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.
Safety Tip of the Day: Don’t set the armpit hair of the driver of the vehicle you’re in on fire while he’s driving at high speed at 5:30 in the morning and none of the five of you in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. But what makes a humorous lead for a Roadkill article […]
The Volkswagen Passat gets better every year, and although we’re awaiting a full refurbishment of the Jetta next year—the traditional mid-run updating with changes to the front and rear aspects, some juggling of interior appointments and perhaps some mechanical updating—the 2015 Volkswagen Passat gets one new feature that will make VW’s sedan buyers not want […]
We don’t know whether to file this under What Kind of a Mind Thinks Up Something Like This, or What Kind of Person Would Drive Something Like That? The “this” and “that” in this case is Mercedes-Benz’s Smart fortwo—a Smart Car—powered by a 1.5-liter Toyota four-cylinder engine from a Toyota Paseo. We don’t know the […]
We know the Mini. You know the Mini…or if you don’t, take 48 seconds and watch this. We’ll wait. You’re back. We bring all this up because the Mini Cooper, the one arriving in 2001 under BMW’s ownership, is entering its third generation—yes, already—and there are significant changes. Not that most people would notice the […]
To introduce the 2016 Jaguar XE sedan, the British carmaker presented an almost two-hour stage production worthy of a Broadway, designed to close after for a one night stand and only in front of invited glitterati and important people. Along with anyone who signed on to watch it live on the internet. And the Jaguar […]
Volkswagen has cornered 90 percent of the American automotive diesel market, a remarkable achievement, especially considering the diesel engines now in everything from BMW and Audi to even the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chevrolet Cruze. To be fair, Volkswagen has had an exclusive on smaller diesel engines in the U.S. No one else has […]
Cars with personality, you know what that means. Cars with attitude and a twinkle in their headlights. Often these are special vehicles built on the same platform as an ordinary sedan or crossover. The car with personality is not for the timid because they will be noticed. In the witness protection plan? Forget it. You […]
Derek Jenkins, Mazda’s director of design, introduced the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata at simultaneous events in Spain, Japan and—where Jenkins actually was—Monterey, California. While admitting that getting the opportunity was a dream-come-true type of thing for a designer, the next thought he had was “I hope we don’t screw this up.” From our first look […]
It was once said that if you give an Englishman a piece of sheet metal, he’ll do something silly with it. While that was once semi-true—there were exquisite D-type Jaguars to go with the amusingly plump 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster—it no longer applies. Survival of the fittest, however, means no more silly cars from Jolly […]
Based on almost two millions auto insurance claims, the most dangerous drivers in Great Britain are…surgeons. They are, at least, the most likely to file an “at-fault” claim on their car insurance. And the safest drivers? Building society—savings and loan—clerks. That’s the finding of a study by Moneysupermarket.com, as reported by The Guardian. Furthermore, nine […]