Shelley Buscher ... reflected on why she chose to paint her beat-up Karmann Ghia convertible with dreamy, celestial glow-in-the-dark murals. "It's too oppressive to have to express yourself by paying $30,000 for a Lexus," she said, as her car sputtered. "An art car lets you be who you are, not what a Lexus designer thinks is cool."
Patricia Leigh Brown, "40 Fenders and Dada in the Rearview Mirror", The New York Times April 20, 1997
So-called “art cars” (and trucks) are a tradition that dates back at least to the horse-and-buggy days, when owners would gussy up their transportation with a little custom paintwork - or other additions as required. Professional pin striping started as a means of highlighting coachwork on - what else? - coaches; moved on to automobiles, and continues to this day on trucks. Signwriters and spray painters are often willing to provide customized paintwork on the sides of vans and the hoods of anything that moves: you'd have been hard-pressed back in the ’70s to have seen a privately-owned panel-van that didn't sport at least one set of barely-clad breasts looming out of the paintwork.