By ESpengler84
#4923954
Information on the Pre-Ecto or Black & Grey Primer Car.

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Hopefully I can shed some light on the story around the infamous ambulance which was used as the pre-Ectomobile.
A few years ago I was able to talk with the first owner of the vehicle, Roger, who is a really interesting guy.
Originally the pre-ecto a 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor Futura was an ambulance used by the Bellwoods Rescue Squad No. 486. Bellwood, Illnois a suburb of Chicago.

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Roger purchased the vehicle in November of 1982. Around that time he was a paramedic for a private ambulance company in the Chicago area. The vehicle was rented (not sold) to Sony for the filming of the 1984 Movie. He was also present during the filming of some of the scenes in New York City. A green light which was added to the passenger side can light serves as recognition of Chicago area emergency vehicles.

When the first Ghostbusters movie was released, Roger actually drove the grey primer car to a local drive in movie in June of 1984, and photos do exist showing the car which was seen in the movie at the drive in. Those photos were online at some point and might still be, but I don't recall where.

Roger owned the vehicle for a few years after that, eventually it was sold to a downstate paramedic and car collector- Ed? There are newspaper articles which reference Ed as the owner at one point, and he was involved with ambulances and emergency services. Later the black and grey primer car was sold and as of 2012 the vehicle was in a private car collection and in storage in Illinois, still sporting its original look from the film. I do know where the car currently is, and it is not on public display. I am purposely not including the last names of the owners because we don't need people calling them asking about the car.

The car was never acquired by or sold to the film production company (Sony) or turned into an Ectomobile for promotional use.

Vehicles that have been suggested to be the primer-Ecto are the Volo Museum Ecto-1 which started life as a 1960 M+M, and also the Star Cars Museum Ecto which may be possibly be the Mosen Ecto which was acquired by George Barris?
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By BRD 527
#4923984
Thanks for posting that I had read before it came from Illinois its interesting to know where exactly it came from :idea:
User avatar
By Alex Newborn
#4924008
Roger's pics and story of the car are still online, though he hasn't updated that page since July of 2001.

I started to include the link, but as it gives his last name at the bottom of the website, that would undercut your attempts to preserve his privacy in your original post.

His email address is on the site, too. When Roger provided a pic of the Primer car's prop New York license plate to a Lego YouTuber last year, both Derek Osborn and I did some internet sleuthing, independent of one another, and emailed him separately. He responded at first, but then his replies to both of us trailed off, so I agree it's probably best that we don't have a bunch of folks contacting him on the same old topic.

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EDIT: I originally included the link to the YouTube video, but upon giving it another view, the narrator gives out Roger's last name as well, and it's fairly simple to track Roger down from the info in the video, as Derek and I both found. In lieu of the link, I have instead included a frame grab of the photo Roger sent to the YouTuber.

Then again, that video has been up since last Hallowe'en and has been viewed by 4,000 people, and a lot of us GB fans were sharing it on social media when it dropped, so in one sense the cat's actually been out of the bag for a while.

Alex
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By Alex Newborn
#4924031
Indeed, there's an existing thread on this very forum where last November our moderator Kingpin mentioned Roger's full name, and linked to both Roger's 2001 gallery of pics and the YouTube video.

Alex
User avatar
By Kingpin
Moderator
#4924049
Indeed, there's an existing thread on this very forum where last November our moderator Kingpin mentioned Roger's full name, and linked to both Roger's 2001 gallery of pics and the YouTube video.
Not anymore. :blush:

Out of respect for recent developments, I've excised the links to the webpage, the video, and the reference to Roger's surname.
User avatar
By Alex Newborn
#4934678
I thought I'd dust off this thread because two days ago (Mother's Day) Roger surprised the Ghostbusters Vintage Collectors group on Facebook with never-before-seen pics of the Pre-Ecto that finally revealed the driver's side deco! He liked the enthusiastic response so much that he continued scanning and posting more pics, and I don't think he's done yet.

Some minor points may contradict earlier details reported in this post, but I am citing Roger's most recent recounting of the events.

I'll try to put these in chronological order as much as possible. Roger only found this one online recently, of the car when it was still in service in the western Chicago suburb Belmont between 1968 and 1981.

