Friday, August 23, 2013

The complete Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line: Series 7 and Beyond

Let's take this thing home.

Back in March I started a journey to write about the entire Dukes of Hazzard line released by Johnny Lightning throughout the second half of the 2000's decade.  I consider this line one of the most important aspects of Modern Era Dukes of Hazzard collecting.  It shows how popular the franchise still is with the large number of different cars released.  In the last few years, the prices of these cars have really spiked as they continue to grow in popularity.  In this final post of the series, I will look at the last four cars to be released in the line, as well as four others.

Series 7, the final series in the line, was released in late 2008.  Like Series 6, it only had four cars in it, two of which were new to diecast and also one monster truck.  The package design is similar to Series 6.  The only difference is the additional item.

The back of the package no longer has a check list of the cars in the series, but neither did Series 5 or 6.

After the last few releases of scuffed, dirty, movie, and ghost versions of the General Lee, Series 7 has a standard General Lee.  It is almost exactly like the version from Series 3, which was perfect, expect this one does not have tiny black dots in the center of the wheels.  So, basically, this one or Series 3 is the perfect rendition of the greatest car in the history of mankind in 1/64 format.

Series 7 finally saw the addition of Lucifer to a Dukes line.  Lucifer was driven by Amy Creevy in the season 1 episode Luke's Love Story.  It raced against the General, as well as Cooter's Camaro and Enos' Race Car.  Those two cars were released in Series 1 and 3 respectively.  With Lucifer, you could now reenact that race.  We have already seen Cooter's Camaro in 1/18 scale.  It is my guess that this car gets the 1/18 treatment before long.  I may have mentioned that once or twice before.

Next in the series is Cooter's Chevy Pickup.  Cooter was seen driving this truck in the season 2 episode Grannie Annie as well as others.  Looking back on the line, Cooter has gotten a lot of love.  There are four cars dedicated to him. Nice job, Ben.

The final car in the line is another beast called "The Dukes of Hazzard Monster Truck."  They already did a General Lee monster truck in Series 5.  This is is more like what a Dukes fan would do to his monster to show his love for the show.  Or maybe the studio would promote the show at a monster truck rally using this big guy.  I like the show logo front and center on the hood.  Having two monster trucks in the line is a little overkill.  But I won't complain about getting another Dukes car out in the world.  This monster truck is the only car in the entire line not to come with a pack-in extra.  I guess there was no room for it.

Speaking of the extras, the three standard size cars in this series came with production design cards.  They show all the angles of the car, the colors used, and the decals.  They even have insider information like the design department, DoAllSer Artwork Design Department and made by Tom Zahorsky.  Tom is a bigwig at JL and has been building diecast cars for years.  I read that he worked on nearly all the 1/64 General Lees.  These additions are quite different than the magnets and stickers from the other series.  They are a cool look into the production of the cars.

When the line was finished, it was feared JL was done with the Dukes.  But I don't think JL/Tomy/Ertl will ever be done with our favorite franchise.  There have been several cars released after Series 7. 

We all know Cooter's Place is the center of the Hazzard Nation.  They sell more Dukes items than anyone else.  They have several exclusives and this is one of them.  Released in 2010, this Cooter's Garage Panel Delivery truck is packaged as part of Johnny Lightning's standard series 7.  The package makes no mention of Dukes.  But you could only pick up this version at Cooter's Place.  It was available for a limited time, and wasn't cheap.  Probably one of the rarest Dukes JLs that is not a white lightning.

The car used throughout the line for the Hazzard County Patrol Cars just wasn't right.  The correct car is a 1977 Dodge Monaco.  JL finally planned on making the correct car and made a big deal about announcing it.  They held an event and invited Ol' Rosco, James Best, to attend.  They sold this preproduction model at the event.  It was too far for me to travel, but I was able to get my hands on one.  A nice low production number too, 8 of 60.  The car says "James Best" on the back fender and includes an autograph in the package.  It is a really cool piece.

The actual car came out later in 2010 as a part of Johnny Lightnings's JL2.0 line in Series 2.  It came on a card designed like those in the Dukes line, but in standard blister packaging, not clam-shell.  It is by far the best diecast of Rosco's Patrol Car.  The lightbar looks great, and the body is perfect.  As soon as it was released, it became hard to find.  The price has gone up steadily since.  I'm not sure why it is so rare and worth so much, but I'm glad I bought several when they first came out.

I guess you can't have Rosco in your standard line and not have the General.  This car came out in 2011 in Series 8 of the JL2.0 line.  It has the same package as Rosco's.  It is nearly identical as the release in Series 7 and 3 of the Dukes line, but the wheels are all wrong.  In the Dukes line, the wheels got better and better as the line progressed leading to as perfect as 1/64 wheels can be for the General Vector Wheels.  But these took a huge step backward.  It is disappointing that JL let this happen.  If you only want to buy one JL General Lee, skip this one and go for Series 3 or 7.

In the last few years, Johnny Lightning has made TV and movie cars that are not labeled as such and are sort of snuck into thier lines.  Examples of this have been Joker's purple Goon car and the cars from Deathproof. They slid a Dukes car into their standard Forever 64 line in 2011 with Hogg's Hellcat.  Though not exactly like the car seen in the season 7 premiere, it was four-door. This is obviously a representation of the car the Boss drove against the Duke Boys in "Happy Birthday General Lee."  It is a lighter diecast and does not feature rubber tires, but it is a welcome addition to the collection.  I hope JL slides a few more cars like this into their other lines.  

With nearly fifty different cars in the Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line, it is truly one of the most important aspects of all Dukes collecting.  We are fortunate that JL dedicated so much effort to our hobby. With the newer JL 1/18s being released, the Dukes diecast world hasn't slowed down.  Let's hope we get more 1/64s in the future.  But it is a little hard to believe we got all these cars, and no Boss Hogg's Cadillac.

Previous JL Dukes Series:
Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6

This has been a fun series of blog posts.  Let's see what other Dukes things I can write about....  


  1. I Still can't understand why the wheels are crap on all the 1/64 scale actually the only one to have the wheels close enough is the1/18 autoworld! I just don't understand why!

    1. I don't know about crap. I think none of the manufacturers are as dedicated to the car as the collectors.