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.
There are two schools of thought about the design of a hybrid. One is that hybrid technology can be adapted into an existing model, such as the Camry Hybrid, in order to go unnoticed by the general population. Or it can be as singular in styling as the 2016 Toyota Prius. And singular it is. […]
Good things come in small packages, they say. And we say, when those packages are cars and the good thing are powerful engines, that’s a really good thing. Particularly good, for example, is the 500-horsepower Volkswagen Beetle GCR, a monster all-wheel drive racer built for the Global Rallycross Championship series…but we want one for a […]
It’s football season as this goes to press, so perhaps a football analogy is appropriate in our review of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT. The one we’ll make is there are different phases in your team’s game. There’s the defensive line, pass defense, the offensive line, the quarterback, the receivers, et cetera, and so […]
The Plymouth Cricket is largely forgotten today, but in 1971, it was Chrysler’s temporary future. In 1970, Chrysler Corporation had been rolling in the present. With the 426 Hemi and the 440 Wedge and some of the best styled and engineered – if haphazardly constructed – pony cars and intermediates, the company had a menu […]
Usually we at CarBuzzard make sure our test cars are sparkling clean and shiny when we photograph them. Who, after all, wants to see a dirty car? Ew, right? But this time we were driving the 2017 Acura RDX down some dusty trails exploring the eastern rim of Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon and thought, why not? […]
No one buys a minivan for sex appeal. True, some have tried to make the mom-mobile more exciting, including for example the sportified 2015 Toyota Sienna SE and the rolling man cave-intended 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan R/T we’ve tested. But when it comes down to it, the minivan, including our current test 2016 Toyota Sienna […]
2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune Convertible review: For Frankie and Annette and the whole Beach Party gang
Few of the Volkswagen Beetle Dune will traverse its sandy namesakes—and for the most part we’d advise against it—but the VW Beetle Dune, introduced as a coupe for the 2016 model year and joined by a convertible for 2017, is Fun to Drive and attracts attention like the extras of the movie Beach Party. At […]
Supercar designer Gordon Murray designs an OX, transport for the third world by the Global Vehicle Trust
The needs of developing countries for transportation are much different from countries that invented the #firstworldproblem. Vehicles for the third world don’t need air conditioning, they don’t need leather seats, and they don’t need 21-speaker audio systems (with subwoofer). What they need is to be able to drive on unimproved roads, they need to be […]
For some, a Rolls was too ostentatious. For some, a Jaguar too common and flashy. A Mercedes or BMW, too, well, German. Italian cars were simply too exotic. Even a Bentley was too obvious. For these people, however, there was Bristol. Bristol was always a car maker for a very few people. Production at its […]
Millennials, that generation begins with a 1980 or later birthdate, take a lot of heat from the older cohorts. They’re called entitled, lazy and whiney delicate flowers living in Mom’s basement, while they see themselves as put upon victims who need safe spaces, or something like that. We’re not getting into the middle of that, […]
There’s something every hybrid has that the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco doesn’t. That’s right. A “hybrid” badge. That’s not fair. The Elantra Eco has an “Eco” badge. But what the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco really doesn’t have is the dual powertrain system that’s the very definition of a hybrid system, and that means the Elantra […]
Everyone knew the Honda Ridgeline was dead. The sales of the unitbody pickup with the peculiar profile had been somewhat underwhelming in a booming segment of the motor vehicle market. It had arrived for 2005, hit is peak sales of just over 50,000 units in its second year, but by 2014 had sunk to just […]