Welcome To The VW Slug Bug Ranch
The story of the VW Slug Bug Ranch is one of art, corporate development, and roadside entrepreneurism. All for lovers of the slug bug.
At one point along Route 66 in Texas, there lived an inventive American family named Crutchfield (which I unfortunately mis-read as “Crotchfield”). In 2002, some corporation built a plaza on the opposite side of the highway from their two businesses: the Longhorn Trading Post and Rattlesnake Ranch.
Because of this, the family decided to create an eye-catching, tourist-catching art installation called The VW Slug Bug Ranch. The logic was that their rapidly deteriorating flow of customers could be revived if they could bring in some traffic.
The Crutchfield family settled on a really cool idea. They decided to create a parody of the popular Cadillac Ranch, about 35 miles west of them. The perfect car to counter the Cadillac seemed obvious: the VW slug bug.
Slug Bugs Used To Be Everywhere
First of all, what the heck is a “slug bug”?
If you’re anything like me, the game you used to play as a kid when you saw a VW Beetle was called “punch buggy”. Apparently there’s an alternative you can yell out while you’re punching someone in the arm when you see a VW Beetle:
These cars used to be everywhere. It made for excellent passive-aggressive vengeance on your siblings during car rides, amirite? These days, when you see a VW Beetle, they’re usually with collector’s plates. However, back in the day, they were a dime a dozen.
Perhaps that’s why the Crutchfield family decided to plant five of them in the ground to try and save their roadside businesses.
Just Down The Road Is The Original ‘Cadillac Ranch’
The original “Cadillac Ranch” – AKA the inspiration for the VW Slug Bug Ranch – is also near Amarillo Texas. Built in 1974 by an art group called “Ant Farm” in Texas, it was funded by an eccentric millionaire named Stanley Marsh 3.
The two parties had a blast rattling the Amarillo population back in the day. These days, the stop, an ever-changing installation featuring Cadillacs planted in the ground, is still super popular.
It was originally regarded as an act of vandalism, and is now one of the most well-attended stops in Texas along Route 66.
Know Before You Go!
K so the funny thing is that a lot of people go to Cadillac Ranch and don’t even know about Slug Bug Ranch. So the first important step is to know it’s there… which you do.
Side note: you know about uploading the map for a place before you to there, right? If you don’t have a signal, which is highly likely when visiting obscure roadside attractions, you’ll still be good with offline maps.
From there, be super careful getting onto the property. While it’s abandoned and not maintained, there are also reports of squatting and things like that. So while most people don’t mean any harm… just be careful.
Bring some spray paint with you and leave your mark on this hilarious and super neat roadside attraction in Texas! It never ended up saving the Crutchfield’s businesses, but it sure is a cool stop.