Scalextric 1/32 1969 Dodge Charger 'General Lee'
|KIT #:||C 3044|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The General Lee is the automobile driven by the Duke cousins Bo and Luke in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. It is known for the chases and stunts, especially high jumps, in almost every episode, and for having the doors welded shut, leaving the Dukes to climb in and out through the windows. The car appears in every episode but one ("Mary Kaye's Baby"). The car's name is a reference to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and indeed the vehicle embodies the Southern United States, bearing as it does a Confederate Battle flag on its roof and a horn which plays a bar from the song "Dixie".
The idea for the General Lee was developed from the famous bootlegger Jerry Rushing's car, which was named for Lee's favorite horse, Traveller. Traveller was also the name of the car in Moonrunners, the 1975 movie precursor to The Dukes of Hazzard.
During the running of the show, I was out fighting against the Red Plague and so never actually saw (and still haven't) a complete episode of the show. It is typical late 1970's US television, which is to say it is bad (though not as bad as most of today's fare). However, Daisey Duke was a fetching morsel and it was neat to catch a few of the trundles through the weeds from time to time.
Last year, Scalextric (a Hornby company just like Airfix), announced it would be releasing a 1969 Charger. Unfortunately, due to licensing fees, it would only be released as a stock vehicle in the US, while the General Lee was going to be sold elsewhere. Naturally, I was dismayed. As much as I didn't like the TV show, I thought the car was pretty neat. Thinking that my only option would be to get it from overseas and pay the exorbitant shipping costs as well as higher prices, I was quite delighted when my favorite discount slot car dealer announced he would be importing a case or two of these. I immediately put in my pre-order and it soon arrived in the mails.
The car itself is very nicely done. The orange is the right shade and the interior looks quite convincing in the proper tan along with one of the Duke lads behind the wheel. The car includes the roll bar in the interior and the CB radio mast on the trunk. Since the car had cast wheels, they are not as shiny as the chrome ones on the Scalextric car, but some clear matte or even repainting with one of the various metallics will take care of that.
The chassis is quite reminiscent of that which is under the new Scalextric Camaro, though it is longer. The same tires fit this one and once the photos were taken, the magnet was removed, a bit of weight added to the front and the rear tires replaced with Maxx Trax M9s. The car is a bit more 'tippy' than the Camaro, but turns pretty close lap times on my Scalextric Sport track. Perhaps more weight will help the handling, or perhaps just changing my driving style will help. Either way, there is room for improvement.
I'm actually quite pleased with how this one turned out. I was expecting some sort of 'fall over with the greatest of ease' car like the two Carrera olde time NASCARs that I own. Though not as easy handling as the Scalextric COTs, it is no slouch. I can hope that these will catch on so that Scalextric will do NASCAR versions of this and some other similar cars from Ford and Dodge.
A whole lot more about the General can be found at
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