History of the Ecto-1
Taken from "Making
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.
"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
"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
-- 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.