Skip to main content

The Ghostbusters car is one of the most memorable in movie history and one of our favorite 80s movie cars. Once a 1959 Cadillac hearse, the team converted it into a rapid-response ghostbusting vehicle. This Ectomobile, or Ecto 1, was one of the first components of the film Dan Aykroyd envisioned. The iconic vehicle returns to complete the ensemble in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

The Ghostbusters Ecto-1 used in the movie started out as a 1959 Cadillac ambulance

This 1959 Cadillac Series 62 is a Ghostbusters Ectomobile replica | Marc Piasecki/Getty Images
Ghostbusters Ectomobile replica | Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

The car from the first Ghostbusters was originally a 1959 Cadillac Series 62. A. company named Miller-Meteor converted it into an ambulance. Then, the film crew bought it for 1984’s Ghostbusters. The crew installed a series of gadgets on the roof. They also modified the pull-out gurney to hold the team’s proton packs.

The Ectomobile even returns for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. But in the original movie, the car is not supposed to be an ambulance at all–it’s originally a black hearse. The team is looking for a rapid-response vehicle. Then Dr. Ray Stantz (Aykroyd) shows up with the hearse. He says, “Everybody can relax; I found the car.”

Venkman (Murray) asks his friend about the car. Stants says it needs, “suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end… maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring…” But the team fixes it up and converts it anyway. During filming, the crew actually rented a suitable, black car for this shot.

The Ecto-1 was one of the first Ghostbusters characters

This is the original Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters |  | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
The Ghostbusters Ectomobile | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The Ectomobile was actually one of the first aspects of the film Aykroyd envisioned. In his original screenplay, the team buys an ambulance and paints it black. They also mount white and purple strobe lights on the roof. The resulting vehicle has a “purple aura.”

When filmmakers got involved, they pointed out that the black Ectomobile would disappear into the night shots. The team settled on the white car with red fins and a red door logo. The rest is history.

The 1959 Cadillac Ecto-1 returns in ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’–to drift

This is a Ghostbusters Ectomobile replica built out of a 1959 Cadillac Series 62 | Marc Piasecki/Getty Images
Ghostbusters Ectomobile replica | Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

See The ‘Crazy’ Movie Car Jerry Seinfeld Takes Seth Rogen For Coffee In

Jason Reitman directed Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Like Aykroyd, one of Reitman’s first visions for the film involved the Ectomobile. He had a vision of the old car drifting across a wheat field.

Though the original Ecto-1 survived, it was not in any shape to perform this stunt. Reitman had the vehicle rebuilt. In addition to a visual restoration, the team replaced the old engine with a modern Chevy LS crate engine.

The new hotrod Ectomobile led to a memorable day of filming. The crew had to do donuts through a field all day to get the right shot. Apparently, by the end of shooting, everyone could smell burning barley.

The LS-powered Ectomobile performed admirably throughout filming. The 1959 Cadillac appears beside Murray and Aykroyd in the sequel