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10/21/03

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Alabama Celebrates 10,000 "General Lees"


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (DPI) - He was lucky enough to be the 10,000th person to think of it. A local man has been recognized for painting his 1969 Dodge Charger in the bright orange "01" paint scheme popularized by the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. According to Alabama motor-vehicle records, there are now 10,000 such cars registered in the state. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley smiled as he presented Tuscaloosa mechanic and chinchilla rancher Billy Ray Berber with a certificate commemorating the milestone. "It's sumthin' I've wanted to do since I was just a teenager," said Berber. "But it's only recent-like I could afford the paint and masking tape and all. Next year, I may even get me a horn that plays Dixie." According to nationally renowned classic auto appraiser Brett Styles, the price of an original, unmodified 1969 Charger has risen dramatically in the last few years. Some can fetch prices exceeding $100,000 depending on the engine, whereas the value of those with the famous orange paint job has remained steady "at around nine hundred bucks."

(Reported by Brad Osberg)




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