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With “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” hitting theaters, movie-goers will again be treated to the instantly recognizable siren of the team’s fully-liveried Cadillac. In the previous film, the jumpsuit-clad anti-apparitionists took to the streets (and fields) in their 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor. However, the old Cadillac ambulance concealed an LS-series V8 rather than its original carbureted mill. Still, the Ecto-1 isn’t the only badass engine-swapped movie car out there; the Aston Martin DB5 from “No Time to Die” packs a modern BMW engine. 

You’d think the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 wouldn’t have anything in common with James Bond’s DB5, but it does

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” will see the return of the team’s Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance. It’s one of the more instantly recognizable movie cars, complete with Ghostbusters livery, aircraft carrier length, and a siren fans could pick out of a lineup. However, in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” director Jason Reitman decided that Ecto-1, or the “Ectomobile” should get the engine-swap treatment for the film. 

In fairly typical hot-rodder fashion, Reitman chose one of the more obvious options: an LS swap. You might remember the stickers and social media tags “LS-swap the world.” Well, Reitman took it to heart. Frankly, the LS V8 package is a good option for such a custom project.

An Ecto-1 build from the Ghostbusters franchise shows off its massive size.
An Ecto-1 build on California streets | Thomas De Wever via iStock

The LS is a no-brainer, given its squat dimensions, fuel injection, commendable stock power output, and the myriad aftermarket support for modifications. Moreover, the compression ratio of a stock LS1, or better yet, a lower-compression LQ4, is a good candidate for turbocharging. Considering the sheer weight and size of the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 Cadillac, an LS engine with a cam, cold air intake (CAI), exhaust system, and complimentary tune could liven up the old rig. At least enough to chase down Slimer.

However, Ecto-1 isn’t the only cool engine-swapped movie car in the mix. Engine-swapping movie cars and custom stunt builds is a common Hollywood practice. In 2021, James Bond took to the screen in yet another Aston Martin DB5. No surprise there. However, this DB5 is concealing more than gadgets and weapons; it made its power courtesy of a BMW S54 engine. 

It’s the same engine you’d find in the now-discontinued BMW M3 (E46) and M3 Roadster. As such, the powerful, rev-happy inline-six effortlessly motivated the sub-2,300-lb DB5 movie stunt car build. Both movie cars, both engine swapped, both spectacular on-screen.