Author Archive: John Matras

John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others.

John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association.

John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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1964 Renault 8 Gordini: How to say ‘Shelby’ in French

1964 Renault 8 Gordini: How to say ‘Shelby’ in French

Saying “Gordini” in France is like saying “Shelby” in America. Not only do both names mean automotive performance, but if you don’t stretch the analogy too far, there are similarities between the careers of the men behind the names, Amedee Gordini and Carroll Shelby. Each had begun his career as a race driver, each had […]

May 2, 2016 | By | Reply More
2016 Cadillac ATS 3.6 AWD Premium review: Looks aren’t everthing

2016 Cadillac ATS 3.6 AWD Premium review: Looks aren’t everthing

It doesn’t look different. Ah, but it is, just not in what you can see. The Cadillac ATS was introduced in the 2013 model year, and this is 2016. Normally that would mean a mid-generational update, a facelift or something. But here’s the 2016—with no changes to the bumpers, grille, trim or lights for the […]

April 28, 2016 | By | Reply More
2016 Chevrolet Malibu LT review: Growing up

2016 Chevrolet Malibu LT review: Growing up

It’s common, if not universal, for an automobile model to grow over the years, to become longer overall with a longer wheelbase. But not usually like this. The new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu grew itself right into Chevrolet Impala territory. Check the numbers: The wheelbase of the new 2016 Malibu is 111.4 inches.  The wheelbase of […]

April 25, 2016 | By | Reply More
Can a car headrest be used to break a car’s window in an emergency?

Can a car headrest be used to break a car’s window in an emergency?

There’s a meme making its way around Facebook saying that car manufacturers make car seat headrests detachable so they can be used to break window glass in an emergency. Well, let’s take a look at that. First, we’ll posit the primary reason they’re detachable is not because they’re so much “kept detachable” but rather because […]

April 23, 2016 | By | Reply More
Euro car safety group adds dual star rating to include advanced safety features

Euro car safety group adds dual star rating to include advanced safety features

A problem, if you can call it that, for car safety testing is that automakers are going above and beyond governmental safety requirements. While car crash testing has been going on for decades and refined to match real world conditions for more accurate crash test ratings, new safety equipment has been developed and touted by […]

April 20, 2016 | By | Reply More
2016 BMW 340i xDrive review: Uh-oh

2016 BMW 340i xDrive review: Uh-oh

“How are you today, sir?” “Not as well I think than I was doing a few moments ago.” The cop almost apologized for pulling me over. I was actually quite a bit over the posted limit but, as Officer Friendly pointed out, there was a short section of road that was posted at 30 mph. […]

April 15, 2016 | By | Reply More
2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Altitude 4×4 review: Wider and higher

2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Altitude 4×4 review: Wider and higher

Our first sojourn with the Jeep Cherokee was with trail-rated 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and then the top of the line 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited, which was fine for us because we got to evaluate all the toys and tools. But as we noted at the time, we didn’t get to evaluate the base Sport […]

April 9, 2016 | By | Reply More
2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD review: Can’t buy a thrill

2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD review: Can’t buy a thrill

Here’s the deal. There’s one thing you can’t get in a 2016 Toyota RAV4: excitement. That seems a common thread in our RAV4 reviews, including the 2015 RAV4 Limited, the 2014 RAV4 XLE, and the 2013 RAV4 Limited of the current generation. That, really, is how it has been for the past 18 years. The […]

April 4, 2016 | By | Reply More
Multi-vehicle pileup wrecks seven brand-new Jeep Wranglers…but no bananas

Multi-vehicle pileup wrecks seven brand-new Jeep Wranglers…but no bananas

Multi-car accidents have been called pile-ups, but one in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, truly lived up to the term. According to a report on WNEP-TV, a driver of a truck carrying seven new Jeep Wranglers ignored warning signs to use a lower gear and slow down for a steep hill just out of town. Shades of Thirty-Thousand […]

April 1, 2016 | By | Reply More
The Brubaker Box, visionary–but too farsighted

The Brubaker Box, visionary–but too farsighted

“We were chugging along looking for clients, trying to survive with a small design office, when it occurred to me that there were a hell of a lot of surfer kids getting around in old beat-up Volkswagen vans.” That was Curtis Brubaker’s epiphany. A trip to Newport Beach yielded a photo with eight or nine […]

March 29, 2016 | By | Reply More
NYIAS: 2017 Nissan GT-R debuts as a good thing

NYIAS: 2017 Nissan GT-R debuts as a good thing

If you made 565 horsepower, had a drag coefficient of .26, and a circle-and-bar logo on your rear end, what would you be? You’d be the new 2017 Nissan GT-R, making its debut at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. And that would be a good thing. The 2017 Nissan GT-R is the latest […]

March 28, 2016 | By | Reply More
NYIAS: 2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept shows when it comes to size…it matters

NYIAS: 2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept shows when it comes to size…it matters

The world belongs to crossovers—and SUVs—but if the scale weren’t so apparent, the 2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept—making its debut at the New York International Auto Show—would be a crossover. But the Navigator Concept  is huge, just like the current Navigator, and really as big as a full-size SUV should be. But the Navigator Concept, instead […]

March 25, 2016 | By | Reply More
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