If you want to jazz up your summer road trips with a celebration of everything automotive, you can stop by some of the most popular car-centric sculptures found across the nation. These sculptures showcase the automobile, or what’s left of it, in new and interesting ways. The vehicles and their parts appear in various states as celebrations of beauty, historical records, societal critiques and so much more. To decide what these works of art mean to you, and truly appreciate them in all their glory, you must jot them down on your road trip itinerary for an up close and personal visit.
In the heart of Amarillo, Texas, you can find a row of 10 gorgeous classic Cadillacs with their noses in the ground and tailfins to the sky. These brightly-painted cars show the evolution of the iconic tailfin as it changed from 1949 to 1963. As an installation by the art group, Ant Farm, these cars were intended to reflect the design of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Over the years, these cars have undergone multitudes of paint jobs to celebrate different occasions. The creators now encourage travelers to add their own personal touches, turning these cars into canvases for anyone who comes along.
Trans Am Totem
As one part celebration of the automotive world and one part social commentary on consumer culture, the Trans Am Totem has a lot to say despite its relatively small footprint. Standing as a permanent installation for the Vancouver Biennale, this 33-foot statue consists of five stacked automobiles atop a large cedar tree trunk. At the top of the stack proudly sits the Pontiac Trans Am, looking the most complete of the bunch. The BMW, Honda, Volkswagen and Mercedes that sit beneath the Pontiac gradually show how the automobile tends to devolve into a sad state of disrepair. Take what you will from this work of art, but its impressive construction alone is worth a look.
As a nod to one of the most important parts of the automobile, wheels play a major role in the creation of the W’eel Turtle in Dunseith, North Dakota. More than 2,000 steel rims make up this enormous turtle statute that stands 18 feet high and more than 40 feet in length. The contrast between fast and slow, turtles and wheels, can’t but help to stand out as you gave upon this wonder. The artist intended to create a monument that honored the nearby Turtle Mountains State Park, however. Whatever this monument means to you will become clear as your road trip takes you to the literal foot of this statue.
As a replica of Stonehenge, Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska, creates a link between the modern world and the artifacts left behind by past societies. Created by Jim Reinders in 1987, this work of art consists of 38 cars and trucks arranged perfectly as an exact copy of Stonehenge in its current state. Although not planned, the 2017 solar eclipse brought this installation to life as it passed over Carhenge with 4,000 people standing in awe. Although there are so many ways to perceive the meaning of this installation, Reinders built it as a memorial to his beloved dad. As additional works of art were erected onsite, the location gained the name of the Car Art Reserve.
What each of these amazing automotive statutes mean to you may wildly differ from what the artists were going for – and what other people see. But you can only know with a visit to these top spots, so you can set your gaze on the wondrous sights before you.