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.
The arrival of the autonomous car, says Ford, will be more like Chanukah than Christmas. Not that the carmaker went theological, Ford indicated that instead of getting everything on one day, presents will come over a period of time. (Yes, we know gift-giving isn’t part of Chanukah, but technically, neither is Christmas, but rather than […]
Putting it simply, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the reason the letters O, M and G were invented. Why? This is not a confession, but we know of a Charger Hellcat that, well, let’s just say that it made the leap into hyperspace just about as fast as anything we’ve experienced. And without […]
At first we didn’t believe the driver information center of the 2015 Nissan Qashqai we were driving. It would reset itself every time we restarted this U.K. spec model we were driving in Scotland, and every time we did so, it would display numbers in the high 40’s, more often 50’s, and if we hit […]
In a phrase dates back to vaudeville, they say if it will play in Peoria, it’s ready for the big time. The thought was that this northwest Illinois town had the demographics and attitudes that matched the nation as a whole. So we ask, would a cargo van designed by Fiat, built in Turkey, and […]
When a model is in its final year before replacemrnt by a new generation—as the 2015 Audi A4 is now—a carmaker has two choices. It can whistle past the graveyard and hope nothing bad happens. Or it can aggressively court buyers with special packages, or make previously optional equipment and trim standard. For the 2015 […]
For fans of the Volkswagen GTI, there’s hardly a spot better than Lake Worthersee in Austria for the annual conclave of owners and enthusiasts of Volkswagen’s sporty sedan. Going strong for 34 years and with attendance hitting 200,000, the event has become a place for Volkswagen to treat the faithful with a new GTI special, […]
The advertising tag line for a jelly maker goes, “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.” Well, with a face like the 2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport, it must to be great. Or else. The Lexus spindle grille is, well, controversial, and that on the NX 200t is the largest yet, […]
Where are all the Hummers? The Hummer dealerships, with their distinctive simulated corrugated galvanized steel roofs are gone, converted to other purposes. On the other hand, Hummer vehicles, the Hummer H2 and H3, didn’t simply evanesce when GM pulled the plug on the simulated military vehicles. To some extent, they’ve kept on rolling. And according […]
Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that Daimler AG will work together with Nissan on developing a Mercedes-Benz-badged pickup truck based on the world-market Nissan NP300 Navara/Frontier pickup. The new Mercedes pick-‘em-up won’t be a Nissan with a three-pointed star on its grille, but rather, we’re told, it will “share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan […]
In its press releases, Toyota called it the “ultimate Celica.” It certainly was. With 200 turbocharged horsepower under the hood, all-wheel drive, a curvaceous body and traditional Toyota quality and reliability, it was in the running for the best compact sports coupe of its day. It was, of course, the 1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo, […]