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History of the Ecto-1


Taken from "Making Ghostbusters"
Dan Aykroyd's original Ectomobile was an all-black, rather sinister-looking machine with flashing white and purple strobe lights that gave it a strange, ultraviolet aura. Though kept essentially intact through all the drafts, the vehicle concept -- suggesting a hearse rather more than an ambulance -- was clearly more keeping with the darker tone of Aykroyd's first draft than with lighter ones that followed.

Working with a basic 1959 Cadillac ambulance, hardware consultant Steven Dane designed and modified the final vehicle.

The completed, one-of-a-kind Ectomobile. Although a second backup vehicle was procured as a hedge against maintenance problems, only the primary ambulance was fully converted. In the end, the backup was used solely for early 'premodification' scenes.

  1. Ladder
  2. Storage Tube
  3. Police Light Bar
  4. Directional Antenna
  5. T.V. Antenna
  6. Aerials
  7. Marine Radome
  8. Bullhorn
  9. Giant Gumball
  10. Siren
  11. Comp. Air Tanks
  12. Wiring underneath into Cab
  13. Comp. Air Tanks
  14. Police Light Bar
  15. Aerials
  16. Marine Radome
  17. T.V. Antenna
  18. Directional Antenna
  19. Storage Tube
  20. Ladder
  21. Couvre Plates

"For practical considerations, we had to get away from the idea of an all-black Ectomobile. In going through the script, Laszlo noted that almost every shot of it was at night. If it had been black, you wouldn't have been able to see it through most of the movie. The Ectomobile would have been nothing more than a couple of headlights driving through the streets. So, keeping that in mind, we decided we'd better go with a white ambulance trimmed in red."
-- Joe Medjuck/Associate Producer

1. Louvre Plates
2. Whip Antenna
3. Police Light Bar
4. Giant Gumball
5. Bullhorn
6. A/C
7. Storage Tube
8. 802 Ladder
9. Police Light Bar
10. Directional Antenna
11. AM/FM Aerial
12. Whip Antenna
13. Giant Gumball
14. Bullhorn
15. Siren
16. Police Light Bar
17. T.V. Antenna
18. Storage Rack
19. Marine Radome
20. Aerials
21. Mast
22. Directional
23. Antenna Beyond
24. Police Light Bar
25. Aerial
26. Copmressed Air Tanks
27. Ladder Behind

"Dan's script was set in the near future and there was much more fantasy in it. In that script, the Ectomobile was able to dematerialize. When we anchored the script more in reality and set the time in the present, that concept had to go. Besides, it's funnier to see them in an old ambulance that barely runs."
-- Harold Ramis

The encounter between the policeman and the Ectomobile is the only scene in the final shooting script which suggested that the vehicle itself had some extranormal powers -- a carryover from Dan Aykroyd's initial draft in which the Ectomobile was equipped with an advanced dematerializing capability that allowed its operators, functioning somewhat outside the law, to readily elude police pursuit. Though the ticketing sequence was shot and cut into the film, it was ultimately removed because it slowed down the break-neck pace of the montage.