TMCP #478: Buddy Cram’s Dream Business: From Full time NASCAR to Full Time “General Lee” Builder!

FEATURE INTERVIEWS:

Buddy Cram – General Lee Chargers:

 

Buddy Cram restored General Lee

Today’s guest is Buddy Cram. He might just actually be living the life I thought was too good to be true: he operates a business called General Lee Chargers, and their one and only mission in the world is to build General Lee’s for Dukes of Hazzard loving fans! While that’s cool, Buddy’s background in NASCAR – and love of MOPAR – both combined to bring him to turn a childhood desire into full time business. He’s currently building his 56th customer car, and two more are already on order! Here’s the story behind the story.  

Buddy grew up around cars and held a passion for racing since he was young. Some of this may have been fueled by our favorite TV show, the Dukes of Hazzard. The car he drove in high school was (you guessed it) his parents 1969 Charger. He lived in the NorthEastern United States and owned a body shop, but it was on a trip to North Carolina that his life changed directions in a massive way.

His brothers had both moved to North Carolina to work in NASCAR. On a visit there, Dale Earnhardt himself met Buddy and convinced him to come sell his business, move to North Carolina, and chase his dream in NASCAR. Long story short, Buddy followed Dale’s advice!

He moved around to different teams and eventually was in charge of some very high powered racing programs as Director of Operations. He even helped bring Dodge back into racing with Ray Evernham in 2001, which for Buddy was the pinnacle of happiness. He loved NASCAR, loved Dodge, and loved what he was doing! He later moved to work for Richard Petty at Petty Motorsports, which was another dream come true. Unfortunately, the recession of 2008 affected NASCAR in a serious way….and the new ownership of Dodge dictated their pullout from the sport. Buddy eventually decided it was time for him to leave as well. 

Kevin and Buddy Cram with a General Lee

“When you’re flying by the seat of your pants, nothing sounds better than a Plan B.” – The Balladeer

Buddy was always into the Dukes of Hazzard and he really wanted his very own General Lee. In 2005 – while still living his days in NASCAR – he finally stopped wishing and determined himself to build one. At the first outing of his brand new General, he was approached by someone who said they just had to have his car! They guy said to think about it and give him a price. Of course Buddy did not want to give up his new found price and joy, so he gave the guy a price that one would have thought he would refuse. Very soon he was looking at a pile of cash and an empty spot where a Charger used to be.

Not one to sit around, he quickly spent most of the money buying another car and a can of orange paint. When he got his number two car done he decided to try something just for grins, he posted it on eBay. It may have lasted fifteen minutes before someone hit the buy it now button and he was once again without a General Lee.  He started building another one and has turned it into a business that has kept him and his family busy.

Everyone has different features that attract them to the iconic orange Dodge. Buddy has found out from experience that each persons concept of what constitutes a General Lee can vary greatly. Of course I asked (from an extensive list)  what was the most popular choices for things like seat color, roll bar style, sealer color and more like any good Dukes geek would. He makes each General tailored to the customers wishes and no two cars are exactly alike.

If you would like to know more, you can check it out on Facebook.com/General-Lee-Chargers or if you are serious about filling your Dukes of Hazzard dreams you can call him at (704) 245-3200 or emailgeneralleechargers@gmail.com.

Thanks Buddy for letting me geek out on General Lees!

-Rob Kibbe

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Kibbe’s New Invention: The Magic Tee

The Magic Tee!

And now for something completely different. Rob and his buddies spent the last ten years creating, designing, testing, investing, patenting, and everything else it takes to bring a new product to market. It’s called The Magic Tee….and it’s for baseball and softball training. Seriously. It has nothing to do with cars at all….but the process of bringing a product (and business) to market is something we all need to know about. The full story is in this episode….and by all means, visit www.magictee.io and buy one for everyone you know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!

National-Parts-Depot

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