By HandSolo
So I looked through the Forum and other resources, but I could not find the exact cause of the T. U. Antenna AKA sniffer changing from a gray box to a red box. In the movie it was Gray, and when they refurbished the car for the video game they put a red box on. Was the simplification of paint in the cartoons to blame? Or, was there a more important reason? It was replaced by the buoy in Ghostbusters 2, unless it was in that scene at the beginning when they went to the birthday party. Does anybody know for sure?
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By robbritton
I think for the game it was simply a continuity oversight. (It has the gray box in the cut scenes, but the wrong wing mirrors, then a red box ingame, but the right wing mirrors!) if you want an in-universe explanation? I guess maybe they painted it when they refurbed back from Ecto-1A?
By HandSolo
That seems to be correct however, in "Ecto 1 resurrecting the classic car" on YouTube, at the 4:31 mark, they are using reference images that has an all red sniffer. It does not appear to be from the video game. It appears to be real photographs. Where are these photographs from? I wonder if it was a fan remake that they were then referencing? The in game car may have actually been based on the refurbished one. Maybe they finalized the cutscenes before the refurbishment was done but they made changes to the in-game graphics. And if they did change it in the game, why?
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By Kingpin
I think the sniffer box changing colour happened during the "spitshine" restoration in the early 2000s. Back then a lot of cheap fixes were made to Ecto-1, including spray-painting some of the chrome elements (it was during this restoration that the white shaft which held the red and white dome and motor assembly on the "A/C unit" were also painted black).

I suspect what happened is that someone assumed the whole sniffer was red, based on how it looked after years of deterioration in the California sun:


When the second restoration came around in 2009, a lot of the incorrectly painted elements were assumed to be how they had originally been, and were copied over when the car was refurbished. Here's Ecto-1's roof rack before it had been fixed up:


It's frustrating that despite the fact Ecto-1 was on the receiving end of a decent restoration effort, pretty obvious mistakes were made or kept.
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By groschopf
Sniffer box changes again to a weathered white and a slightly taller box on the 2020 cars...
I suspect it was a stylistic nod to the ubiquitous illustration of the Ectomobile used in books, stickers and various products back in the '80s:

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