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'General Lee' auction retry stalls

After $10 million bid falls through, actor John Schneider put the car back on eBay. This time, there was one bid and no sale.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Undeterred after a seemingly winning eBay bid of nearly $10 million fell through, the owner of the "General Lee" decided to try again.

Actor John Schneider, former star of the "The Dukes of Hazzard" show in which the car was featured, saw the first bid fall through after the alleged winner claimed his on-line account had been hacked. But Schneider's luck was no better the second time around.

This time, bidders in an eBaymotors.com auction of the 1969 Dodge Charger were carefully pre-screened, but still, there was no winning bid. The auction ended at 9 p.m ET Wednesday with just one bid of $100,000.

Since that amount was less than a pre-set minimum for which Schneider would have agreed to part with his car, the auction did not result in a sale.

After problems with the last attempt to sell the car on eBay, Schneider, the actor who played Bo Duke in the series, didn't take any chances. He hired a company that specializes in pre-screening auction bidders.

Auctionwire, the company that worked with Schneider, required bidders to prove they had the funds available prior to bidding and also required a bank's guarantee that the funds will be paid out at the end of the auction.

The car will be auctioned at least one more time, though, Schneider said.

The "General Lee" will be put up for auction at Barrett-Jackson collectible car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. in January, 2008, Schneider said.

"I do expect the car to sell for a very respectable amount of money with these guys at the wheel!" said Schneider in an email to CNNMoney.com.

Because of the confusion over the last eBay auction, Schneider said he did not expect the car to garner much interest this time. He put the car on eBay again, he said, only because he felt obligated to give it another try.

The car being auctioned was a modified 1969 Dodge Charger that appeared as the General Lee in "The Dukes of Hazzard."

The car had been further modified since its TV career and now has a 725 horsepower Hemi motor, Dodge Viper brakes and a roll cage, all of which allow it to race at more than 200 miles per hour.

During filming, the show typically went through several cars per episode during its 6-year production run in the early 1980s.

Ordinarily, a production-used General Lee would be worth about $150,000 to $200,000, McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance, a collector-car insurance company, said in an interview before the end of the car's first auction attempt.

About 20 of those are known to exist in reasonably good condition. The opportunity to buy the car from "Bo Duke" himself would add some value, he said.

In the first auction, which ended May 4, bidding for the car went up $9,900,500.

But the winning bidder, William Fisher, maintained that someone else placed the bids in his name after gaining access to his eBay account.

"Of course I have no plans to pay, because I didn't place the bid," an individual claiming to be Fisher wrote Thursday in an e-mail to CNNMoney.com. "I just want this to all blow over, which I'm sure it will."

An eBay spokeswoman said there was no evidence that Fisher's account had been hacked.

"Our Trust and Safety team has been following this listing closely," said Catherine England of eBay in an e-mail. "They've assured me that the bidding activity from the winning bidder on the General Lee listing was legitimate and there is no evidence to suggest that the bid may have resulted from a compromised account."

Recently, the vehicle had a central role in a limited-release film produced, directed, and distributed by and starring Schneider. The actor decided to auction the car in order to finance a production of a sequel to that film.

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