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.
True, the Honda Odyssey may not have been the ship sailed by Odysseus on his, well, odyssey of legend and verse, but it has transported many families on journeys of family tale and story. No doubt. It arrived on the automotive in market in 1998, when it would seat only six or seven depending on […]
Here’s a question: How fast can the 2016m Hyundai Sonata Hybrid go on its electric motor alone? How about 75 mph. There’s a catch, of course. That’s only at light throttle and under conditions, and only until the battery runs down and needs recharging. But it’s still a remarkable achievement and a demonstration how far […]
New models are always important to carmakers, but some are crucial. For FCA in general, and Fiat and Alfa Romeo in particular, their two debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show fall into the latter group. These are must-succeeds for the Italian makes. Here’s why. Alfa Romeo revealed the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia at the […]
If Fiat were to bring a pickup truck to the United States, would you buy it? What if it were named Fiat Fullback? Well, first of all, Fiat won’t bring any pickup truck to the U.S., if only because of the 25 percent “chicken tax.” Unless the pickup is made in Canada or Mexico (i.e., […]
The name of the2015 Mini John Cooper Works refers to, not surprisingly, John Cooper. Cooper, in addition to building cars driven to two World Championships, hot-rodded the Austin Mini to make the Mini Cooper of song and fable way back in the early Sixties. Well, maybe song. But that—compressing a lot of history—led to the […]
Why Fair Lady? It’s impossible to know what’s in someone else’s head, unless of course they tell you. And even then they may not be telling the truth. But there has been much speculation and pontification on exactly how the Datsun/Nissan sports cars came to be called Fairlady. There are some things that we do […]
Now to find a 1967 Chevrolet Nova. Chevrolet has a new crate motor—a complete run-ready engine ready for installation—that isn’t the familiar Chevy smallblock V-8 loved by street rodders, hot rodders and whatever other rodders one might have. Instead, it’s a direct-injected 2.0-liter turbocharged four. Chevrolet built it, in fact, to replace the V-8. And […]
Consider: For 2015, Nissan gave Murano a completely new and very radically different shape. Nissan has been on leading edge of crossover design, one of the first makers to create an SUV-type vehicle on a car-based chassis that didn’t look like an SUV. Where the Toyota mimicked the traditional truck-like styling for Toyota Highlander for […]
Sometimes we like to be wrong…and this is one of them. When Mazda teased us with a cryptic rendering of the concept car it would debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, we figured sure, a sports car, but probably not powered by a rotary engine. It’s a good thing we put the “probably” in there, […]
Volkswagen wants you to check out the Passat’s new bulge. Well, they want you to notice the “power dome” on the hood of the 2016 Volkswagen Passat, something VW concedes is usually used by American carmakers to cover big engines underneath. For the 2016 Passat, it’s part of a restyle of the front end forward […]