Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex|
|Occupation||Company transportation, Franchise ambassador|
The Ectomobile is the name of the vehicle the Ghostbusters use to transport themselves and ghosts to and from busts. The car is also known as the Ecto-1 after the license plate seen in the first movie and Ecto-1A for the license plate seen in the second movie. The car is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex which is company lingo for limousine-style hearse/ambulance combination. It is painted white and red separated by a Miller-Meteor exclusive trim option called "Flite-Fin". A Ferno-Washington Model 22 gurney holds the 4 proton packs inside for easy access. While never explained in the movies, the interior and roof rack contain various items that are believed to be radar, infrared sensors, computers inside, and for the 1A, a satellite uplink.
There is no reference to the actual name of the car in the movie, however The Bus Boys in their song Cleanin' up the town refer to it as the Ectomobile. The name Ecto-1 comes from the license plate seen when the car exits the firehouse during the Ghostbusters' first call. The Ecto-1 makes celebrity appearances from time to time regarding Ghostbusters-related events, including the re-release of the movie into theaters in October 2011 and the debut of the Ghostbusters slot machine at an Arizona casino. It can currently be found on the Sony studio tours back lot.
The Ecto-1A is the "upgraded" version of the car as seen in the first movie. The roof rack is taller, has more lights and has scrolling billboards on the side of the rack. The car also sports yellow and orange reflective tape with white-letter tires and babymoon hubcaps for a sportier look.
The lightbar used on the Ecto-1 is a Code 3 Force 4 XL lightbar, while the Ecto-1A uses two different model lightbars, one being the Code 3 XL and the other bar used being a Whelen Edge 9000 strobe bar.
The red beacon on the Ecto-1 is a Federal Signal Model 19 "Propelloray". The Ecto-1A uses a Code 3 model 550 red beacon on top of the rack which is still readily available for purchase. The 1A also uses an amber beacon in the grill. This beacon is a Code 3 Dashlaser.
Both of the Ectomobiles use two different types of strobe lights. The strobe on the roof rack for both cars is a Whelen HRDF-200. Also used on the Ecto-1 bumper is a Grimes anti-collision strobe. The 1A sported the Whelen version of the anti-collision strobe on the bumper which is also the HRDF. The HRDF has since been surpassed by the HRFCA.
Both cars feature a Unity brand model S6 spotlight, but the Ecto-1's has an optional mirror as part of the light housing. They also use 4 par 46 (6" diameter) deck lights. The 1A also features a directional arrow stick, a Code 3 AS-10 and an indeterminate model third brake light. Although it is not a light a Federal Signal C5GB coaster siren is used on the Ecto-1.
The roof rack on both cars is made from 1" square aluminum tubing painted black. On the Ecto-1, the rack is supported by four 3"x3" square pedestals placed over the factory roof reinforcement bars. To keep the rack from sliding off these pedestals, there are locking pins placed in each. For the added weight of the Ecto-1A's rack, two metal straps were placed on top of the roof and anchored by 8 carriage bolts on each strap.
The Ectomobiles both contain various interior components. There are no interchangeable parts between the two cars. The pieces found in the Ecto-1 are avionics while the 1A focuses on different surplus items. There is little known about the interior pieces of the 1A other than what can be seen from pictures.
Real Life Vehicle History
All total there were three Miller-Meteors used for the two movies. There was a primered version and a refurbished version for the first movie. The refurbished version makes an appearance in the second movie, which is upgraded later on, however the upgraded version is itself a completely different vehicle.
The first iteration of the Ectomobile seen in the movie is primered. In real life, the vehicle has served the greater Chicago area for many years as an ambulance with a red with white roof livery when it was rented by Columbia in September of 1983 from a man in Chicago. After production completed, the studio purchased the car. After the purchase, the car was turned into a promotional vehicle by George Barris' customization shop which toured the country to promote the movie. After the tour completed a man in Rocky River Ohio purchased the car. It has since exchanged hands and is now in Virginia. The car is easily identifiable by the red interior.
The refurbished Ectomobile also served as an ambulance in real life however much less background information is known other than it was painted a shade of brown, possibly called Desert Rose in Miller-Meteor parlance. The 4 deck lights were also original to the car and retained in the final design, however the bulb color was changed from red to blue. This car came with the Ferno-Washington gurney which was used in both movies. This car was restored in 2007 after sitting outside for 18 years and currently attends promotional events for the movie. When it is not touring, it can be found on the Sony backlot tour, parked next to a Black Beauty from the movie The Green Hornet.
