Austin, Texas' GTO club took action and found us a Pepper Green GTO on a used car lot for $1,600. We bought it and began making it look as much like the No. 1 car as possible, right down to the black vinyl top and rear spoiler. The GTO club and good friend John McHenry worked all-nighters until the second GTO was completed. Both GTOs portraying The Judge were delivered on a transport truck to the production lot in Austin with hours to spare before the deadline.

In the meantime, Rick and Jerry heard from other local GTO guys that my GTOs should not be used in the film, as they were not real Judges. Rick's comment was, "The camera does not care what the buildsheet says, only that they look the part in charismatic Orbit Orange instead of boring Pepper Green or Bamboo Cream," the colors of the cars that these local GTO experts were offering.

So there you have it. James had himself written into Dazed and appeared in many scenes. He also discovered how boring and repetitive it was to make a movie, as the cast and crew toiled night after night to film three or four minutes of usable footage for the final cut. I ended up very tired as Dazed requested we bring as many as 10 or 12 cars at a time to the various shooting locations, which we did. I appeared in some of the drive-by shots and can be seen (with a wig on) sitting behind the wheel of my Fontaine Blue '65 Catalina 2+2 in the Top Notch Drive-In scenes in the film.

Eventually the main scenes were shot and the fun was over. There was only one thing left. Rick decided that my triple-black '68 GTO needed to be his. Thus, after filming the insert footage to make it appear that the convenience store fast getaway scene used a Hurst Dual-Gate shifter (which was in the black '68 GTO, not the '70 GTOs ), Rick asked if we would sell him the '68 GTO. The answer was easy. We sold it to him for exactly what we had paid for it.

Just as the earlier touchstones Two Lane Blacktop and American Graffiti inspired Rick to make Dazed, the actors and actresses were not well known, but in the fullness of time, they became household names: Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Rory Cochrane, Marissa Ribisi, Afam Goldberg … the list goes on and on. Even a little-known gal by the name of Renée Zellweger was in the movie as an extra—no screen credit was given to her minor role.

In the end, the Dazed movie experience was a lot of fun and the adventure of a lifetime for James and me. I even have a screen credit at the end: "Special Thanks To Pat Sullivan."


Movie Madness

Here's more fun facts about the Dazed and Confused GTOs:

No. 1 "Hero" Car No. 2 "Stunt Double"
455 H.O. engine 400 engine
Automatic transmission Four-speed transmission
Granada Gold Pepper Green original color
Basecoat/clearcoat paint Single-stage paint
Formula steering wheel Deluxe wooden wheel
Side mirrors Side mirrors
Vinyl top; press-on trim Vinyl top; original-style chrome trim

Note: The young actors had a hard time mastering No. 2's four speed—stalling the engine numerous times before the production crew mounted the GTO on a trailer and towed it around to film the scenes. There was also a funny instance when the actors were shown just how totally the No. 1 car's 455 H.O. could incinerate a set of tires and create mountainous clouds of tire smoke.


Dazed and Confused No. 2 GTO Survives

A recent thread in The Lobby of the Performance Years (PY) website forum mentioned that the No. 2 GTO used in Dazed and Confused is owned by Cole Hastings of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We'll let him take the story from here.

"The [Dazed] GTO was advertised in Hemmings Motor News (Aug. '97). I bought it sight unseen out of Gretna, Louisiana. It had been recently restored, which included a new 455, clutch, paint, and interior. It looked sharp but still had issues. When the enclosed carrier arrived, the GTO was stuck in gear, and the brake lights and turn signals were inoperative. I ended up crawling underneath it and manually knocked the linkage out of gear so it would roll off the back of the truck. Afterwards we had to install a new turn-signal switch, brakelight switch, and new shifter bushings, which helped some, although, it would still occasionally hang up between gears.

After a few weeks of easy driving, the 455 spun a main bearing. It was supposedly a new engine, but not knowing its history, I opted to replace it with a period-correct '70 455. Within a few months, I had the M20 Muncie rebuilt as well. The car has since driven thousands of miles, including two round-trips from North Carolina to Arizona, and Oregon to Arizona twice.

Over the past decade, it's been treated to a new vinyl top and headliner, paintwork, and a rebuild of the front suspension. It's a very nice driver GTO that always attracts a good bit of attention."