There weren’t too many large size vehicles produced for the Real Ghostbusters toy line but with Ecto-1 being such a fan favourite and the only real vehicle that featured heavily throughout both the films and the cartoon, we didn’t really need many others. The later release vehicles were complimentary but perhaps not entirely necessary. I think the only exception to that rule was Ecto-2 due to it featuring so heavily in the cartoon and because it had some great features. Even so, I’m sure many were disappointed that it only held one action figure in the cockpit!
Below are images of some early presentation boards, preliminary concept artwork and final renderings of some of the toy lines more memorable vehicles.
Kenner’s Ecto-2 helicopter toy perfectly combined the look of the vehicle from the animated show with some fantastic additional features. The winch, removable bomb and the very clever trigger mechanism which span the propeller blades are all visible in the art above. Also visible are the required colour scheme of the toy in the form of pantone colour stickers. The image above is actually of the final rendering, which is about as close to production as can be. Below you can see the much cooler preliminary concept design.
Ecto-2 Preliminary Concept Art
The preliminary design drawing for Kenner’s Ecto-2 reveals how the toy was originally going to be far more faithful to the animated show than it eventually ended up being. The ability to fold it up and place it into the back of Ecto-1 as well as extra space for not one, but TWO action figures were both ideas that for one reason or another sadly couldn’t be carried over from concept art to production toy.
One fun thing about this piece of art that may not be visible from the image above is that the bomb was originally called the “Total Protonic Reversal” bomb. Now, not all of the reasons behind all of the changes Kenner made to it’s toys are known but I think this one is pretty obvious, I’ll leave it to Egon to explain why they went with “Ghost Eliminator” instead:
“Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”
As much as I enjoyed playing with my childhood Highway Haunter toy, having seen the preliminary concept art..I must admit that I feel slightly cheated. The production toy was a car that transformed into a bright green mantis type ghost yet the original art depicted a red muscular ghost-beast-thing with a dragon like head and a second mouth in his stomach! Even the motor ghost looked more menacing.
The original name of the Highway Haunter was “Berserk Bug” and the motor ghost was called “Monster Motor”.