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Source: http://www.dwfd.org/about-dwfpd.html?fb ... btC6b6hjzE

Notice the seats visible through the open door. When I asked on Mother's Day about the interior upholstery color of this red-and-white car, Roger replied that the vinyl was "of all things, baby blue."

Next, a pic of exactly how it looked when Roger and his then-girlfriend Annette first laid eyes on the car, in a lot on the south side of Chicago, December of 1982. [Some of these pics were seen on his old Geocities webpage, but they were tiny and the site wants to infect your computer with viruses now so I am not going to link to it. These newly scanned pics are much higher quality anyway.]

"59 Cadillac, Make Offer" says the shoe polish on the windshield.

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Roger was approximately twenty years old, working as an EMT at the time and says he was 'hypnotized' by it. A couple of days later he made purchase and his father helped him get it home.

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Amazingly enough, before Ghostbusters was even a thing, Roger thought the car needed to be photographed in black and white in front of a former firehouse at 2100 W. Eastwood, which was then being used as a fire prevention bureau. [Nod to Lars Karlsen for pointing out how prescient this imagery of the arched firehouse doors was.]


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Around September of 1983, the EMT company where he worked was contacted by someone at Columbia looking for a '59 Miller Meteor as the 'before' car for a movie, and Roger rented it to them for four months. The deal was that it would be transported to Los Angeles in October for the filming, but it was first trucked to NYC for the exterior shoot ("You can't park that here!") before going to LA for the interior shoot of Dana's first entrance into the firehouse. Roger remarked on 5-12-2020 that the car went from Chicago to NYC to LA and back to Chicago, and only had 94 additional miles on its odometer.

He used some of the rental money to pay for his own trip to NYC in October of 1983, where he encountered the 'after' car parked on the street but did not get to see it being filmed.

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He did however get to watch the filming of the 'Hittites' scene at Lincoln Center, and has some pics of Reitman, Sigourney, Timothy Carhart, and Bill Murray.

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And even those two guys who were always skating in the background!

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(Roger said he had no idea at the time what the movie costumes were going to look like, and thought Bill Murray "looked like a janitor!" in this scene.)

He said he was very surprised to see that Columbia had painted his car black and grey, which had not been part of the deal, but they gave him a second payment to cover the price of painting it back the way it had been.

The car was returned to Roger in February of 1984 with some damage to the rear end as if it had been backed into a wall. You may have seen this pic before, but never in this good of resolution.

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Note the prop license plate put on the car for filming. As of 2018, Roger still had this plate and provided a pic of it to a YouTuber named cutthekragle who had built a Lego MOC of the pre-Ecto.

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And these were the three new pics that Roger revealed for the first time on Mother's Day, generating considerable Facebook buzz, since this angle is never depicted in the movie. (And apparently the Johnny Lightning release is now revealed to be inaccurate.)

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I tried to make a collage, crudely:

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The next day Roger posted this pic, saying it is the only photo he has of the entire driver's side of the car.

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The hand-made logo on the door is from when Roger and his then-girlfriend Annette took the car to a drive-in for opening night of the movie in Wheeling Illinois, June 15, 1984.

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No one knew what the odd-looking car was before the movie started, but he reports many people came up after it was over, to ask if it was the same one they'd just seen briefly on the big screen. There were even a couple of folks who walked over during the movie to ask about it, who Roger said were probably stoned.

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When asked on Facebook about the green roof light, which was allegedly only ever used by Chicago, Roger replied, "The car saw service in the Chicago area, but didn't have a green light until I added it. It was a tribute to Chicago FD even though I was not trying to replicate a Chicago rig."

In March of the next year, Roger and Annette got married. In fact, he shared the bulk of these photos yesterday on their 35th wedding anniversary, tagging her in most of them. She loved how enthusiastic everyone was about seeing the car they'd loved so much.

Roger sold the car in 1988 to a paramedic in downstate Illinois. When asked if he still knew the VIN, he said he's tried to use the VIN # a few times to track it in neighboring states but had no luck (he wasn't always an EMT, he later became a police officer, and is now retired).


Alex
Last edited by Alex Newborn on May 15th, 2020, 7:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
Ecto-1 fan, Ectotainment, cmcanall and 4 others liked this
By cmcanall
#4934687
Excellent summary Alex! The photos and stories shared on Facebook by Roger were a delight to see and read. You can tell he still has a passion for this car, even though he sold it decades ago. I'm glad he's finally sharing his memories with the community.

