- The Web site GBfans.com is gathering signatures on a petition to buy the Ecto-1A ambulance from Ghostbusters II.
- If they succeed in purchasing the vehicle from Sony Pictures, the fan group wants to restore it for display at shows and exhibits around the country.
- According to the site, the cost of restoring the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance will be $4,500, not including the initial purchase price.
CULVER CITY, California — The Web site GBfans.com is gathering signatures for a petition to buy the Ecto-1A ambulance that appeared in Ghostbusters II, so it can be properly restored to its on-screen condition.
No one could argue that the iconic specter-bashing vehicle doesn't need some work. After being used for years as an outdoor tourist attraction, it now sits unloved and ignored on a Sony Pictures lot in Culver City.
The petition implores Sony Pictures to sell Ecto-1A to fans, so they can give it the treatment it has earned as an important part of film history.
In the first Ghostbusters, released in 1984, three paranormal researchers — Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler, played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis — get fired from their jobs at a university in New York City and set up a ghost-extermination business in an old firehouse.
Their chosen company vehicle is a rundown ambulance, a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor that was purchased in the film by Stantz for $4,800 and tweaked back into running condition. With enough room for the all-important proton packs, meters, and ghost traps, Ecto-1 was the perfect transport for the crew as they screamed through city streets with sirens blaring and lights flashing.
Sporting the famous "no ghosts" logo, the car became almost as famous as the stars themselves, a fact that wasn't lost on merchandisers. Among other available goodies were die-cast models from Hot Wheels in 1:64, 1:55, 1:48 and 1:18 scales, as well as plastic model kits from AMT and Polar Lights in 1:24 and 1:25 scales.
Ghostbusters II, which debuted in 1989, brought the updated and considerably flashier Ecto-1A. Still based on the '59 ambulance, the new version featured much better ghost traps and other technical equipment, but to casual observers the obvious changes were yellow-and-black trim on the sides, different logos (the ghost is now giving the "V" sign) and digital announcement boards able to display ads and the company's phone number.
Although each vehicle has its supporters on GBfans.com, most appear to favor the original Ecto-1 for its classic, comparatively understated appearance. But many still give a nod to the Ecto-1A for its LED message boards.
The Web site says both Ecto-1 and Ecto-1A were slated for restoration beginning in 2007. But after the first project was completed, funding dissolved, and progress on the second vehicle was halted. Partially stripped, Ecto-1A was shelved and forgotten.
Forgotten by Sony, perhaps, but not by fans. If their petition manages to sway the studio, they want to fund the purchase and restoration through Kickstarter.com, the site that links creative projects with financial backers. After restoration, the plan is to put the car on display at various shows and exhibits around the country.
The fans' conservative estimate for sprucing up Ecto-1A is $4,500, but they're not saying how much the purchase price itself might set them back.
The association with such a popular movie franchise could put the car out of reach. Although '59 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulances and hearses (the company built both) are for sale on popular Web sites at prices starting at around $5,000 for a rusted hulk, iconic film vehicles are in a class of their own.
One of the most famous, James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger, sold in 2010 for $4.6 million. One of the DeLoreans used in Back to the Future brought $541,200 at auction in 2011. And the replica of a 1963 Ferrari California Spyder used in the filming of Ferris Bueller's Day Off sold for $235,000 earlier this year.
By comparison, a replica of the Ghostbusters Ecto-1, built for display by the studio, sold for $45,600 in 2008 and again in 2010 for $80,000. One of the three Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulances actually used in the filming of the first Ghostbusters went for $149,998 at an auction in 2007.
Edmunds says: What petition you gonna sign?