CADILLAC RANCH FACE LIFT

By Jug Varner

Standing out in a wind-swept Amarillo wheat field, I took this first photo for my 1998 article about Cadillac Ranch.

According to a recent story in the Houston Chronicle, the keepers of this unique “life sculpture effect” gave it a new paint job that did away with the unsightly graffiti, and restored it to its original look — including new tires.

This Amarillo Globe-News photo at left shows a painter at work covering up years of spray can “art,” preparing the various models for the yellow, blue, and green hues of 1974 — when the cars were first buried nose-down in the sandy loam.

This renewal project was part of Amarillo's “Save-a-Landmark” program, and was financed by the Hampton Inns to help increase summer travel to the area.

According to Amarillo Mayor Trent Sizemore, “Cadillac Ranch has the 'gawk effect'. For years, people have been driving by with their heads turned sideways.”

From all the graffiti I saw during my visit, I would add that more than a few stopped, got out of their cars, and trudged into the field to get a closer look.

I wonder if the graffiti will continue? When I was a kid, there was an apt saying for this sort of exhibitionism: “Fools names and fools faces are always seen in public places.”