An Average, Terrified New Yorker Reviews the Ecto-1
(Read in your best New Yorker accent)
This past Friday, a slithering two ton beast that seemed to be neither totally flora nor fauna suddenly appeared on the court at a New York Knicks preseason contest against the Charlotte Bobcats. This led to the untimely ingestion of most of those sitting in the front rows and brought an unfortunate halt to Carmello Anthony’s sterling 18-for-42 shooting night part way through the third quarter. Naturally, the events led to the shrieking exodus of those lucky enough to survive and, inevitably, the triumphant arrival of the heroic team known as the Ghostbusters in the Ecto-1. I took the opportunity, as I stood bathed in some sort of viscous alien goop in front of Madison Square Garden and while people ran screaming past me with tiny horrifying creatures latched onto their clothing, to get a closer look at their ride.
First and foremost, the Ecto-1 is not your average vehicle. The chassis is that of an old 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex, combining the style of old luxury and a hearse/ambulance end loader to create a vehicle that is completely original and utterly fascination to look at as you are running away from a pack of minotaurs that have emerged from their ancient cave beneath Central Park. This custom vehicle is as unique to New York as the Ghostbusters themselves, which is a relief when one considers how loud the whispered chanting in the subways here has become over the last few months.
According to Ghostbusters member Dr. Ray Stantz, the Ecto-1 cost him around $4,800, which sounds like an absolute steal until you realize that’s $4,800 in 1984 money. With an almost complete overhaul—including suspension work, shocks, brakes, brake pads, linings, steering box, transmission, rear end, and, well, you get the idea—the Ecto-1 runs like a dream. Most of the time. And that’s when it’s actually running.
When the Ecto-1 is in commission, it’s powered by a V8 engine that generates around 360 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. When I caught up with Dr. Egon Spengler after the Ghostbusters banished the vengeful ghosts of Murderers’ Row from Yankee Stadium when the Yankees had no choice but to allow Alex Rodriguez back into the starting lineup, he presented me with a Twinkie which he had on his person for some reason. He then told me that if the Ecto-1 was like said Twinkie, “it would do this.” He then zoomed the Twinkie around in front of him in a figure eight pattern while making engine noises with his mouth.
The Ecto-1 boasts a lot of utility space, which is important given the vehicle’s use as a ghost-capturing equipment carrier. Four proton packs are at the ready on a custom gurney that rolls out for easy retrieval, particularly useful in instances like the recurring appearances of Carson Daily around New York City. For the record, we’re pretty sure he’s not undead or anything, but that doesn’t make him any less of a giant tool.
I asked for more information on the beautiful Ecto-1 when the Ghostbusters emerged from the World’s Most Famous Arena covered head to toe in the glowing viscera that I assume belonged to either the otherworldly beast or James Dolan. Dr. Peter Venkman began insulting me before stopping mid-sentence, saying something derogatory about “the script,” and walking in the opposite direction of his teammates. The rest of the Ghostbusters seemed too busy laughing about something to answer my questions. I overheard Winston Zeddemore saying something about a possessed J.R. Smith threatening the group with the dreaded pipe, whatever that means.
When the Ecto-1 finally sped away to its next destination, it was clear which aspect of the vehicle I had forgotten: its tell-tale siren. While it might be jarring to a degree, it is a welcome sound for the people of New York. Whenever the specter of a 20 foot shark comes floating up out of the East River, the StubHub Ticket Oak begins lumbering down Main Street flinging deadly Broadway tickets at citizens, or Lady Gaga plays two shows at the Barclays Center, that siren lets everyone know that the Ghostbusters are on the scene.
And I don’t know about you, but busting sure makes me feel good. Even though I’m writing this from inside the belly of a gelatinous spider that seems to want to use my apartment building as its nest. But that’s life, isn’t it?