Marsh did finally agree to the project, and in the summer of 1974 Ant Farm arrived in Amarillo. The bulk of their time in the city was spent tracking down the series of used cars that would eventually be buried along Route 66 (now Interstate 40). Marsh granted them a budget of $3,000 to purchase 10 models spanning the years between 1949 and 1964. Together, the cars offered a time-lapse view of the evolution of the Cadillac tailfin. The trio scoured the Texas Panhandle for several weeks, visiting junkyards and answering for-sale ads. The 1957 Sedan DeVille was particularly difficult to track down; in fact, Lord said they started burying the other cars before they found one, leaving a space for it to eventually be slotted in.
“The Cadillac tailfin changed from year to year, and each year the old one went out of style,” Marquez explained. “People would say: ‘’56 tailfin, damn, it’s different, better get a new one! ’57—whoa, that’s really different, better get a new one.’ It was a consumer culture of planned obsolescence. Since Cadillac was the top of the line, they proudly proclaimed themselves to be the best car in the world,” he continued. “That was total horseshit, of course, but most Americans just bought that hook, line, and sinker. So that’s what Cadillac Ranch is about. And it’s a goof on Texas too, the mythical Texas oilman who dumps his Cadillac when the ashtray gets full.”