The 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor is part of a long lineage of iconic Cadillac vehicles. Said lineage includes vehicles driven by world leaders, rockstars, high-ranking executives, and phantasm-fighting scientists. Well, the last one was a bit of fiction, but one we’re sure you know well. The Ghostbusters Ecto-1 was a sensation on screens worldwide, solidifying those swoopy 1950s design cues into the memory of children and adults alike.
While we can’t offer you a test drive of this icon, we can tell you the story of how it came to be and where the silver-screen icon is today. Read on to learn the history behind the Cadillac Ghostbusters car.
While you can order a Cadillac with us as a complete vehicle, that wasn’t entirely the case decades ago. Sure, there were ready-made Cadillac models, but the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor was known as a “coachbuilt” vehicle. In essence, Cadillac built the chassis, engine, and most mechanical components, while a third-party “coachbuilder” completed the body and often the interior.
As the name suggests, Miller-Meteor was the coachbuilder behind the iconic Ecto-1. They were a product of Wayne Works and Meteor Motor Car Company’s 1950s merger, and they came about to craft purpose-built machines.1 They made limos, hearses, ambulances, and other professional-use vehicles for American companies.
The Ghostbusters’ 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor was originally one of those ambulances.
The Miller-Meteor basis of the Cadillac Ecto-1 was a true monster by today’s standards. It was made almost entirely from solid steel, with similar models weighing around 7,000 pounds2; that’s far more than the heaviest new Cadillac for sale.
They used a carbureted V-8 engine, typically making around 300 horsepower. For 1959’s standards, they were the cream of the crop, with incredible reliability making it a realistic daily driver in the series’ original 1984 setting.
Dan Aykroyd’s character chose the Ghostbusters Ectomobile (A.K.A the Ecto-1) for its affordable price, spacious practicality, rear-end loading, and durable, easy-to-fix construction. However, little is known about the reasoning behind its use as a franchise mascot.
If we had to theorize, we think that the Hollywood prop designers saw what everyone else who lays eyes on a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor notices: The dramatic 1950s body lines and chrome accents that create an organic yet otherworldly look.
But looking a bit deeper, we think that these formerly-neglected, professional-use Cadillac models were a perfect metaphor for the Ghostbusters themselves. They’re cutting-edge (for the time) but based on tried-and-true engineering, pragmatic yet quirky, and a sight you sure don’t see every day.
Sorry to break the movie magic, but there were several screen-used 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance prop cars in the Ghostbusters franchise. The Ecto-1 prop car used in the original Ghostbusters is owned by Sony Pictures.3 However, many similar Cadillac ambulances and hearses from that time have been converted into replicas with varying degrees of perfection.
If you want a glimpse of a supposed screen-used 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, we recommend taking a trip to automotive heaven, the Los-Angeles-based Petersen Automotive Museum. There’s also a rentable replica in the Illinois-based Volo Auto Museum.3
Scour classic-car auctions, and you can find Cadillac professional models for a reasonable price. As for the Ecto-1 you likely were in awe of as a child, you’ll only find replicas for sale. Among them, a truly-faithful 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ecto-1 replica sold at the 2021 Las Vegas Barrett Jackson auction for a staggering $220,000.4
While our Cadillac dealership may not have one, we do have the vehicles that descend from its heritage, like the Cadillac XT6 and Escalade ESV. Stop by today to talk with our Cadillac experts about your next luxury car.
The original Ghostbusters car (known as Ecto-1 or the Ectomobile) was a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance; a coachbuilt, professional-use vehicle that rode on a rugged chassis.
The original 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor used in Ghostbusters is owned by Sony Pictures3, but you can see one of the franchise-used Ectomobiles in the Petersen Automotive Museum.
The original Cadillac Ecto-1 has not come up for sale, but near-perfect replicas can be worth six figures. Specifically, a detail-oriented replica Ectomobile sold at the 2021 Barrett Jackson Las Vegas auction for a whopping $220,000.4
|Cadillac Deville Convertible||Cadillac Seville||Cadillac Series 62||Cadillac XLR-V|
|Cadillac Hearse And Its History||Cadillac Eldorado Convertible||1991 Cadillac Fleetwood|