s (raises hand). Whenever I see one show up at a local car show, it always attracts way more positive attention than anything else rolling through.

      If it was just flying cars, please, start wasting ’83 Trans Ams instead.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        An ’83 Trans Am would probably explode in a fireball on impact. Late ’60s Chrysler products were still heavy duty.

        BTW it’s not just Dukes of Hazzard that makes the Charger iconic. Remember the car that chased Steve McQueen in Bullitt?

        • 0 avatar
          bubbagump

          I do seem to recall that it caught some air, too.

          And alla this time I’ve been waiting for my flying car, and it’s been here the whole time.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Lorenzo is correct, Chargers of that era would have had a following even without the Dukes.

          The recently deceased Mike Connors drove one in Mannix.

          Other instances of Chargers appearing in movies are discussed in this link:
          http://www.kendalldodgechryslerjeepram.com/dodge-blog/8-best-movies-featuring-dodge-charger/

          • 0 avatar
            kefkafloyd

            THEY HIT ME WITH A TRUCK.

            (if you’re going to ruin an old car, this is the way to go).

          • 0 avatar
            rpol35

            Arthur – I think Mike Connors (Mannix) drove a black Dodge Dart GTS.

            Regardless, willful, stupid destruction of any old car is, I think, disgraceful. Love or hate these old rides, they all have a certain inherent quality whether real or just perceived from a faded memory.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          The Charger in Bullitt was also bone stock from the showroom floor and faster than Steve’s Mustang due to a rather large CID ratio.

          The Duke’s car had the doors welded shut and a proper roll cage inside. Kind of a cross between a NASCAR and rally car.

          Oh, and both kids got their picture taken with a General Lee this past weekend.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Because “OW! My balls”

  • avatar
    Lovelockguy

    I cannot tell you how much I detested The Dukes of Hazzard TV show. When it was on, my sons would want to watch it so we did and it wasn’t long before they found something else more fun to do.

    And yes, I guess I might receive some bashing about my opinion.

    I was never a big fan of 69 Dodge Chargers but also agree that they seem to a finite resource now and destroying them probably isn’t a good idea.

  • avatar
    Serpens

    That’s not the destruction of another Charger. They used that exact same one in a previous jump show. They just keep rebuilding it.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Oh well. It makes the remaining ones that much more valuable.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Things like this pain me a little, I’m more saddened more by the number of 1979 to 1981 Chrysler R-bodys destroyed as cop cars in TV and movies.

    Much more rare than a 1969 Charger.

    I will say though that I detest the guys who want to buy an old muscle car, keep it obsessively original, and pop a beer, sit in a lawn chair, and watch the tires go flat instead of driving it. It’s a freakin’ car, I don’t care what it’s worth, it was meant to be driven.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      PrincipalDan – agreed. I recently read about a fellow who restored a Boss 429 Mustang with factory original parts. The parts are so rare and expensive that only a fool would ever drive it again.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I subscribe to Mustang Monthly, for every restomod there’s at least one OCD factory special even if its an all original Mustang II with 4 cyl and automatic. Of course the owner is obsessed with trailering it.

        “Are the screws that attach the snorkel to the air cleaner painted or natural finish?” (Real question from a reader.)

        Who cares? Stick a chrome engine dress up kit on it and forget it.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          Never, ever, ever watch “Graveyard Cars”.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Chrome engine compartments – ugh. You think asking what finish should be on the bolts borders on OCD? I was at a car show and there was a freshly restored Mopar with its owner next to it, beaming and looking to chat up anybody who got too close. As I checked it out, it seemed superb, then I noticed an ill fitting deck lid. And sloppy seam sealer in the trunk. The owner, you see, restored the car right down to the original as delivered condition – factory defects and all. “Check out the engine compartment” he says. What do I see? Orange overspray on the exhaust headers…now thats OCD.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “restored the car right down to the original as delivered condition – factory defects and all”

            I find that historically valid.

            I remember the Nam era and what cheap noise for doomed dummies these vehicles were.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I’ve heard of collectors arguing that the overspray on the sparkle paint in the trunk wasn’t authentic enough.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          PrincipalDan: The screws are natural.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Firestorm 500 – Yeah I read the response. s/ I really love the guys who argue about the proper part numbers for battery hold down trays.

