October 31, 2023
Who You Gonna Call?
The infamous song, with its beloved line, “who you gonna call?” instantly evokes the energetic response “Ghostbusters!” and elects a vibrant smile as fans sing along to Ray Parker Jr.’s iconic tune. In order to transport the fantastic group of ghost catchers, they relied on the famous Ecto-1, a vehicle crafted from a 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor ex-ambulance. The world-renowned Ecto-1 wasn’t the only variation of the world-renowned ghost-busting machine; a sequel introduced the updated Ecto-1A, continuing the legacy of these supernatural sleuths.
The front of Ecto-1A in all of her glory
On July 10, 2022, I found myself at the culmination of my yearly journey through the city of Lethbridge, Alberta, attending the finale of the annual Street Machine Weekend. This spectacular car show unfolded at The Galt Gardens in downtown Lethbridge, drawing a crowd of over 500 collector cars. Among the many noteworthy vehicles in attendance, there was one that stood out in a league of its own. The Ectomobile, or Ecto-1, known for its distinctive appearance and paranormal allure, arrived with its distinctive lights aglow, instantly capturing the attention of all in attendance.
The tail of Ecto-1A in all of her glory
The Ghostbusters II (1989) Ecto-1A remodel quickly became the star of the show, captivating the attention of every attendee. Determined to secure as many photographs of this extraordinary vehicle, I worked tirelessly to beat the crowd and the addition of any display pieces that would soon adorn the car as part of its presentation.
Front fender detail of Ecto-1A
My efforts paid off as I managed to capture the front of the Ecto-1A perfectly, just before the car was swarmed by attendees eager to snap pictures with their smartphones. It took approximately fifteen minutes in total for me to complete a full walk-around of the car. For over ten of those minutes, I stood at the back of the car, hoping to get that one perfect shot amidst the enthusiastic crowd.
Shooting from a higher angle to help see more of an overview of Ecto-1A
The Ecto-1A had previously been featured as part of the Houston, Texas Mecum Auction earlier in the same year and found its new home with its eager ghost-busting caretakers. Intriguingly, these new owners decided to bring their spectral-chasing treasure to the Street Wheelers show after being convinced by some friends in the province who had witnessed the show’s incredible nature firsthand
The owners even brought out their Proton Packs to showcase for everyone!
The attention to detail displayed by this Ectomobile was undeniably exceptional, racing a level that would delight any fan’s wildest dreams. Adorned with an array of gadgets and gizmos, the vehicles lightbars and intricate details closely mirrored those of the original Ecto-1A. Remarkably, this replica may stand as the sole Ecto-1A example in existence today, showcasing the dedication and craftsmanship of its creators
The attention to detail on the roof and lightbars was astounding
The original Ecto-1A’s history and fate tell a sombre story. After its role in Ghostbusters II and the conclusion of promotional events for the film, the iconic vehicle found its way to Universal Studios Orlando, where it was put on display for all to enjoy. Regrettably, the Ecto-1A suffered due to the lack of adequate borders to surround the vehicle. Visitors climbed across and into it, stole props, opened doors, and, at one unfortunate point, even smashed the windshield. These incidents prompted the removal of Ecto-1A from public view, and it was placed into storage, where the passage of time eroded its condition further.
Added humour in the form of bumper stickers, along with hidden details were scattered throughout Ecto-1A
Originally, there were plans to restore the Ecto-1A to its screen-used glory, but this endeavour was eventually abandoned. Instead, the vehicle would eventually be repurposed and meticulously restored, giving it a second chance to carry on its ghost-catching legacy.
The iconic 1959 Cadillac fins were just a sight to behold on their own
In an interview with production designer Francois Audouy on the Go Creative Show, it was revealed that during the filming and design process for the latest instalment, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the production team acquired Ecto-1A from Sony’s backlot and repurposed the car for use in the newest Ghostbusters film. While the idea of restoring Ecto-1A to its original screen-used glory would have undoubtedly been cherished and appreciated by fans, the decision to bring it back for a new cinematic adventure turned out to be the best possible outcome.
The grille and lights were a beautiful park of the Ecto-1A
The Street Machine Weekend played host to an unexpected guest, none other than the ghost-busting Ecto-1A. As the most renowned replica of the Ghostbusters II Ecto, having it grace the Street Machine Weekend in Alberta, Canada was a truly priceless experience, something that many can only dream of witnessing. Though the original Ecto-1A has undergone significant changes and repurposing, this machine stands as the finest representation and the ultimate way to witness the iconic Ecto-1A in person.
The full display of Ecto-1A was an absolute sight to behold
I hope to one day run into more ghost hunting machines in the future, and keep your eyes peeled for more in your own travels! Happy Halloween!
- Kyle Hanger of Searching for Classics