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 folks there may not know it, but Kia hit on the perfect name for the newest addition to their lineup, dubbing it the 2014 Kia Cadenza. And a cadenza, for those not musically educated, is a place in a concerto where a featured soloist displays, as they say, musical virtuosity. Or in more general [...]
It’s not enough that Saab, after having been rescued by Dutch boutique carmaker Spyker and actually producing the next generation Saab 9-5 that was under final development before General Motors threw in the towel, suffered financial collapse. Now the Associated Press is reporting from Stockholm that three top Saab executive perhaps went too far in [...]
A note left for the milkman, three boys bouncing on the back seat—one brandishing a toy gun—and planning a route with multiple turns, it’s How to Go Places, an educational film brought to you by Your Chevrolet Dealer. How to Go Places tells how to take a vacation by car, which isn’t as ludicrous as [...]
It’s an age old conundrum: What’s better for aerodynamics, driving a pickup truck with the tailgate up or tailgate down? Redneck or rocket scientist, it’s probably not what you think, and it’s definitely counterintuitive. Of course, if you have a 750-foot-long tunnel through which a 43-foot-diameter fan powered by a DC electric motor with the [...]
Wow, that was quick. Most car companies let a model year pass before making even minor changes to an all-new model. But not Honda. The 2012 Honda Civic marked the beginning of a new generation of Honda’s venerable economy sedan, and before the ink is barely dry on the 2012 press releases, along comes the [...]
Ah, the Volkswagen Amarok Power-Pickup concept. You know you want to. Although Volkswagen imported Golf-based pickups to the U.S. in the ‘80s, it doesn’t now, no doubt for many reasons, none more than perhaps the 25 percent import tariff it would have to pay on each one. So perhaps it’s not just the utility and [...]
A Volvo flywheel hybrid system, or flywheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), has the potential to out save hybrids now on the market with a new application of a concept earlier considered but not adopted. Batteries have been the conventional—if hybrid technology of any kind can be conventional—route to storing kinetic energy by converting it [...]
One doesn’t expect many changes the second year of a new generation of car model, and one’s expectations would be fully met with the 2013 Hyundai Azera. The second generation of the Azera debuted last year and, well, there’s precious little different between last year’s and this. Well, actually none. Which overall is a good [...]
It’s baaaaack. Though not in a bad way. The Kia Sedona minivan, which went away after the 2012 model year, will return for 2014. Bu if you look closely—especially if you look closely—the 2014 is the same minivan as the 2012 model it replaces. But here is what’s new. The 2014 Kia Sedona gets a [...]
It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, the saying goes, and while the Kia Rio is at the top of its class in power and performance, in the overall automotive landscape, it’s not the fastest bush on the hill. Or something like that. Still, as we noted in [...]