Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
The iconic film Ghostbusters hit the big screen in 1984 and had immediate success, grossing $295 million. The film quickly became a cultural phenomenon, inspiring a sequel in 1989, a reboot in 2016, and the newly released Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Equipped with a star-studded cast featuring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, just to name a few, the original film also stared one of the most recognizable movie cars of all time – a 1959 Cadillac known as Ecto-1.
The ghost-fighting crew used the Ecto-1 to transport their ghostbusting kit around New York to save the city from supernatural beings like Slimer, a big green blob of pure ectoplasm.
The Ectomobile (Ecto-1) is based on a 1959 Cadillac Series 75 commercial chassis the coachbuilder Miller-Meteor called the Miller-Meteor Futura, which was built to function as a hearse that had recumbent “passengers” loaded through the tailgate.
“With its big fins, long creased bonnet and spats covering the rear wheels it borrows many of the design features from famous Caddies of the time such as the Eldorado,” Haggerty UK says in its story investigating the Ecto-1’s rise in value.
“Beneath the bonnet there’s a monster 390 cubic inch (6.4-litre) V8 engine for some spirited performance. And at 21 feet (6.4m) long there’s plenty of room for the ghoul-zapping kit inside.”
Only 25 Miller-Meteor Futuras were built, two owned by Sony and customized for the Ghostbusters film. Another third of the 25 were bought to promote the movie.
According to the Hagerty valuations department, one of the film cars was offered for $149,998 in 2007 and a year later, another of the cars made for the Universal Studios theme park in Florida was offed on eBay for $45,000.
Hagerty notes that just two years after later, one of the cars mentioned above was sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $88,000.
“Prices were clearly on the up more than a decade ago. In the intervening years, they’ve rocketed,” Hagerty says. “For a genuine movie car, with a certified history, Hagerty now estimates the value to be in excess of $500,000.”
But not only are the actual movie cars’ value on the rise, so are replicas.
For example, a fan-creation Ecto-1 sold at a 2020 Barrett-Jackson auction for $220,000 and another sold on eBay in 2014 for $235,420.
However, you can find Ecto-1 replicas under to six-figure mark, as did Peter Dale, who purchased his Ecto-1 at the start of the first lockdown in 2020 for about $94,000.
“I bought it within two hours of hearing it was coming up for sale,” Dale told Hagerty. “It had already been converted to Ecto-1 but had then been left to sit for a few years. The engine wasn’t running, and it needed to be totally recommissioned,” he said.
Dale put about $108,000 into the car to restore its ghostbusting glory.
When asked what it’s like to drive an Ecto-1, he responded: “Although it’s a very big car, it’s easy to drive. Visibility is great through all the glass and it’s got power steering and assisted brakes.
“Surprisingly for something so long, the turning circle is quite good. The biggest problem is that it attracts so much attention. You go to change lanes and there’s someone alongside filming on a smartphone, so you have to have your wits about you.”
Dale’s Ecto-1 has been used for promoting the newest film in the Ghostbuster universe – Ghostbusters: Afterlife in theaters now.