Monday, May 4, 2015

New 1/18 Happy Birthday, General Lee Diecast From Auto World

Spring is here and so are new Dukes of Hazzard products!  Our friends at Auto World have just released this beautiful 1/18 black Charger known as the Happy Birthday, General Lee.  There have been black General Lees released in 1/18 before, but this is truly the Happy Birthday, General Lee we've been waiting for.

We all know that the final season of the Dukes of Hazzard started with the "Happy Birthday, General Lee" episode.  The season seven premiere tells the story of how General Lee first became a  member of the Duke family.  Before he was bright orange with numbers and flags, he was a plain black Charger.  Unlike previous black General Lees, this car is not a chase version.  Chase cars are special editions that come in the same box, but this car has its own specific box that describes the car as Happy Birthday, General Lee.

The back of the box is different from the standard General Lee as well.  The other two Auto World 1/18s had the standard Dukes description that was also on the General Lee. This one is specific to the episode.

The box has pictures from the episode that include an action shot of the pre-Gen'ral tearing up the back roads, a picture of a young (non-yellow shirted) Bo behind the wheel, and a picture of the Charger being used in a robbery.

There is also a nice description of the episode and the particular car.  Hey look, AW said this is the car we've been waiting for, too.

The doors actually open on this one.  They weren't welded shut yet.

The actual diecast is a beauty.

In my opinion, any 1969 Charger just looks funny if it's not painted orange with 01s on it, but I'll let this one slide, because it will be orange.  Auto World used the highly detailed tooling on this car and it really shows.

The biggest difference between this release and the previous black General Lees released by Ertl and Johnny Lightning is the wheels.  All of the other releases had the distinctive General Lee Vector wheels, even though the Charger didn't have them before it was "Generalized."  Auto World took the extra step to get the details correct.  That's why we love Auto World.  The previous releases were also the standard 1/18 body, where this is the highly detailed one.

The CNH 320 license plate is improved upon from the AW General Lee.  It now looks 100% correct.

If you've read any of my reviews of 1/18 General Lees before, you know that I don't like the front plate used on the General.  It wasn't there on the show.  This car has a bracket for a plate, but, thankfully, there is no plate attached.  The lights flip open like on a real Charger.

The engine compartment is as detailed as you would expect from AW.  They don't mess around.

The trunk is also detailed and has a fabric lined floor.  It is a different color fabric than what was in the AW General Lee.  Maybe Cooter installed a new floor after the Dukes rescued the car.

The interior is beautiful.  You can see it better because the doors open.  They don't open on the AW General Lee.

Auto World outdid themselves with the interior of this car.

I can't be certain, but I don't think there is a tiny bag of gold dust hidden behind the instrument panel of the car.  There might be, but I can't be certain.

Let's compare the new Happy Birthday, General Lee to the much loved Auto World General Lee.

The wheels on the General Lee are the best representation of the Vectors in 1/18 scale.  The standard wheels on the black Charger really make it look right.

If I found the car in front at a used car dealership, you better believe I would make it look like the car in back.

AW got the CNH 320 plate exactly right on the new car.  It just didn't have the detail on the General Lee.

The instrument panel has a black background on the General Lee.

It is all tan on the Happy Birthday, General Lee.  It can be seen either way on the show.

The Happy Birthday, General Lee has been released previously in 1/64 and 1/144.  The 1/64 release was a part of Johnny Lightning's all encompassing Dukes of Hazzard line in series 2.   The 1/144 car was a chase car or special edition that was not listed on the back of the card.

The new car utilizes Auto World's new box design that has the standard brown Dukes design as well as the red stripe on the left of the box.  The AW General Lee predated the new design.

You can see all the angles of the car from the box.  Perhaps this would help someone in the store decide if they want to purchase the car.  The fact that it exists made me want to purchase it.

I like the standard Dukes and General description on the General Lee box, but really like that AW gave more detail about the Happy Birthday, General Lee.

This is the fourth release in the Auto World line of 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard cars.  Besides the two Gen'rals, they've also released the Hazzard County 1975 Monaco Police Car, and Daisy Duke 1971 Plymouth Satellite.  I sure hope we get more wonderful 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard goodness from Auto World.

Here is a look at the recent Dukes of Hazzard standard releases in 1/18.  Johnny Lightning brought us the Double Zero Mustang and Cooter's 99 Chevy Camaro.  There have been a few special editions like White Lightnings, White General Lees, and JL's Rosco car as well.  I love 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard.

Way back when the first 1/18 General Lee was released, a chase black version also appeared.  It had the pushbar, roll cage, and Vector wheels.  There have been a few more releases since.  Here are the first and more recent editions of the black General Lee.

Things have changed in the Dukes of Hazzard memorbilia world quite a bit since the first black General Lee was released.  Great job on this one Auto World.  I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next!


  1. I was just lucky enough to stumble upon the original chase version of General Lee at a ToysRus when first released.
    It is still by far my favorite GL because it was the first black version and is so extremely rare (in box still). I also found the race day primered version in store, I love that one too.

    1. That is a nice one. I found mine in a Family Toy Warehouse at regular price. Those kind of things don't happen anymore.

  2. I love all the Dukes vehicles, but what Auto World needs to is make all of Cooter's tow trucks and Uncle Jesse's pick-up truck also to the collection.

  3. Thanks for your post... I also likes the general lee car. I hope one day have the beauty black general lee.

    Heber garcia (from México)