Cadillac Ranch

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Cadillac Ranch
Brightly painted Cadillacs, all in a row
Underside of a Cadillac

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, U.S. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. It consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the birth and death of the defining feature of mid twentieth century Cadillacs; the tailfins) from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.[1]


Cadillac Ranch is currently located at 35°11′14″N 101°59′13.4″W / 35.18722°N 101.987056°W / 35.18722; -101.987056. It was originally located at 35°11′6.6″N 101°56′58.6″W / 35.185167°N 101.949611°W / 35.185167; -101.949611 in a wheat field, but in 1997 the installation was quietly moved by a local contractor two miles (three kilometers) to the west, to a cow pasture along Interstate 40, in order to place it farther from the limits of the growing city.[2] Both sites belonged to the local millionaire Stanley Marsh 3, the patron of the project.[3] Marsh was well known in the city for his longtime patronage of artistic endeavors including the "Cadillac Ranch", Floating Mesa, "Amarillo Ramp" a work of well known land artist Robert Smithson, and a series of fake traffic signs throughout the city known collectively as the "Dynamite Museum". As of 2013, Stanley Marsh 3 does not own the Cadillac Ranch.[4]

Cadillac Ranch is visible from the highway, and though it is located on private land, visiting it (by driving along a frontage road and entering the pasture by walking through an unlocked gate) is tacitly encouraged. In addition, writing graffiti on or otherwise spray-painting the vehicles is now encouraged, and the vehicles, which have long since lost their original colors, are wildly decorated. The cars are periodically repainted various colors (once white for the filming of a television commercial, another time pink in honor of Stanley's wife Wendy's birthday, and yet another time all 10 cars were painted flat black to mark the passing of Ant Farm artist Doug Michels or simply to provide a fresh canvas for future visitors. In 2012 they were painted rainbow colors to commemorate gay pride day. The cars were briefly "restored" to their original colors by the motel chain Hampton Inn in a public relations-sponsored series of Route 66 landmark restoration projects. The new paint jobs and even the plaque commemorating the project lasted less than 24 hours without fresh graffiti.

In popular culture[edit]

"Cadillac Ranch" is the name of a Bruce Springsteen song on his 1980 album The River, later covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.[1]

The cover of Supercharge album, by the band of the same name, depicts the Cadillac Ranch.[5]

The band Atomic Tom filmed a video at Cadillac Ranch in November 2011.[6]

Pixar's 2006 animated film Cars depicts a Cadillac Range as a mountain formation; the film's credits directly acknowledge the Ant Farm collective and the Cadillac Ranch. In a case of art-imitating-art-imitating-art, that image from the film Cars has been constructed as a centerpiece of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park.

In the final scene of the King of the Hill episode "Hank Gets Dusted," Hank Hill has his father's Cadillac, which he cherished growing up, pushed front first into a hole along with other Cadillacs to reference the Cadillac Ranch.[7]

It also serves as the setting for the video of Honky Tonk Stomp by country duo Brooks & Dunn, which was the duo's last video.

A song by the same name by country music artist Chris LeDoux. Written by Chuck Jones and Chris Waters, off of his album Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy. Duet with Garth Brooks. The song reached #18 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and #16 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks.

See also[edit]

Disney's "Cadillac Range" (background)


  1. ^ a b McBride, Jim. "American Monument to the Dream". Amarillo Globe-News. 
  2. ^ Curry, Kerry. "Cars make 2-mile trip to new site". Amarillo Globe-News. 
  3. ^ Abbey, Kris. "Cadillacs all turn to black in memory of artist". Amarillo Globe-News. 
  4. ^ McBride, Jim (2013-02-16). "Marsh 3, family, associate settle teen sex lawsuits". Amarillo Globe-News. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  5. ^ Ochs, Michael. 1000 Record Covers. Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-4085-8
  6. ^ Atomic Tom. "YouTube: The Moment by Atomic Tom LIVE from Cadillac Ranch."
  7. ^

External links[edit]