            And my 67 Mustang has a chrome dress up kit on the lowly 289 2 barrel. Although some Nag at a carshow is always more than willing to point out that the dress up kit uses the 302 style valve covers.

            I like the way it looks and don’t care what the assembly procedures were in 1967.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Lou,

        if I ever win the Powerball (which I won’t, since I almost never buy a ticket) then I’m going to go to Barrett-Jackson or Mecum, buy some hilariously over-valued thing like a numbers-matching ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible or the Boss 429 you mentioned, and watch everyone gasp in horror as I *drive away in it.*

        edit: that is, assuming it’s in driving condition. always the possibility it doesn’t have fluids in it.

    • 0 avatar

      On the occasion I’ve sold older classics, I always get a handful of a**holes who want to complain about some piece of interior or exterior trim not lining up. I always contemptuously explain they’re buying something made by the Big Three in the NINETEEN-SEVENTIES; you should be lucky it has the correct trim pieces on it to begin with.

      • 0 avatar

        The Thunderbird and Lincoln Marks were both built at the Wixom plant (on the same platform). A friend’s father took delivery of a ’71 Thunderbird that had a Thunderbird side mirror on the driver’s side and a Mark III mirror on the passenger side.

        If a restorer wants to be seriously period correct with 1970s quality control, they should probably stash a beer bottle between an interior and exterior panel.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @ronnie: make it a Stroh’s!

        • 0 avatar
          Paragon

          I’m with you Ronnie about the beer bottle inside the car in a difficult to find location. Refresh my memory, was that mostly on Friday and Monday built cars, or pretty much any day of the week? Those UAW guy always wanted you to remember them.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I heard that deer season was a bad time for quality. The worst was probably right after model changeover when they were trying to figure out the new models. Other times that I suspect would be bad was on extremely hot humid days in some of the old plants without a/c like Cadillac Fleetwood. Fleetwood was especially bad since there were multiple floors and the heat would rise. I haven’t seen actual stats and it would be an interesting theory to test. Another time that was bad was when management would try to see how fast they could push the line.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            my dad has a ton of stories from the short time he worked at Dodge Main.

            “Another time that was bad was when management would try to see how fast they could push the line.”

            that was a huge contributor to poor quality and labor strife. Especially since those days were before anyone really paid any attention to Design For Assembly (DFA) principles. Back then, if you were the line worker who was installing the dashboard/IP, it was up to you to try to make sure it was lined up properly and drive fasteners, all the while the line is moving. Hard enough, then these suits come along and want you to do it faster, and blame you when things are misaligned.

            now in the days of DFA, it’s different. the mounting brackets on large assemblies like dashboards have features to make assembly quicker. first are things like hooks on the brackets to fit into slots in the sheetmetal, so that the operator putting the dash into the car just makes sure the hooks engage to hold it in place. then the operators at the next station start driving fasteners to bolt it in.

            the other feature on the mounting brackets are locating pins, which engage two-way (slot) and four-way (hole) locating punches in the sheetmetal. that way, there’s no need for anyone to stand there trying to nudge a large sub-assembly into position while also trying to drive fasteners.

          • 0 avatar
            CarDesigner

            So when did you two work at Wixom??

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          My ’68 Galaxie 500 has an air cleaner assembly from a ’67. That was the way it came from the factory.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Who cares? Ultimately those Chargers are still mass produced cars,classic though they are.

    If they launched the 1,000,000th Corvette like that it would be a different story.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoomfan

      Agreed. Funnily enough, I’m actually watching the show right now. I have the whole series on DVD. The acting and storylines aren’t the best, no. But, it’s nice to just turn my brain off for a while and watch some good old fashioned car chases and crashes with old American iron and the “good ol’ days” of the late ’70s and early ’80s.

      I was born in ’89, well after the show went off the air. But, I grew up watching reruns of it. I’m sure my parents were fine with me being obsessed with the General Lee as a toddler instead of Barney like all the other kids at my daycare. I even had a General Lee die-cast car I carried everywhere with me while most other kids carried around stuffed animals.

  • avatar
    Paragon

    Put me down for the SAVE THE 1969 ERA DODGE CHARGER campaign, yes sir. Yes, I watched the show back in the day. And loved it. Especially because of that show, many people would love to own a Dodge Charger. Don’t wreck them or otherwise ruin them. Keep them essentially stock and restore them if funds permit.

