If you loved cars in the ’80s, chances are you caught at least a few episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard. Premiering in 1979, the action/comedy TV series featured showy cars, attractive women, and thrilling escapades involving both. The series starred cousins Bo and Luke Duke and their modified 1969 Dodge Charger, the General Lee.
But the show also featured cousin Daisy Duke and her Jeep, Dixie. It became a popular prop after her first car, a Plymouth Road Runner, met a dramatic demise.
‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ in a nutshell
One of the most popular shows of the ’80s, The Dukes of Hazzard follows the Dukes’ efforts to foil the plots of a corrupt county commissioner, Jefferson Davis Hogg, aka Boss Hogg, and his accomplice, Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane.
Both the Duke boys are on probation for running moonshine, so they cannot leave Hazzard County, where they live, and can’t carry firearms.
However, Boss Hogg’s many get-rich-quick schemes — which often involve framing one of the Duke boys for a crime or trying to steal control of their family farm — force the Dukes into action. Just as often, the Duke boys stumble upon one of Hogg’s plots, try to thwart it, and find themselves on the run behind the wheel of the General Lee.
And sometimes, Hogg’s plans backfire, leaving him at risk. Because the Duke boys are fundamentally good, they try to help Hogg in these situations. But no matter what they do, they always find themselves on his bad side.
The Dukes usually seek out their cousin Daisy for help. Played by Catherine Bach, Daisy is naive, trusting, and charming. Often, she uses her looks to entice Hogg’s accomplices into giving up information. In fact, her usual outfit of high-cut denim shorts inspired the name “Daisy Dukes” for shorts of that style.
Daisy Duke’s signature car on ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’
Like the Duke boys, Daisy had a signature vehicle in the show. When The Dukes of Hazzard began, she drove a yellow 1974 Plymouth Road Runner with a black stripe. After the first five episodes, she piloted a similar-looking 1971 Plymouth Satellite Sebring. Why the switch?
According to Junkyard Life, the original vehicle sustained damaged during filming, and the producers could not find replacement parts for it. So they replaced it with a Sebring for the remainder of the first season.
Unfortunately for the producers, astute viewers noticed the two models’ key differences, including the wraparound front bumper encasing the headlights. Though showrunners used the Sebring in a few episodes of Season 2, they eventually wrote it off in “The Runaway.”
However, the car’s demise unlikely had nothing to do with Dukes of Hazzard fans noticing the differences between the two vehicles. Some speculate that the production company, Warner Bros., did not want the car to steal attention away from the General Lee, the show’s vehicular star.
In the episode, Sheriff Coltrane chases chasing the Duke boys as they flee in Daisy’s car. Suddenly, the brakes fail. According to IMDb, the boys jump out as the car drives off a cliff and explodes. When they share the news with Daisy, she chases them out of her house.
Daisy Duke’s new vehicle and famous denim shorts
Dixie was a 1980 Jeep CJ-7 Golden Eagle that had appeared two episodes earlier in “Arrest Jesse Duke.” In this episode, Dixie had no doors and sported an all-white paint job.
However, when Daisy Duke first gets her replacement vehicle, it has “Dixie” painted on either side of the hood and both doors, and it sports different paint. Regardless of the continuity error, Dukes of Hazzard producers didn’t expect Dixie to overshadow the General Lee.
However, Dixie became famous in its own right. Though Daisy was a supporting character with less screen time than the Duke boys, her all-white, doorless Jeep was a hit. Because of its owner’s regular appearance in short shorts, the doorless SUV gave viewers shots of Daisy’s legs. And because viewership skewed male, this version of Dixie was a hit with Dukes of Hazzard fans.
Still, despite Dixie’s notoriety, no part of the show was more popular than the General Lee. During its broadcast run, the series inspired fans to write to the producers and actors. The show received 60,000 letters each month, but most of them didn’t discuss the actors. Not even Daisy Duke and her long, tan legs prompted as many letters from fans as the General Lee. According to Screen Rant, 35,000 letters each month were about the iconic orange Dodge Charger.