In my last Post I told you about my trip out west to pick up a new Project Car which I still have not revealed to you. I also promised you an up close look at the iconic Cadillac Ranch. For those of you who might not be familiar with this highway monument it is located outside of Amarillo Texas on I-40 (also old Route 66). Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. It originally consisted either of older running used or junk Cadillacs of various years from 1949 to 1963. Each represented an evolution of the car’s tailfin design. from 1949 to 1963. Each of the examples is half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
When I made my first pilgrimage to this gearhead monument each of the cars were still in very original yet deteriorating condition. Many of the parts appeared usable for a restoration and the cars were quite distinguishable as to year and model. There was not a lot of graffiti though it was certainly there.
At subsequent visits the cars were obviously the worse for wear and the spray can artists were making the once grand Cadillacs almost unrecognizable. On my most recent visit in the fall of 2013 I was shocked at what I found.
The gate leading into the “Ranch” was distinguished by a neat line of various colored spray cans awaiting use by anyone who desired to pick one up. I thought this strange until I got a little closer to the once worshiped Cadillacs and saw the entire are littered with spray cans that seemed to be some form of man made dandelions covering the ground. It seems that the once proud Cadillacs have now become the heavily covered graffiti canvas for every wannabe “tagger” on I-40. Visitors were openly picking up spray cans and adding there mark to the territory.
Parts of the Cadillacs were so covered with multiple layers of spray paint over the years that the rainbow of colors made the once solid cars appear to be made of wax melting in the Texas sun.
Most of the cars have either rusted away, been beat to death or stripped by vandals. Many of the original body parts have been replaced by flat sheets of steel bearing no resemblance what so ever to the once proud Cadillacs. This once unique display of historic Cadillacs has evolved into a reflection of today’s society where there is little respect or appreciation for hard work of someone else. The cars have little resemblance to what they once were; not even the current glorification of visitors’ graffiti lasts very long for there is always another visitor who will soon cover up the current marking with a newer, larger and more vibrant scribble.
I am not sure I will visit again.