    Once again, let’s get on the bandwagon and SAVE THE CHARGERS! Yes, all model years of the Charger. Do it for the kids.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    The General Lee jumps are an important bit of quantum theater that teach a timeless lesson: Stupid Hurts.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’m glad mine was a ’70, for some reason unsuitable for such needless destruction. It’s probably still rolling around Minnesota with the guy I sold it to 10 years ago.

    I’m not sure why the ’68s are for some reason better suited for General Lee duty. The round taillights just aren’t right. Whereas the the front grille/bumper treatment is much easier to convert into the ’69 look.

  • avatar

    Hollywood has very little knoweldge and respect for cars or bikes. Whether it be saying a Chevy has a Hemi or calling a Honda a Hog, its not a car town. I smile when I see they’re being car and cash concious when the character who drives a Hemi Challenger shows up in a Ford Crown Vic for a scene, I know the Crown Vic is about to be destroyed. I think they probably do it to save money, but there can never be too many Hemi Challengers in the world. I often wonder and hope that they respect cars enough to use a stand in for this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EySR2jdsHnU

    (its the Yenko Camaro Yacht jump in Fast and Furious)

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “a family-friendly series with a vaguely libertarian theme, non-stop car chases, a beautiful and capable female lead, a healthy nod to family values and stereotypes aplenty”

    Ha, it didn’t exactly start out that way.
    youtube.com/watch?v=EKtcPyyiYC8

    • 0 avatar
      Dave W

      I could never get past the screeching tire sound effects while driving on dirt roads long enough to notice the rest. Then 15 years ago my wife named her Jeep TJ “Daisy”. We never knew that part of the show, but lots of people let us know when they found out. Also heard stories of a kid in the local HS who got himself a 69 charger, painted on the confederate flag, then boldly painted in beautiful script “GRENREL LEE” over the doors. I wonder what his VT Yankee forebears would have thought of the flag, and the illiteracy.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Who cares? They’re common as dirt. Let’s lament the destruction of really rare cars when it occurs, cars like a Renault 14, Morris Marina, or Volkswagen 412.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Renault 14, Morris Marina, or Volkswagen 412”

      If they could hit the ramp at the same speed they’d probably fly a lot farther than the Charger.

      Or would they?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Are you suggesting TTAC stage a jump-off? Okay, then, we need volunteers to donate their R-14, M-M or VW-412, and let’s bring in Jack and Murilee to organize it. Maybe the jump-off could be staged in conjunction with the LeMons.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          It *would* be interesting to see if the 412 landed on its rump.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            I owned a 411 ‘squareback’, the 412 was even slightly uglier. Very well designed cars for the day, but VW had lost their ‘mojo’ by then. You could tell a mid 70’s VW because its brakes always squeeked. And electrical gremlins were starting to creep into their production process.

            To Jim’s point below. It was still a quantum leap better than the other cars that my peers were driving at the time, including Mavericks, Pintos, Vegas, Gremlins, Cortinas and some ratty old Firebirds.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            So what do you think, Arthur? Would the rear engine make a 412 land on its keester?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Renault 14”

      *yawn*

      “Morris Marina”

      the most amazing thing about ’70s British cars is not that they were worse than ’70s American cars, but *how much* worse they were. I’d take a Chevy Vega over any of the offal British Leyland sputtered out.

      “Volkswagen 412”

      LOL

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Well OMP with a full load of gas and a group of yahoos in the back, we nearly got mine to ‘pull a wheelie’.

        With the squareback/shooting brake/wagon model you had the full wagon, plus the front hood to store stuff. If my memory has not failed, I also believe that the back seat folded flat. The air cooled engined as you know was under the cargo area of the wagon. The spare (tire) in the front with the optional furnace style heater.

      • 0 avatar
        CarDesigner

        Funny, I had a ’71 MGB convert for 3 years that was great fun, handled and drove well, never had an electrical or mechanical problem. This was in 1979-81.

        Vegas became Monzas with different motors an less rust problems. Pintos were decent, reliable cars that were cheap to buy and maintain. AMC Gremlins were bigger, heavier short wheelbase Hornets that were real reliable and well built at a good price.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          So all of those horror stories regarding Lucas and Leyland and other British motors including MGB’s are incorrect? In my experience British vehicle ownership satisfaction is directly related to wrenching skills.

