It’s been a while since I’ve seen a General Lee tribute car. After all, The Dukes of Hazzard has been off the air for over three decades, and its automotive star, a Dodge Charger, has ascended into collector status. Over the years, I’ve seen many General Lees, usually Chargers, but occasionally similar vehicles like Monte Carlos. But last week, I came across this rather unlikely example – a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant. Not only that, but the orange color? That’s not paint, it’s duct tape.
This isn’t the first time that a General Lee has made it to Curbside Classic – back in 2011, David Saunders found a Dodge Truck done up in full orange-and-rebel-flag regalia. That article ended asking whether readers have seen any unusual Dukes of Hazzard tributes. Consider this a response eight years later.
For folks who need a refresher, The Dukes of Hazzard’s automotive protagonist was a 1969 Dodge Charger nicknamed the General Lee, and painted in bright orange, with an “01” on the doors and a rebel flag on the roof. Along with Starsky & Hutch’s Gran Torino and Smokey and the Bandit’s Trans Am, this was one of the most recognizable entertainment-based cars of its time. And like the others, the General Lee spawned countless imitations.
Yet I can think of few odder cars for a Dukes of Hazzard tribute than a mid-size Japanese sedan. Early-2000s Asian sedans excelled at dullness – which was, of course, an attribute in many people’s minds, and the reason for these cars’ popularity. Dullness sells, though it’s not often the stuff that tribute vehicles are made of. And Mitsubishi had some success with this generation of Galant, selling nearly 100,000 of them in the US annually… a far cry from the trickle of Galants sold in more recent years.
The bright orange color was what first caught my eye here, as this Mitsubishi didn’t exactly blend in with the silver-gray-minivan-SUV ordinariness of its surroundings. Figuring that it might make an interesting picture, I swung by for a closer look, and then saw the unmistakable markings of the Dukes of Hazzard. Notice the Galant’s windows are down, too; I wonder if the driver climbs in through there instead of the door?
I assumed that the folks who own this car painted in themselves, and I couldn’t help noticing what looked like a streaky paint job. Very streaky.
It’s duct tape. And this is an awfully precise job of duct-taping a car… not that there’s many benchmarks to go by. Rounding the fenders, the tape was cut into 6” (or so) strips so that it wouldn’t crease, and those hood strips are remarkably straight. At first I thought this might have been an over-the-top prank, but this level of precision and detail is too remarkable for that.
I estimate a car like this would have about 250 sq. ft. of surface area (excluding windows), meaning that about 10-12 rolls of 2” x 60-yard duct tape ought to be enough – under a $50 investment, so it’s probably the cheapest way to color a car. But chances are this won’t age well. None of the tape here was peeling, and there was no dirt stuck to the edges, so it was probably done recently. I shudder to think about what this will look like in a few months.
Regardless, this takes the prize for the most unusual vehicle customization I’ve seen in a long time. I’d love to know the Who and Why behind it, though. And I wish the owner good luck with his creation – I just hope he doesn’t try any jumps in this Mitsubishi.
Photographed in Fairfax, Virginia in August 2019.