Cadillac Ranch Redux

Few places on earth are more perfect for burying 10 aging Cadillacs nose first, than a hay field along I-40 East, just beyond the Amarillo, TX border.

Commissioned by Amarillo eccentric and millionaire, Stanley Marsh in 1974, Cadillac Ranch was the brainchild of Ant Farm, a San Francisco collective of architects whose counter-cultural take on consumerism inspired a Route 66 installation that’s still attracting tourists and future graffiti artists.

It was a carnival atmosphere when Leah and I arrived one late afternoon. Food trucks and vendors selling spray paint were parked inside the farm gates tending to families who had come to showcase their tagging talents

albeit temporarily, since it never lasts for more than a moment when others are there for the same purpose.

Over time, the paint build-up has transformed the Cadillac shells into grotesque casualties of Rust-oleum polymers,

leaving behind a graveyard of cans…

atop freshly, blazed signatures.

Fortunately, there are advisory signs directing people to act responsibly.

But signs are just a distraction from the real business at hand,

which is group participation in a colorful experiment of American culture and capitalism.

Car Parts

As an automobile enthusiast, I had occasion to visit the recently opened Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine on a drab weather day. It was a fitting opportunity to take my newly acquired Porsche 718 Cayman out for a drive before the expected rain.

The 30,000 sq. ft. garage displays 80 cars from Sidney Hobbs’ collection,

showcasing every decade through the 20th and 21st century,

with a miscellany of antique and classic cars from private collectors consigned for sale.

While I appreciate the automobile in its entirety, it’s the design nuances that steer me to it–the features of the vehicle that typically connote high style–always balancing the form and function:

like fins from the 50’s;

or hood ornaments;

or lights;

or radiators.

Sometimes the accents serve little purpose…

and sometimes they do.

And sometimes it nothing more than a bunch of hot air.

But the unspoken truth is, none of it really matters unless the car is driven.