          Owned a Pinto. A hardy little cockroach but in no way well designed.

          Also a Gremlin. Did you ever try to fit into the back or put anything into its hatch? Or record your gas mileage?

          Monzas were an improvement on Vegas but then anything that did not shrapnel its engine was. However Monzas could be a nightmare when it came time to do any maintenance work.

          The Hornet was a good honest vehicle that reached ‘near perfection’ as the Eagle Wagon.

          In all respects the 411/412 was a much better designed auto than most of the above. More advanced engineering. The debatable issues would be crash protection with nothing ‘up front’, and the air cooled engine which has adherents and detractors and the inevitable VW dealer attitude.

          • 0 avatar
            CarDesigner

            I know the rep of BL cars, but I also know there are a whole lot of people that think maintenance is taking it to a shop when it breaks and have no clue about cars. Seem to have some odd accusations, with no justification, other than opinions or anecdotes.

            “Owned a Pinto. A hardy little cockroach but in no way well designed.” Compared to what contemporary? At what price point?

            “Also a Gremlin. Did you ever try to fit into the back or put anything into its hatch? Or record your gas mileage?”
            Did it do what all of these cars intended to do? And at an affordable price? Anyone but an idiot, would understand the limitations of the design, but the rear seat did fold down and worked well for what it was. For the time, the mileage was decent- NOT best in class. But it was a safer, bigger car.

            “Monzas were an improvement on Vegas but then anything that did not shrapnel its engine was. However Monzas could be a nightmare when it came time to do any maintenance work.”
            Ever work on a VW or Karmann-Ghia? Or any car from the last 15 years? Specious argument.
            “The Hornet was a good honest vehicle that reached ‘near perfection’ as the Eagle Wagon.”
            Actually, the Hornet Hatchback was better, and didn’t look like the old man’s wagon. It could haul people and stuff in an attractive package.
            “In all respects the 411/412 was a much better designed auto. More advanced engineering. The debatable issues would be crash protection with nothing ‘up front’, and the air cooled engine which has adherents and detractors and the inevitable VW dealer attitude.”
            You forgot the most important factor to the public- PRICE. VWs were always a lot more money in their size class, and you can only ride the “German Engineering” so far before it reveals that it has feet of clay too. You could have a nice Chevelle for the price of a Super Beetle, never mind any of the obscure variants…

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I was at Autorama this morning. This car they jumped is a decrepit piece of junk, not a realistic candidate for preservation or restoration. there’s multiple skim coats of Bondo on the fender, the windshield trim looks like it’s glued-on tinfoil, there’s multiple poorly-finished welds and pitting on the A-pillars, what’s left of the interior is a disaster, and so on. This is very likely something they have which is meant for these stunts, because it’s very clearly held together with chewing gum and duct tape.

    http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y332/jz78817/2CF1C4B5-33D5-4FFD-A078-3AD11B6CBF67_zpseccy19c3.jpg

    http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y332/jz78817/E72FA97B-A147-4FE3-83E5-91F9A6A37A3A_zpsjcqmcmhu.jpg

    they’re not mercilessly slaughtering ’69 Chargers left and right.

  • avatar
    CarDesigner

    BECAUSE they can!

    Most on here are way too young to remember or even know about the famous Hell Drivers of the ’30s-’50s that did the county and state fair circuit. Not to mention many race venues. Ever been to a demo derby? More Imperials got wasted at those than Chargers. There are several other groups like the NO Dukes, like Canada…

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I drive my 68 Dodge like it was meant to be driven. I fried the sure grip and put a Detroit Trutrac in it last month. Oh my, its not numbers matching. Oh well. When the AVS opens up and moans like it does and the back tires start to incinerate, like happens at least twice every time it gets taken out, I smile. Thats all that matters. Heated garages are not for me.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    I guess I am showing my age here, but when I think of “cool Charger on screen” I don’t think orange with a Confederate flag. I think all black with a hood scoop being driven by a black vampire hunter wearing a black long coat.

    In case anyone can’t figure it out, I am talking about Blade.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    How is it even possible for a Charger to succumb to a “frame-twisting death?”

