I thought I'd dust off this thread because two days ago (Mother's Day) Roger surprised the Ghostbusters Vintage Collectors group on Facebook with never-before-seen pics of the Pre-Ecto that finally revealed the driver's side deco! He liked the enthusiastic response so much that he continued scanning and posting more pics, and I don't think he's done yet.
Some minor points may contradict earlier details reported in this post, but I am citing Roger's most recent recounting of the events.
I'll try to put these in chronological order as much as possible. Roger only found this one online recently, of the car when it was still in service in the western Chicago suburb Belmont between 1968 and 1981.
Source: http://www.dwfd.org/about-dwfpd.html?fb ... btC6b6hjzE
Notice the seats visible through the open door. When I asked on Mother's Day about the interior upholstery color of this red-and-white car, Roger replied that the vinyl was "of all things, baby blue."
Next, a pic of exactly how it looked when Roger and his then-girlfriend Annette first laid eyes on the car, in a lot on the south side of Chicago, December of 1982. [Some of these pics were seen on his old Geocities webpage, but they were tiny and the site wants to infect your computer with viruses now so I am not going to link to it. These newly scanned pics are much higher quality anyway.]
"59 Cadillac, Make Offer" says the shoe polish on the windshield.
Roger was approximately twenty years old, working as an EMT at the time and says he was 'hypnotized' by it. A couple of days later he made purchase and his father helped him get it home.
Amazingly enough, before Ghostbusters was even a thing, Roger thought the car needed to be photographed in black and white in front of a former firehouse at 2100 W. Eastwood, which was then being used as a fire prevention bureau. [Nod to Lars Karlsen for pointing out how prescient this imagery of the arched firehouse doors was.]
Around September of 1983, the EMT company where he worked was contacted by someone at Columbia looking for a '59 Miller Meteor as the 'before' car for a movie, and Roger rented it to them for four months. The deal was that it would be transported to Los Angeles in October for the filming, but it was first trucked to NYC for the exterior shoot ("You can't park that here!") before going to LA for the interior shoot of Dana's first entrance into the firehouse. Roger remarked on 5-12-2020 that the car went from Chicago to NYC to LA and back to Chicago, and only had 94 additional miles on its odometer.
He used some of the rental money to pay for his own trip to NYC in October of 1983, where he encountered the 'after' car parked on the street but did not get to see it being filmed.
He did however get to watch the filming of the 'Hittites' scene at Lincoln Center, and has some pics of Reitman, Sigourney, Timothy Carhart, and Bill Murray.
And even those two guys who were always skating in the background!
(Roger said he had no idea at the time what the movie costumes were going to look like, and thought Bill Murray "looked like a janitor!" in this scene.)
He said he was very surprised to see that Columbia had painted his car black and grey, which had not been part of the deal, but they gave him a second payment to cover the price of painting it back the way it had been.
The car was returned to Roger in February of 1984 with some damage to the rear end as if it had been backed into a wall. You may have seen this pic before, but never in this good of resolution.
Note the prop license plate put on the car for filming. As of 2018, Roger still had this plate and provided a pic of it to a YouTuber named cutthekragle who had built a Lego MOC of the pre-Ecto.
And these were the three new pics that Roger revealed for the first time on Mother's Day, generating considerable Facebook buzz, since this angle is never depicted in the movie. (And apparently the Johnny Lightning release is now revealed to be inaccurate.)
I tried to make a collage, crudely:
The next day Roger posted this pic, saying it is the only photo he has of the entire driver's side of the car.
The hand-made logo on the door is from when Roger and his then-girlfriend Annette took the car to a drive-in for opening night of the movie in Wheeling Illinois, June 15, 1984.
No one knew what the odd-looking car was before the movie started, but he reports many people came up after it was over, to ask if it was the same one they'd just seen briefly on the big screen. There were even a couple of folks who walked over during the movie to ask about it, who Roger said were probably stoned.
When asked on Facebook about the green roof light, which was allegedly only ever used by Chicago, Roger replied, "The car saw service in the Chicago area, but didn't have a green light until I added it. It was a tribute to Chicago FD even though I was not trying to replicate a Chicago rig."
In March of the next year, Roger and Annette got married. In fact, he shared the bulk of these photos yesterday on their 35th wedding anniversary, tagging her in most of them. She loved how enthusiastic everyone was about seeing the car they'd loved so much.
Roger sold the car in 1988 to a paramedic in downstate Illinois. When asked if he still knew the VIN, he said he's tried to use the VIN # a few times to track it in neighboring states but had no luck (he wasn't always an EMT, he later became a police officer, and is now retired).