1972 The Cars “Heartbeat City” Album Cover

On a rainy fall day in 1984, Peter Phillips met drummer David Robinson of The Cars over cocktails in a London bar. Robinson is credited for naming the band and concepting its album covers, which have also featured risqué artwork from pin-up artist Alberto Vargas (Candy-O, 1979). Robinson used Phillip’s painting Art-O-Matic Loop Di Loop for the cover of the band’s fifth album, Heartbeat City.


Art-O-Matic Loop Di Loop is one of Phillips’ most recognized works; it showcases a 1971 Plymouth Duster and sexy pin-up interspersed with colorful geometric shapes. The style is characteristic of Phillips’ early-70s work, including Seleco-Mat Techototempest, Selecto-Mat Rear Axle and Art-O-Matic Cuda Cutie.


Cars and girls iconized the liberated youth culture of the 70s and 80s – sexy, fast and free. The marriage of Pop Art and Pop Music with the Heartbeat City album demonstrates the permeation of progressive sexual attitudes into mainstream music and aesthetics.