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I visited Autorama today and saw this car. There really was almost nothing left worth saving–the body was covered in Bondo, the grille and taillights were actually painted and decaled sheet metal, the chrome trim around the windows was actually foil and the holes in the floors were almost enough for a competent mechanic to R & R the exhaust pipes from inside the car. I don’t like the destruction of a classic Charger any more than any of you, but under the orange paint, this car was well on its way to being scrap metal anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      That’s usually what I tend to read about General Lee’s and Fast & Furious stunt cars, they tend to be a bucket of bondo with a Chevy V8 welded into it. They use the nice cars for interior shots of grunting about family and yelling “They’ve got a tank! Say what?”.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the late 70’s I was shopping for my first car. Being from a mostly Mopar family, Darts, Valiants and Fuselage Chryslers I had a interest in buying a Charger or other B-Body. This was just before the Dukes of Hazard was introduced, a show I ended up loathing. Dumb plot lines, wrecking a fine car and the flag of treason are not my thing. I was always more of a fan of the Hollywood action movie. Bullet, Vanishing Point etc. as well as the TV detective genre Adam-12, Five-O, Dragnet.

    I ended up buying a 70 Mustang coupe which I did a fair amount of work on and kept it for a few years. When I needed some front upholstery work done I took it to oddly enough John Schneider’s dad who owned a auto upholstery shop in suburban NYC. Yes, he did fine work. These were the days just before Mustang restoration parts were being manufactured so there were no seat kits available, just fabric.

    I remember reading back when the show and movie were a thing the Charger Owners club would issue a statement castigating the producers for wrecking 30 odd fine vehicles. Sadly for them it was a lost cause.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Some might lament the airborne and exploding Panther Crown Victorias that are being destroyed in TV cop shows and movies. They are cheap and for years the staples of most law enforcement but they are being destroyed at an alarming rate and in a few years will be extinct. “Save the Whales” “Save the Crowns.”

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It’s been noted on YouTube for years that this stunt show uses some of the more worn-out Chargers left, we didn’t need an article 4 years later (that ignores this fact in a vein attempt to stir up emotions).

    For the record I prefer the 68 Chargers myself.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As far as appropriate use goes, I would say launching these cars off sweet ramps and effectively destroying them is better than purchasing and preserving them as appreciating assets.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    How about all the Imps that croked for that horrible remake of the Green Hornet? A damn shame I tell ya. It’s just metal- I know, but these are near 50 plus year old cars they are killing here. My niece is trying to break into movies and as I have an old boat, have been asked if I want to “loan” it out for filming (where period vehicles are required).. I haven’t said no but conditions do apply (still waiting on paperwork). God knows what they’ll do with it and how it will look once it comes home.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Because chicks dig it.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Why cant these people use a F150 ladder frame, Chevy 350, turbo 400 and hang repro panels off it? Looks the same.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    As a ’69 Charger was my very first car (and treated that way), I have a mixture of loathing for that TV show and personal guilt for not having been a better owner. In my defense, it was 1975 and it was a cool, not too expensive car that taught me about the realities of car ownership.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Late to this party, but as to your question: Why Do We Still Applaud the Destruction of 1969 Dodge Chargers?

    My answer: Why not?

    These things had bodies made of papier mache, and weren’t durable at all.

    Of course, this coming from a Chevy guy, so I never cared for Mopars all that much, except for the early Chargers and mid-60s offerings.

    However, I did like the Roadrunners!

  • avatar
    Dudebro

    If you scale it down to 1/10 size, it’s not so bad…

    Youtube: “General Lee RC Car Jumps 6 HD”

  • avatar
    JimZ

    and now, as they say, for the rest of the story:

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/entertainment/videos/a32758/autorama-dukes-of-hazzard-general-lee-jump-crash/

    “Kohn, an auto repair shop owner from northeast Ohio, put together this jump-ready Charger from a wrecked, unrestorable shell in just one week. While it may look like a convincing replica as it’s flying through the air, it’s not—the front grille and rear taillight panel are painted fiberglass stand-ins, as is most of the rear bodywork. The “chrome” window trim is aluminum tape, and as the car soars through the air you can appreciate the warped and crumpled bodywork underneath that safety orange paint.”

    but, since TTAC’s tagline lately seems to be “Never Admit You’re Wrong” I don’t expect this to be addressed.

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