Ecto-1 and the Working Cadillac
October 31, 2014 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Ecto-1 and the Working Cadillac - While a lucrative business for Caddy in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, these professional vehicles weren’t all that common. In 1959, just 2102 chassis were made, the lion’s share going to the Miller-Meteor company in Ohio. Divided again between ambulance, limousine, dual-purpose and the odd flower car or two, not many more than several hundred Futura Duplexes were made in total. - A history of the Ecto-1, chariot of the gods Ghostbusters.
posted by Slap*Happy (16 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Great article. Now I'm curious about these "very rare" flower cars. Google Image Search turns up some examples.

Left outside for nearly two decades in the Sony Pictures backlot, Ecto-1 was weathered and brutalized by the years. Eventually, right around the 25th anniversary of Ghostbusters, the car would be sent to Cinema Vehicle Services of North Hollywood for a full restoration. The Ectomobile was stripped down to the bare bones and built up again. Even after the renovations, it spent another five years baking in the California sun on the backlot. Ecto-1a is a ruin after the same sort of shabby treatment.
Goddamnit, Sony.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:13 PM on October 31, 2014 [9 favorites]

If you are going to be left outside, there are worse places than Southern California.
posted by smackfu at 12:20 PM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Those flower cars look like El Caminos for the, ah, less-mulleted set. Or dignitaries on parade.

Rare variants of already-rare vehicles will always have a special place in my heart... since I don't have the coin to put them in my garage.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:31 PM on October 31, 2014

If you are going to be left outside,


It's not like Sony Pictures Entertainment, which made hardly anything over $8 billion last year, could afford to park it indoors.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:34 PM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you happen to be in west LA and want to see a very awesome replica in person, this beauty is often parked at the auto shop at Ocean Park and 32nd. I've seen it driving around town many times.
posted by town of cats at 12:50 PM on October 31, 2014

Hell, we just cooked up our own using a 65 Impala wagon...
posted by notsnot at 1:28 PM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

chariot of the gods Ghostbusters

Nicely done.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:30 PM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

In the mind of Dan Ackroyd, Ecto-1 should have been more ghostly hearse than ambulance – painted a menacing all-black with purple underglow and sirens.

Geez, Ackroyd was wrong about almost *everything* about Ghostbusters.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:33 PM on October 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

I think the article somewhat overstates/doesn't get/misleads when it describes the cars as "rare" ("in 1959 just 2,102 chassis were made"). This is a lower manufacturing quantity than standard cars for the consumer, but there were and are a few hearses parked on a few corners in every city in the US. They last a long time. This particular style is rare now of course because they're so old.

Last year my reading and surfing took a macabre turn because of "50th anniversary of JFK assassination" reading, and turned up these guys:

by way of an article about what happened to another "professional car," the grey ambulance that took JFK's body from Andrews to Bethesda:

and more happily(??) the fate of another car, this one an alumn of the Miller-Meteor factory that was also connected:
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:37 PM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

We have at least two Ghostbuster groups in town today. One even features someone armed with the slime cannon from 2. So far they have camped on opposite ends of Essex street, but as things build and Salem gets more overrun, there will be trouble.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:46 PM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Back when my wife was an EMT, they loved the Cadillac ambulances since they could brace themselves against the roof to do chest compressions for CPR. They were also a lot easier to drive than the monsters most ambulances have become since then.
posted by tommasz at 3:01 PM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

The article compared the Cadillac custom body works to the 1920s Rolls-Royce armored cars which seems unrelated to the story, but is awesome.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:16 PM on October 31, 2014

Why didn't they correct the "not" symbol? That always bugged the shit out of me. What is so hard about understanding that it's based on "N'?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:55 PM on October 31, 2014

Geez, Ackroyd was wrong about almost *everything* about Ghostbusters.

No. Ghostbusters happened because Harold Ramis and Bill Murray were standing on the brakes and yanking on the wheel as hard as they could... but the car they were driving was Ackroyd's imagination.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:37 PM on October 31, 2014 [7 favorites]

I logged in on a cellphone just to favorite the last comment.

Ackroyd, left 100% alone, produced Nothing but Trouble and there is the legend of the massive supernatural arching theme in Blues Brothers that got knocked out, but the ability to pare down a massive vision into something sleeker and more palatable should not dismiss the sheer force of Ackroyd's brilliance in world building in an industry that generally does anything but.
posted by jscott at 9:21 AM on November 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

there is the legend of the massive supernatural arching theme in Blues Brothers that got knocked out

I've seen at least part of the footage for that, explaining that the Bluesmobile got its powers from being parked between giant transformers that bathed it in eerie electricity at night.

I'm much happier with that footage excluded; I vastly prefer the Bluesmobile to be be the Bluesmobile because it just was what it needed to be, when it was needed.
posted by quin at 12:56 PM on November 1, 2014

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