This review contains spoilers.
I know that "Limo One Is Missing" ranks as a favourite with some fans. Personally, I don't hate it – there is far, FAR worse from the series (particularly in late seasons) – but for whatever reason, it never really did that much for me personally; there are other episodes in the (great) first season that I like better.
Probably the most notable thing about this story, is that it features Cooter's last real "wild man" act, before the character settled down for subsequent seasons. In these early episodes, we have seen him steal the Sheriff's patrol car (in retaliation for impounding his), run moonshine for Boss Hogg, and crash a "borrowed" motorbike into the Boar's Nest (after possibly breaking into Boss's house to retrieve a trophy). This final "wild" act witnessed in this episode, is more one out of child-like innocence – he just can't help but take the Limo for a little outing. But it is still a far cry from the more squeaky clean Cooter we would become accustomed to in following seasons.
...In a way, I did go on to miss this early, more unpredictable Cooter, unshaven and with long hair, and with a rough personality to match. But with Cooter "borrowing" the President's car being the basis for this story, personally it's one that I've never fully been able to get my teeth into and enjoy as much as some other entries in the series.
That's not to say it's a bad episode. If nothing else, it has a lot of charm and a great feel of fun, something which 'The Dukes of Hazzard' does so well when it's on form. It is also one of the most Cooter-heavy episodes of the entire show's run, with him being present with Bo, Luke and Daisy throughout. Even as a kid, I loved Cooter (and was disappointed when he became more of a semi-regular in late seasons), so any episode featuring him a lot is good with me.
In fact, the bulk of this episode revolves around Bo, Luke, Daisy and Cooter, a formula the show used occasionally, and one that I always liked (with Cooter being an "honorary Duke").
Also, being a first season episode, it is pretty light on featuring the General Lee – after the chase early on, with the Duke boys chasing the borrowed Limo and being pursued themselves by the agents, the General is barely featured at all (instead, we get a lot of scenes with Daisy's yellow Plymouth Roadrunner, something that, as much as I love the iconic General, I don't mind, as I also love the Plymouth). By the way, I hope this doesn't come across as sexist, but Daisy looks HOT in this episode. She was my first ever crush as a child! One of the most common Daisy photos, of her looking off into the distance, was taken during this episode.
So one things leads to another – the Dukes try to hide the Limo from Rosco and Enos while finding a way to return it (Boss wants to return it himself to the President), and somehow stumble upon Boss's chop-shop racket along the way.
Although 'Dukes' wasn't always the sharpest on plots, I did feel the whole chop-shop element could have been expanded on, as it never really felt to be fully thrashed out enough to work within the episode. But look out for the gate guard, played by Gordon Hurst, brother of Rick "Cletus" Hurst; you can see the resemblance!
The plot is fair, I suppose, but compared to some of the more interesting storylines of the first season, it feels more like one of the later examples from the show's life, with less solid plot, being more a series of ongoing incidents. Things at this point are also slowly starting to evolve into the slapstick shenanigans that would dominate many later stories.
All that said, this is a watchable, reasonably fun episode – and I enjoyed it tonight, watching it on DVD to review, much more than I expected to, not having watched it since my off-air recording many years ago now. I love the final scene, with the President phoning Uncle Jesse to thank him for returning the Limo; when the others ask him why he didn't invite the President to dinner, Jesse replies "probably bring his family along, and we only got six plates – and two of them are chipped". It is this kind of family-friendly charm that makes 'The Dukes of Hazzard' such a joy.
Although not one of my favourites, this episode has enough fun moments (and lots of Cooter!) to at least merit it an 8.5/10 in my book.