Cadillac RanchChip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels (aka Ant Farm)
Amarillo, Texas, 79107, United States
About the Artist/Site
Along Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas, travelers on the mother road can look out their car windows to see a more unusual use for vehicles. Ten Cadillacs are parked nose-first into the desert dirt, displaying the evolution of tail-fin design by the mid-century auto industry. While the Cadillacs were all salvaged from local junkyards before being used in the installation, after its 1974 construction, further vandalism and artist-encouraged modifications from visitors have kept the cars in a fluctuating state of artistic change.
The team behind Cadillac Ranch is an art collective called “Ant Farm.” Composed of “experimental architects” Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, the collective reached out to Amarillo millionaire eccentric Stan Marsh 3 for funding. The result of the collaboration was Cadillac Ranch, built on Marsh’s property and visible from the highway. Marsh emphasizes the amount of thought that went into the construction of the site in Michael Wallis’s “Route 66: the Mother Road”, stating “I didn’t want the Cadillacs just placed in the ground haphazardly. I wanted folks on the highway to realize the Cadillacs had been planted there by members of a highly intelligent civilization. That’s why they were put in concrete at the exact angles of the Great Pyramid.”
The tilted cars were relocated slightly west of their original location in order to distance the site from the urban sprawl beginning to infringe on the Texas desert. Cadillac Ranch has been immortalized in pop culture, being used as the namesake and inspiration for Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 song “Cadillac Ranch” as well as being parodied in the 2006 Disney animated franchise “Cars” as the “Cadillac Range Mountains” mimicking the iconic tilted tail fins that have become so synonymous with the artistic endeavor. The site welcomes visitors from all over the world, encouraging guests to make their own mark on the caddies. Spray paint is available for purchase nearby, allowing anyone to add their own creative signature to the cars.
~Nikki Ranney, 2023
Butko, Brian, and Sarah Butko. Roadside attractions: Cool cafés, souvenir stands, Route 66 relics, & other road trip fun. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2007.
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas (roadsideamerica.com)
Jensen, Jamie. Moon: Road trip USA: Cross-country adventures on America’s two-lane highways. Berkeley, CA: Avalon Travel, 2021.
Little, Carol Morris. Outdoor Sculpture in Texas. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1996.
Wallis, Michael. Route 66: The mother road. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2001.
Map & Site Information
Amarillo, Texas, 79107 us
Latitude/Longitude: 35.2374293 / -101.8093583
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