Kelly Ransom has been a Dukes of Hazzard fan since he was five years old. “That was the one night a week Mama would let us eat dinner in the living room,” Ransom said. In fact, Ransom has been dreaming of owning his very own General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger, for years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he started seriously looking into purchasing one.
In July 2010 he ran across one for sale on eBay and the car happened to be in Hendersonville, TN. Ransom said the owner had fallen onto some hard financial times and needed to sell. The owner, Gary Dull, had taken a soft top and slowly transformed it into a replica of the General Lee. The car has the same motor – a 383 – as the real cars used in the show. It also has a three-speed 727 Torquefite transmission, 383 Richmond gears, 8-3/4 sure grip rear axle and “official issue” decals from the Confederate General Lee Fan Club.
Ransom said only 12 General Lees survived the popular late 70s-early 80s show… the rest are replicas.
Ransom, being very community-minded, brings the General to kid’s birthday parties, schools, fundraisers and other public events. “I like to have fun with it,” he said. And unlike other General Lee owners, Ransom doesn’t charge a fee to bring his car out… but he said he won’t turn down gas money! The car gets a whopping 12 miles per gallon.
Monday, April 18 the General found a temporary new home at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The car is part of a 14 vehicle ‘American Muscle Car’ exhibit which runs through Father’s Day weekend in June, however the General Lee will only be on display until May 26. Several hundred Allen County school children will be awaiting its arrival back to Scottsville on May 27 for an event, and Ransom doesn’t want to disappoint the kids.
The 1969 Charger is the first Dodge to be displayed in the Museum. Ransom said “I’m so happy, yet so sad… I’m gonna pretend it is like summer camp.”
Other cars on display include a 1970 Buick Grand Sport Stage 1, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport Convertible, 1970 Pontiac Ram Air IV Trans Am, 1968 Pontiac GTO, 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible, 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS, 1968 Shelby GT 500, 1969 Javelin SST, 1970 Dodge Challenger, 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and 1966 Plymouth Belvedere. The display is in the Museum’s Exhibit Hall.
The National Corvette Museum is open daily, 8am-5pm Central Time and is located at 350 Corvette Drive, just off I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. For more information call 270-781-7973 or visit www.corvettemuseum.org.