Local team recreates classic ‘Ecto-1’

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If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?

If the “Ghostbusters” of movie fame aren’t readily available, you might want to try Paul Uvanni at Victory Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram — who, along with a team of fellow car fans, has recreated the classic 1984 “Ghostbusters” car.

Nicknamed “Ecto-1” in the movie, Uvanni’s replica is built on a similar Cadillac hearse/ambulance chassis and took nearly a year to complete. The vehicle is already turning heads at Uvanni’s car dealership on Rome-Taberg Road — and the longtime Rome businessman and community supporter said he plans to use it in future parades.

Uvanni added that he will also make the endearing auto available for birthday parties, corporate events, cinema festivals and other events.

“There are a few employees who are “Ghostbusters” fans, so that’s where the idea came from,” Uvanni explained.

“We’re car people, and we’ve recreated a few movie cars.”

In the past, Uvanni said he and his team have built recreations of the patrol car from “Car 54, Where Are You?” and the rusty tow truck Mater from Pixar’s “Cars.” The idea to rebuild their own Ecto-1 first popped into their heads about 10 to 15 years ago as a potential new project.

“We’ve tired to inquire about a few on sale, but the prices were astronomical,” Uvanni explained.

The original Ecto-1 from the first “Ghostbusters” movie is built on a 1959 Cadillac professional chassis, used as an ambulance/hearse combination.

Uvanni said he was able to find a reasonably priced 1969 Cadillac chassis in Minnesota last year.

They shipped the car to Rome, and Uvanni and his crew got to work right away to turn their inspiration into reality.

Rome Collision on Rome-Taberg Road painted the black chassis movie white.

Pettinelli’s Garage on West Dominick Street helped get the car into working order.

Rollin Chassis in Oswego County helped manufacture the movie-accurate apparatus on the top of the vehicle.

“We tried to be as exact as possible,” Uvanni said. “We recreated the top with the lights and sirens exactly. We went through it mechanically.”

Uvanni said he was able to find a manual on how to build the apparatus on top, from exact gear to measurements. “Ghostbusters” has a large fandom community on the internet, with many people recreating costumes, equipment and vehicles from the movies.

In total, Uvanni said the project cost about $70,000 out of pocket. The recreation was finished at the end of the summer and has been on display at the dealership ever since.

“We haven’t had a problem yet because we changed a few things on this car so we won’t infringe on copyright,” Uvanni explained.

“No matter where you take it, when driving it or to get gas, it draws a lot of attention,” Uvanni said.

Although they’ve only recently completed their “Ghostbusters” car, Uvanni and his crew have already turned their attention to a new project — one that might even impress the “Caped Crusader” himself — recreating their own Batmobile.

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