In 1974, a unique, recognisable and iconic landmark of Route 66 was born. A trio of artists from an art group known as the Ant Farm - Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels - were commissioned to produce a piece of public art. They opted to demonstrate the evolution of the tail fin of the Cadillac and thus, ten Cadillac's were half-buried, nose down, in the dirt.
Although Cadillac Ranch is visible from the road it requires just a short walk through the field on which it's built for closer inspection. Over time it’s become an ever-changing work of art as visitors to the site are permitted to bring paint and pens and add their own colourful flourishes. This wasn't the original intention but as the original vehicles were consistently subjected to defacement the artists moved from tolerance to actively encouraging it.
"If it had been sited in a remote place," Chip Lord said, "it would be pristine today." "And no one would have seen it," Doug Michels added. "We wanted it to be an interactive monument, so people could express themselves." Every so often the Caddies are repainted as fresh 'canvasses' and the process starts all over again!
These ten up-ended Cadillacs have appeared in numerous music videos and TV shows including the video for "Living in America" by James Brown, and in the movie "Cars" under the guise of the "Cadillac Range".
It's an interesting thought that these cars have now spent longer buried nose down in the dirt than they ever did cruising the roads of Route 66!
Free of charge and open 24/7, this Route 66 icon should certainly be part of every drivers itinerary.