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 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat is getting all the press, and at 707 horsepower, it certainly deserves a paragraph or two. But Dodge won’t sell very many of those. More significant to the man on the street, we’ll posit, is the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack. At only 485 horsepower, it’s much more practical. Riiiiight. […]
There’s not much to the interior of an Alfa Romeo GTA. Memory fails all but the most important details, things like highly legible gauges, the Alfa-typical dogleg shifter, the bucket seats that hold the occupant like a miser holds his ledger. There’s the should-belt-only restraint system—no lap belt—that hopefully works better than it feels. Mamma […]
According to Carl Sandburg, it was fog that comes in on little cat feet, sits on silent haunches and then moves on. According to Kia, it’s the Soul EV that comes and goes silently. And perhaps on little hamster feet. That’s silently for the 2015 Soul EV because the battery-electric vehicle is one of the […]
There’s style, and then there’s style, and that’s what the 2015 Buick Lacrosse has. A while back, we sampled the 2012 Lacrosse and found a pleasant All-American, a long-legged tourer, consummate commuter and classic day-to-day suburban sedan. For the traditionalist, it’s a superb manifestation of the American sedan. Nothing has changed. In fact, we […]
Cadillac has needed a premier model to complement the Cadillac CTS, the model that’s the linchpin of the brand’s revival. The CTS—sedan, wagon and coupe—has been joined by the compact Cadillac ATS and the full-size Cadillac XTS. But to square off with competitors such as the Audi A8/S8 requires Cadillac to go even further upmarket. […]
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 […]