Ecto-1

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Ecto-1
Born Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex
1959
Bellefontaine, Ohio
Occupation Company transportation, Franchise ambassador
Years active 1984–present

General

This vehicle was purchased by Ray Stantz for the relatively high price of $4800 (over $9400 when adjusted for inflation) in a poor state of repair. In Stantz' own words, it needed "suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end (interrupted by Venkman inquiring as to the aforementioned price), new rings, mufflers, and a little wiring..." It is assumed that Ray continues listing needed repairs after this scene cuts away.

After the necessary refurbishing, it was used to carry the team's ghost-capturing equipment, as well as transporting the Ghostbusters throughout New York City. It has a distinctive siren wail that was created specifically for the movie. Its features include a modified gurney containing holding the proton packs, which facilitates a quick retrieval without the complication of having to reach into the vehicle. There are also various gadgets mounted on the roof rack, whose function is never revealed in the movies. The book Making Ghostbusters describes a deleted scene where a police officer places a ticket on the Ecto-1 only to have it instantly burn to ashes. 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 https://casinoscroll.com/. This slot machine was unique. You can say the prototype. Its creator is a fan of the film of the same name. This machine is still functioning and gathers crowds of fans.


Equipment

Light Bars

The lightbar used is a Code 3 Force 4 XL 48" lightbar, Model #9000 SAE-W3-79. The Force 4 XL is no longer produced, and it's replacement, the XL 5000 will cease production at the end of 2012. The blue lenses for the lightbar are still available from Code 3, they are part number: S22003M. An inquiry to Code 3 on 11/12/09 showed these run $256 each. They recommended to locate a local distributor for a lower price as the manufacturer has to sell them at "list price" only.


Beacons

The red beacon is a Federal Signal Model 19 "Propelloray". This beacon is very similar to the Federal Signal Model 18 "Solaray" except the Propelloray uses a smaller diameter light and spins while the Solaray oscillates up and down. Federal Signal ceased production on the Propelloray sometime in the 1950s and are very difficult to find. 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 appears to be either a Code 3 E-10 beacon or Code 3 Dashlaser.


Strobe lights

The Ecto-1 uses two different types of strobe lights. The strobe on the roof rack is a Whelen HRDF-200. This model has been replaced with the modern HRF-CA. The type of lens used is an IS1 series 120. Also known as model A470, this complete lens assembly is part number 11-03291. The other strobe used on the bumper is a Grimes anti-collision strobe and can be found under part number 30-0504-1. The Grimes company now exists as a subsidiary of Lockheed-Martin and no longer produce these stobes. They are still available through various aircraft parts resalers, however usually sell for well over $300 a piece. These strobes can also be found from time to time on eBay for much less.


Other lights

The Ecto-1 features a Unity brand model S6 spotlight with an optional mirror as part of the light housing. The 1A also has the same model spotlight, however does not have a mirror. To properly mount this light on the car, part number 138L must be used. Both the S6 and 138 are still available from Unity, however they do not offer a housing that includes a mirror. Both versions of the Ectomobile use 4 deck lights. These lights are size par 46, which is a 6" diameter. Currently Grote offers this style of lamp housing via their website.


Roof Rack

The roof rack on both cars is 72" and 36" wide, however the heights are different with the Ecto-1's rack being 13.25" in the front and 14" in the rear. Two yellow A-6 oxygen tanks used by World War II-era fighter planes and bombers are fitted to the driver's side of the rack. The rack also features a schedule 40 PVC pipe that is 53" long and has a 6" inner diameter. The rack also features a 6"x9" radome and a 18" diameter quarter hemishpere radar dish mounted to a saw mandrel at the rear. There is a large heat sink toward the rear of the rack and two smaller heat sinks mounted to the front face of the wooden box portion. The 1's rack also include a Texas Instruments Cross-Section Sensitivity Unit variant ASR-5. This is the metal box on the passenger side above the green storage tube. There is also an HVAC box with blower fan, the Propelloray, C5GB and HRDF. The most noticeable piece of this roof rack is the Sniffer Tower. This is the piece with the white base and red tubes and is a custom made part by the studio. Therefore it is not readily available without having dimensions to accurately produce.


Interior

The front passenger compartment of the Ecto-1 contains only four parts. The first is a police scanner made by Regency, model ACT-R 20/6. The second piece is is dummy load antenna, model 525 made by Gentec. The third part is a five-panel panoramic rear view mirror. Finally there is a citizen's band radio made by Midland, model 77-859. All of these parts save the mirror aren't produced anymore but do appear on eBay everyonce in a while and are available from various surplus electronics retailers from time to time.

The rear compartment contains the bulk of interior pieces. Working from the front of the car toward the rear the parts are as identified:

  • Unknown manufacturer Sono Channel ASA-20
  • Unidentified computer/aviation interals parts sitting on top of the partition
  • PRC-41 Radio with H-33 handset
  • Skinner Precision Industries Polynoid 7-rib linear acuator
  • Linaire JT-22 input/output tester
  • Tektronix RM561A Oscillscope
  • Lear Siegler Inc. Astronomics Division Model BGM 340
  • Honeywell 6000 Series MPC panel
  • Random Lockheed box with "LAC Model A042" sticker
  • Telefunken SB-329 AR radio control head unit
  • Unknown manufacturer Initial Condition/Longitude part
  • Unknown manufacturer GRC-10 receiver
  • Martin Marietta UHF Signal and Power Distributor
  • Unknown manufacturer AN/AQH-1 AN/UNH-6 Sound Reproducer Set
  • Ferno-Washington Model 22 Gurney


Real Life Vehicle History

All total there were two Miller-Meteors used for the first movie. 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 Lantern.


Replicas

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 other-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, Pontiac Aztec, Subaru Outback and XV Crosstrek. Most of these owners take artistic license with the appearance of their vehicle to fit their vehicle type, personal style and build budget.

Trivia

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.

The Ecto-1 wa on the verge of being sent to the crusher when Keith Hargrove suggested that the car 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 moved to Cinema Vehicle Sevices where a true restoration began.

The supposed cost of this restoration was $250,000, which while money well spent, has not stopped the car from being neglected. In October 2011, the was loaded onto a Reliable Carriers car transporter to attend the rerelease 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 causeed paint chips and and denting. As mentioned previously, the car once again sits outside exposed to the elements. With the harsh southern California weather, eventually this car will require another restoration within a few years.

Sadly, the Ecto-1 is no identical as it appeared in the movies. 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 longer than the original. Other modifications inlude 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.