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Journey to the Land of Sprouting Cadillacs

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Journey to the Land of Sprouting Cadillacs

Journey to the Land of Sprouting Cadillacs

Journey to the Land of Sprouting Cadillacs

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11021190/11021193" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Visitors are encouraged to bring spray paint to the ranch. hide caption

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Visitors are encouraged to bring spray paint to the ranch.

Cadillacs seem to spring from the ground at the Cadillac Ranch, off I-40 just outside Amarillo, Texas. hide caption

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Cadillacs seem to spring from the ground at the Cadillac Ranch, off I-40 just outside Amarillo, Texas.

On Wednesday, our "Destination: Time Capsule" travelers have left the Wigwam motel in Holbrook, Ariz. They are headed for Amarillo, Texas, and a folk art installation known as the Cadillac Ranch. There, Charles Phoenix offers NPR's Steve Proffitt a brief history of the fin in mid-century automotive design.

Back in 1974, a group of artists called The Ant Farm bought 10 old Cadillacs, dug holes in the ground of a cotton field along Interstate 40, and placed the front ends of the Caddys in the earth, all lined up in a nice row, looking as if they had sprung from the ground.

The cars remain there today, colorfully decorated: Visitors are encouraged to bring spray paint.

From Amarillo, it's on to Tulsa, Okla., for the unearthing of a Plymouth Belvedere buried as a time capsule 50 years ago. Phoenix and Proffitt talk to people who witnessed the burial of the Plymouth, and Charles discovers some fine examples of mid-century architecture.