What’s it like to drive the GENERAL LEE CHARGER?

When I reached out to some friends to find a unique car for this last weekend’s Wheels and Waves car show, I got a host of suggestions. We wanted something that would be fun for people to see, and we had a lot of ideas. 

But through that process, and knowing that this is Hollywood, the idea of a film car solidified.

A friend suggested that one of the most iconic movie cars ever is the General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” And knowing a lot about that car due to the fact that I interviewed the creator of the show on my show, it seemed a fitting car for a tiny Hollywood town. So, I was put in touch with Dave Joseph, owner of www.galleryjosephs.com, a business for representing and framing museum-quality fine art.

Dave and Steven Joseph are father and son co-owners of a nearly perfect 1969 Dodge Charger General Lee. Steven is 29 years old and started watching “The Dukes of Hazzard” re-runs in 1997, when he was 10. He started collecting Dukes memorabilia and convinced his dad to build (or find) a completed 1969 440 Charger General Lee.

According to Dave, the first one was purchased from a guy in Tennessee and was a “bucket of bolts.” It had to be returned. 

“After a year passed and we were no longer gun-shy, we found a builder in San Diego and gave him a deposit to build us a perfect General Lee,” Dave said.

“He was behind on getting his cars built for others, and was having difficulties. We got the car incomplete about halfway to go and invested a lot if time and money to get it to where it is today. We love it so much and have made many friends going to Starcar Central events (our club) and shows that we wouldn’t sell it for a million dollars.”

Most General Lee cars are variations on the original, although the originals were spray canned with orange paint and crashed not too long after. To find or create one as a perceived perfect version is pretty rare. 

But Dave goes on with more cool info: “My boys Derek and Steven, are special needs and very loving guys. As a family, we have bonded when we do events as we did at the Hollywood Christmas Parade this last holiday. Steven was smiling like a Cheshire Cat, waving at onlookers lining Hollywood Boulevard and the Red Carpet. 

“Halfway through the parade, the Dixie horn blared. ‘Dad you’re too heavy on the Dixie horn,’ said Steven. I had to replace the compressor as I had blown it out by sounding off too much. But it was worth it to see the smiling and laughing faces while we passed by.” 

In regards to the Confederate flag, Dave hasn’t gotten one bad vibe or comment in 11 years. And being a point of contention for some with the flag, we can in this town especially see that this car is simply a film character and no different than any other. And underneath that skin lies a classic that just about any car guy would dream of having.

Big thanks to Dave for visiting us and bringing his hero car. 

This begs the question, What is your favorite movie car? Leave me a comment on my website and we may bring it to the next show!

Leave it to Beaver TONY DOW Malibu CARSHOW! – FMV570

Photo Thumbnail: Scott Martin

Fireball’s WHEELS AND WAVES goes off at The Malibu Country Mart with Celebrity Guest TONY DOW from Leave it to Beaver. An amazing array of Art Center Designers show up including Freeman Thomas (Ford), Frank Saucedo (GM) and Derek Jenkins (LUCID).

About Tony Dow from WIKI… Tony Lee Dow (born April 13, 1945) is an American film producer, director, sculptor, and television actor.

Dow was born in Hollywood, California, to John Stevens Dow, Jr. (1908–1987), a designer and general contractor, and Muriel Virginia Dow (née Montrose) (May 27, 1906 – April 30, 2001), a stunt woman in early Westerns and Clara Bow’s movie double in Hollywood. In his youth, Dow was a Junior Olympics diving champion. He won the role of Wally Cleaver in a casting call with almost no previous acting experience.

Dow acted in the series until it ended in 1963. After that, he appeared in the television series My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, Mr. Novak (five episodes in three different roles), The Greatest Show on Earth, and Never Too Young. From 1965 to 1968, he served in the National Guard, interrupting his acting career. On his return to acting, he was a guest star in the television series Adam-12, Love American Style, Knight Rider, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys, and Emergency!.[3]

During the 1970s, Dow continued acting while working in the construction industry and studying journalism and filmmaking.[4]

In 1987, he was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Wally Cleaver.[5]

Dow’s most recent screen appearance was in the 2003 film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.[3]

He has been married to his wife, Lauren, since 1980. They have one child and two grandchildren.

Dow is best known for his role in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. Dow played Wally Cleaver, the elder son of June (played by Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (played by Hugh Beaumont) and the brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers).