Video: Harrop-blown Ghostbusters ECTO-1 replica!

Real wrath of God-type stuff

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

As far as movie car replicas go, some are tougher to source and build than others. You can make Pursuit Specials or General Lees all day if money’s no issue, but ’59 Cadillac-based Miller-Meteor hightop ambulances like the one owned by Haltech’s Nathan Clark are a painfully finite resource. 

Nathan trawled the web for ages until he found this example in California, with the goal of transforming it into a mock-up of the famous ECTO-1 car from the classic 1984 flick, Ghostbusters. “It’s quite a rare car; there are only about 500 of them,” he explained. “I managed to track one down last year and bring it out. It was a California car and a combination of both hearse and ambulance. The Ghostbusters car was actually a duplex, so it’s the exact variant.”

The patina-coated rig wasn’t running, which was impetus enough for Nathan to drop in an LS3, paired to a Harrop 2300 blower, 4L80 auto and nine-inch diff, with a Haltech Rebel LS ECU for brains. “We basically did a frame-off restoration, powdercoated the frame and did new suspension,” he said. “I wanted something that could get it up and moving, which is why I went with the supercharger. I’ve restomodded it; it’s got all the Haltech stuff and Wilwood brakes front and back. I just want to be able to enjoy it!” 

The force-fed 6.2 comes in handy considering the Caddy’s a pretty hefty vehicle – to the point where the first flatbed truck wasn’t long enough to hold the freshly powdercoated chassis! “It’s a six-metre frame,” Nathan laughed. “The car itself is 6.3 metres end-to-end, and it weighs just over three tonnes – probably more now with the crap on the roof!”

That fit-out was Nathan’s own doing, too. “Movie cars are always two builds: you’ve got the car itself, and then all the props,” he said. “We’ve been working on it hardcore for probably the last four months. It is going to get a full respray, and then it’ll look like the ’84 Ghostbusters car. 

“We wanted to bring it to Summernats, so I thought, ‘How could I get the maximum amount of enjoyment in the least amount of time?’ It’s been nice, because I haven’t had to care too much about [the finish] while I do it.”

We caught Nathan just as he rolled into Summernats, lights flashing and siren wailing, and a big crowd had already formed around the Caddy. “It’s been pretty cool,” he said of the reception. 

“I just did it because I love the movie and love the car, but it resonates with a lot of people. On the movie car side of things, it’s cool because it’s so universally loved; it makes everyone happy, and I think that’s a good thing!”