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Why was the general lee doors welded shut?

The General Lee was the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger driven by the Duke boys in the popular TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. One of the most recognizable features of the General Lee was that its doors were always welded shut. But why were the doors on the General Lee welded shut? There are a few possible explanations.

To prevent the doors from flying open during stunts

The General Lee was known for its wild stunts on the show, like epic jumps and rolls. With the doors welded shut, it helped prevent them from flying open during stunt driving and potentially injuring the occupants inside. The welded doors added structural rigidity and strength to help the car hold up to repeated stunt work.

Easier for the Duke boys to jump in and out

With no doors to open, it was quicker and easier for Bo and Luke Duke to rapidly jump in and out of the General Lee as needed in their adventures. This also streamlined the action sequences and car chases when they needed to make a fast getaway or exit.

Doors were damaged and replaced

It’s estimated that over 300 Chargers were used through the show’s run to film all the General Lee stunts. As the doors took damage or cars were totaled from jumps and wrecks, replacement doors from other models may have been used for repairs and cobbled together. Welding the mix of doors shut created a uniform look.

Appearance continuity

For continuity in the show, the General Lee had to look the same in all scenes. But with multiple General Lees being used for filming, welding the doors shut ensured they all looked identical despite being different cars.

Welding was cheaper than functioning doors

Since the doors didn’t need to function for filming, welding them permanently shut was likely a cheaper and easier solution than engineering working doors. This kept production costs down as many cars were created for the show.

Prevented thieves from stealing it

When the General Lee wasn’t being used for filming, it still needed to be stored securely to prevent theft. With the doors welded shut, it helped deter potential thieves from being able to quickly enter and hotwire the car to drive away.

Created an iconic look

While practical for filming, the welded doors also gave the General Lee an instantly recognizable, iconic look as Bo and Luke Duke’s muscle car. It created a unique identity and style for the Charger that has endured over decades as a classic TV car.

Safety reasons

With all the wild stunts and jumps, welded doors reduced the safety risks of a door flying open during a roll, ejecting the occupants. It created a stronger protective shell and prevented accidental openings.

Other TV and movie cars have had welded doors

The General Lee isn’t the only famous TV/movie car to have had welded shut doors. Other vehicles modified this way for filming action sequences include:

  • The A-Team’s black GMC van
  • The red Ferrari from Magnum P.I.
  • The DeLorean from Back to the Future
  • The Dodge Monaco blues mobile from The Blues Brothers


So why were the General Lee’s doors welded shut? While definitely done to facilitate stunts and action sequences on The Dukes of Hazzard, permanently sealing the doors also created an iconic look for Bo and Luke’s orange Charger that made it instantly recognizable. It enhanced the car’s identity in a way that still resonates with TV fans decades later. And the welded doors are a big part of what established the General Lee as one of the most famous on-screen cars of all time.

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