As a young child in the era of The Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider, I quickly learned that a car is sometimes the biggest star of a show. I absolutely idolized the flying orange car that you know as the General Lee.
In my mid 20s, I was able to purchase a 1969 Dodge Charger. Determined to restore it and replicate a screen accurate General Lee, I spent countless time and money rebuilding the car to appear exactly as it had on TV so many moons ago.
One day, after more moons than I care to admit had passed, my General Lee was finished.
…well, except for one last detail. (Did you see this coming?)
I called phone number after phone number, searching for any clue to any person to produce the correct “Hazzard County CNH 320” license plate for the rear of my car…with no luck.
Once I realized that there was nobody out there to produce this 6" x 12" piece of metal that I needed...the very last piece to my project, I took matters into my own hands.
I went to a surplus auction and I took a risk: I invested all of my money into a license plate stamping machine from the State of Indiana.
Now, I didn’t know the first thing about producing license plates. So I received a few crash courses from companies in Georgia and Tennessee. Now that I had the machine and a couple weeks’ worth of knowledge, it was time to find out how “Hollywood” plates are produced.
Over the summer of 2000, I traveled to California and visited countless prop houses to gain an understanding on prop license plate production. Movie and TV plates are quite different than the state registered plates we drive around on. They are often made of cardboard and flimsy metal. These plates may appear on some of the most famous and expensive vehicles of all time, but they are actually very cheap.
I knew my metal stamping plate machine could do better...not only for my General Lee, but also for the fans of these shows!
Armed with the correct font and sizing, I produced my very first metal stamped, screen accurate license plate for my General Lee. At last my car was complete, bumper to bumper!
This one license plate spawned what is now known as Celebrity Machines…
After the Dukes of Hazzard plates, I started taking requests from fans all over the world on which replica prop plate to produce next. We currently offer 150 different license plates. The plates are made from aluminum, stamped/embossed, screen printed, and then shrink wrapped for protection.
Each plate is researched (a bit obsessively, to be honest) and designed with our #1 goal in mind: Screen Accuracy.