Cadillac Ranch, a truly iconic American landmark, sits just off Interstate 40 a few miles outside Amarillo, Texas. It’s one of those places you see photos of and think That’s kind of cool, but wouldn’t go too far out of your way to see. Luckily, our route took us right past it.
It consists of ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground. If you’re a car buff, you may notice that they show the evolution (and growth) of the brand’s tail fins between 1949 and 1963.
You can see Cadillac Ranch from the highway, and a convenient off ramp leads directly to it. Or them. Whatever.
The cars still had their original factory colors when they were installed. But those colors are long gone thanks to the spray-painted graffiti that now embellishes every square inch of their surfaces.
Every once in a while the cars get a professional paint job. They were once painted white for a TV commercial. Another time they were painted pink in honor of the birthday of the artists’ patron’s wife, then flat black to mark the death of one of the artists, and then rainbow colors to celebrate Gay Pride Day. Once they were even restored to their original colors as part of a series of Route 66 landmark restoration projects. But those new paint jobs and even the brass plaque commemorating the project were graffitied over in less than a day.
In June 2020, the cars were painted solid black with the words “Black Lives Matter.” Here we are just four months later and there’s nary a hint of that black paint remaining.
Clearly, black lives may matter, but black paint does not.