After 1963, Lichtenstein's comics-based women "look hard, crisp, brittle, and uniformly modish in appearance, as if they all came out of the same pot of makeup." In the Car is one of
several that is cropped so closely that the hair flows beyond the edges of the canvas. As with most of his early romance comics, this consisted of "a boy and a girl" subject. It is described
as a tense, melodramatic graphic single-frame depiction of a romantic dialogue between a man and woman.
Lichtenstein would paint his works on a monumental scale, much enlarged from his original source material of comic-strip illustrations. This work is based on an image from the comic Girls' Romances. The original illustration included a thought bubble which read, 'I vowed to myself I would not miss my appointment - That I would not go riding with him - Yet before I knew it...' His paintings present archetypal images of contemporary America, simultaneously glamorous, mundane, dramatic and impersonal. Lichtenstein conveys the essence of the time, depicting recognisable 'types', such as the beautiful blonde woman and handsome, square-jawed man seen in this painting.