The band's members were Ric Ocasek (born Richard Otcasek), the band's principal songwriter, rhythm guitarist, and part-time lead singer; Benjamin Orr (born Benjamin Orzechowski), bassist and part-time lead singer; Elliot Easton, lead guitar and backing vocals; David Robinson, drums and backing vocals; and Greg Hawkes, keyboards, saxophone, guitar, and backing vocals.
The Cars successfully bridged the gap between the guitar-oriented rock of the 1970s and the synth-oriented pop of the early 1980s. While Elliot Easton could do the occasional guitar solo, The Cars' sound was defined much more by Greg Hawkes' synthesizers and the huge harmonies of Easton, Robinson, and Hawkes behind Orr's and Ocasek's lead vocals.
While The Cars had numerous hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s, their most successful albums were 1978's The Cars, which featured one of the most popular New Wave songs of all time in "Just What I Needed," and 1984's Heartbeat City, which spawned four Top 20 hits.
The Cars suddenly split up in 1987, after their album Door to Door failed to approach the success of their previous albums. In the late 1990s, rumors circulated of the band getting back together, but the death of bassist Benjamin Orr in October 2000 put an end to them.