Cruisin' the Coast

There’s somethin’ strange in his neighborhood....

Jacob Scott of Hurley stands next to his Ecto-1, a tricked-out 1974 Cadillac Miller Meteor hearse during Cruisin’ the Coast 2016.
Jacob Scott of Hurley stands next to his Ecto-1, a tricked-out 1974 Cadillac Miller Meteor hearse during Cruisin’ the Coast 2016.

Jacob Scott is selective about when and where he takes his latest ride. It’s not that he’s afraid of scratches or dents in parking lots. It’s more a concern for other drivers’ safety.

“I was driving from Hurley to the Grand Casino on the interstate and there were people pulling off on the shoulder and pulling alongside to take pictures,” he said. “I’ll see like four or five people in a car, all taking pictures.”

The car in question is a 1974 Cadillac Miller Meteor, transformed from a somber gray hearse into Scott’s own Ecto-1, an homage to the “Ghostbusters” car from the 1984 version of the film.

“It’s definitely a head turner,” he said. “If you’re not feeling social, you’d do better staying at home.”

It will make its Cruisin’ The Coast debut this year, and Scott plans to drive the attention-getting vehicle to as many Cruisin’ events as possible.

“I’ll be at Cruisin’ the whole week,” he said.

Lifelong love of cars

Ecto-1 came about through Scott’s lifelong interest in cars.

“My whole life, I grew up with cars,” he said. “When I got married, I sort of got away from them. Then I started going to Cruisin’, and I wanted to have a car. At first I wanted to do an ‘Andy Griffith’ car, so I started looking for a 1966 Galaxy. That didn’t pan out, so I started looking for a ‘Knight Rider’ car. Just something that was old enough to be in Cruisin’ but that nobody else would have.”

One night, the original “Ghostbusters” movie was on TV, and the light bulb came on. Scott decided he would do his version of the ghost-battling team’s emergency vehicle.

The original

The original in the 1984 movie is a 1959 model. Scott dreamed of acquiring one, but even the most basic fixer-upper of that year was prohibitively expensive. Then he found a more recent but still classic model that was a reasonable price.

“Well, I have two hearses,” Scott said, then laughed, adding that having just one hearse in the driveway can call attention. “They’re both from Tennessee.”

The first hearse, a 1970 one, was perfect, but once he got it home, he decided the patina that Mother Nature had naturally given it and its fancy rims installed by its last owner couldn’t be sacrificed for a white paint job. He has since added to its creepy factor by installing glowing lanterns and a red plush interior. “Vicki,” as he calls this car, also will be seen lurking around Cruisin’, sporting its appropriately creepy license plate that reads “Vacancy.”

The Ecto-1 tribute

The car that became Ecto-1 meant another 10-hour drive to Tennessee, but “I got a great deal on it,” he said.

Scott got the Miller Meteor in Febuary and declared its Ecto-1 transformation complete in July.

“I did it all myself except the paint, which a buddy from work did,” said Scott, who works as a learning and development fabrication maintenance analyst at the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery. “And I ordered the stickers, of course. The roof rack, the lights, all the props — I did those, too.”

Ecto-1’s features

Ecto-1’s features include a 1941 fire truck light and a mechanical siren from the 1930s or ’40s, he said. “I drove all over finding parts. I picked up the siren after work one night in Pensacola and got home around 12:30.”

Scott calls his Ecto-1 “more of a tribute car” than an attempt at a exact replica of the “Ghostbusters” car. During his online searches for cars, he learned about Ghostbuster franchises across the country. The official groups participate in charity events, car shows, parades and conventions.

“They’re all over the U.S., except Mississippi didn’t have one,” he said. It does now. Scott, a veteran of the Iraq war, reached out to several friends who also served, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Ghostbusters was formed. He has an official certificate from Sony Pictures Ghost Corps. Ecto-1 and the franchise’s first event was for this summer’s release of the new “Ghostbusters” film. The group parked Ecto-1 in front of the Biloxi Grand Theater in exchange for movie tickets for 12 Coast kids. They’ve also helped with collections for Louisiana flood victims.

Scott’s wife, Jamie, occasionally will ride in Ecto-1. “It really depends on what kind of mood she’s in,” he said.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1