An aside, given that we've known for the past year or so that the Ecto formerly owned by Bob Lintz from Rocky River, Ohio was not the pre-Ecto-1, do we know what that car actually was? Did Columbia actually make a promotional car or is that also a lie created by Lintz for self-promotion? And was George Barris involved in the building of that Lintz car, or was that another lie?
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By 69428scj
#4934766
Excellent summary Alex! The photos and stories shared on Facebook by Roger were a delight to see and read. You can tell he still has a passion for this car, even though he sold it decades ago. I'm glad he's finally sharing his memories with the community.

An aside, given that we've known for the past year or so that the Ecto formerly owned by Bob Lintz from Rocky River, Ohio was not the pre-Ecto-1, do we know what that car actually was? Did Columbia actually make a promotional car or is that also a lie created by Lintz for self-promotion? And was George Barris involved in the building of that Lintz car, or was that another lie?
It's certainly possible Bob Lintz said all that to sell his car. Since I was a big proponent of the Pre-Ecto/Primered Ecto becoming the former Lintz Ecto and have now happily been proven wrong, I'm willing to bet the studio went and found another MM (much like they did for Afterlife) and had Barris convert it, IF the Lintz story is to believed. I know I've seen a picture of high-top '59 Barris supposedly converted, that's where he lays claim to having built the car for the movie.
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By 69428scj
#4934812
Well, here's a picture of Roger's with the caption, "I was excited to learn that the Ectomobile was going to be on display in Bellwood, Illinois in the fall of 1985. Then I got to see it and realized that this high-top version was some kind of replica". I think this is the Barris replica

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=102 ... 3649651081
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By Alex Newborn
#4934837
Roger's wife has loved everyone's reactions about the car pics on social media, so she went and found some from her own camera back when they were dating. Here's another pic of the rare driver's side.

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A pic from the front, with the prop license plate, when Roger first got the car back from the movie company. Note one of the roof lights was missing at the time, but he believes it must've been inside the car since he was able to repair it for the drive-in premiere seen above.

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And as 6942scj posted, they also had a pic of a high-top replica that toured Illinois in the fall of 1985. This is a slightly boosted version of that photo which I ran through an auto-correct.

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They've also scanned more pics from visiting the set in NYC, including the filming at Lincoln Center, the Ecto parked nearby, and even the taxi from the "Let's not dawdle!" scene.

He's prepping to make a video now, too. I can't wait to see it.

Alex
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By RichardLess
#4935408
God damn that’s a beautiful car.

Thank god they decided to paint it white.

Also...as somewhat of a lay person on some of the names given here, what’s the story on these individuals named Barris & Lintz & the lies they have been telling?
User avatar
By Kingpin
Moderator
#4935409
George Barris, known as the "King of Kustomizers", was a car customizer whose most notable work were the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman series, the Beverly Hillbillies’ jalopy, and the Munster Koach for The Munsters.

Barris has also (sometimes with murky wording) indicated he was involved in the design and/or creation of Ecto-1, the DeLorean time machine, K.I.T.T., Black Beauty, and The Monkeemobile (to name a few) - suggestions/claims which has been described as misrepresentation by a number of professionals over the years, as noted in this article on Yahoo News, and in a cease and desist issued by Universal Studios in 2007.

The only Ecto-1 he has any legitimate claim to, was the replica that was on display at the Volo Auto Museum (sold by the museum in 2007).

Further reading on Barris, with particular notation of his claims: George Barris: Iconic TV Carbuilder's Career Not Without Blemishes

I'm not particularly familiar with Bob Lintz or the particulars of his Ecto-1 replica.
By 69428scj
#4935423
Bob Lintz is (was?) a gentleman who lives (lived?) in Rocky River, Ohio. He owned a replica that for many years I believed to be the primered Ecto. His story was he purchased his Ecto from the studio after they stopped using it as the touring version of the car. He sold it in the early 2010s.
User avatar
By JWils23
Supporting Member
#4935467
This has been a great thread to follow, I love the original pictures. Some of the pictures of ecto on the streets of NYC during filming are so cool. I can’t imagine what it would be like seeing it around the streets in 1983 and wondering what the hell it was. Thank you all for your contributions to this one!
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