Even less information is known about the upgraded Ectomobile. Currently there are no pre-production pictures or documentation known to the fan community. After production of Ghostbusters II, the car went on a promotional tour to various Hardee's restaurant locations throughout the country. Once that tour was complete, the car was displayed at Universal Studios Orlando where it remained until approximately 2004, when it returned to Sony studios. This car also was to be restored along with the completed Ectomobile, however executives at Sony nixed this idea. The car currently sits in storage in a Sony back lot and is not accessible to tours.
The Ectomobile is one of the most recognizable movie cars of all time. Many people, especially around Halloween, attempt to build their own with varying degrees of success. The most replicated version is the Ecto-1 as the most information is known and readily available. Very few people attempt to replicate the Ecto-1A as this car has more gadgetry that is more difficult to find and create a proportional looking rack. Most replicas are made from newer-than-year-1959 professional cars, which groups such as the Professional Car Society and the National Hearse and Ambluance Association frown upon due to the rarity and value of these cars.
There are a few people who own '59 Superiors, who while not owning the correct Miller-Meteor, enjoy much success as a credible and easily mistakeable replica. There are also a very select few who own the correct model. Both Superior and Miller-Meteor owners are generally held in high regard due to the extreme rarity of finding such a car and the expense of restoration in addition to attention to detail in regards to staying true to the movie car.
While professional cars are usually the choice for some, there is a large contingent that have converted their personal vehicle into an Ectomobile. Examples of such cars are Dodge Magnum and Ford Taurus station wagons, a Hyundai Tiburon, a Chrysler 300, a Ford Mustang, Honda Civic, Nissan Pathfinder and Pontiac Aztec. Most of these owners take artistic license with the appearance of their vehicle to fit their vehicle type, personal style and build budget.
There were many conceptual versions of what the Ectomobile was to look like, ranging from a limousine length taxicab to a 1970 Landau style hearse. After the '59 was chosen, the original paint scheme was to be black with purple lights. Production Designer John De Cuir noted that it would be difficult to see the car for the night shots with this color scheme, so it was changed to the iconic red, white and blue color scheme.
Both Ectomobiles were on the verge of being sent to the crusher when Keith Hargrove suggested that both cars be restored for the premiere of the upcoming release of the Ghostbusters video game. The first attempt at a restoration of the Ecto-1 included painting most of the chrome silver, new paint on certain roof rack pieces and a freshening up of the graphics. The car was moved to the back lot to around 2005 for inclusion on a tour. After about 2 years, the Ecto-1 and 1A then moved to Cinema Vehicle Services where true restorations began.
The supposed cost of this restoration was $250,000 just for the Ecto-1. Which, while money well spent, has not stopped the car from being neglected. In October 2011, the Ecto-1 was loaded onto a Reliable Carriers car transporter to attend the re-release of Ghostbusters to theaters. During either loading or unloading, the passenger side of the car was placed too closely against the inside wall of the transporter and caused paint chips and and denting. As mentioned previously, the car once again sits outside exposed to the elements. Even with the mild southern California weather, eventually this car will require another restoration within a few years time.
Sadly, the Ecto-1 does not appear today as it did in the movies. There have been many alterations. The front light bar had been removed sometime before the second movie began as a picture of the 1 and 1A together indicate. The bar that is current on the car does not have the correct mounting bracket or rotators and is wider than the original. Other modifications include different graphics on the roof rack, the blue hose brackets being moved toward the front and the rear light bar and roof rack being moved forward. Pieces of the roof rack are not painted correctly such as the Sniffer Tower box. Originally this was a gray color but is now red, and the entire top piece of the Sniffer Tower is on backwards. The motor and the mounting bracket of the HVAC box was originally white, but is now black. The C5GB siren is still painted silver and has not been rechromed. The Propelloray is missing its red lens and no longer spins. The radome pedestal was painted white in the movies, but is now black and is missing one of its antennae.
Many collectible Ectomobile toys were made, a few of those include the Kenner Ecto-1, Ecto-1 Soap Holder, Kenner Ecto-1A, FujiFilm Ecto-1A, AMT Ecto-1A Model Kit, McDonald's Ecto-1 Bicycle Siren, Johnny Lightning Ecto-1A, Polar Lights Ecto-1 Model Kit and ERTL/Joy Ride Ecto 1.