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David Zenlea

David Zenlea

Senior Editor
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David Zenlea
Vanity would have me believe you’re reading this because you’re a devoted fan of my writing. In that case, you may want to know that I also edit the magazine’s Ignition section, read lots of Kurt Vonnegut, and would eat sushi at every meal if it were socially acceptable. Reality tells me you just want to know how I landed this amazing job. Fine. Based on my experience, here’s some advice.

1) Major in journalism. Most of us here aren’t racecar drivers -- we’re writers and reporters. It probably helps if you’ve attended journalism school, as I did at the University of Maryland, or worked for some periodical. That said, deputy editor Joe DeMatio now claims he was more intrigued by my second degree in Jewish studies, even though he’s never once asked me to write about the exploits of Simon bar Kochba.
2) Know how to operate a manual transmission. Seems obvious, but I actually did not upon being hired. I taught myself during my first month on the job by visiting six Ann Arbor dealerships to test drive stick-shift economy cars. My sincere apologies to whoever ended up buying that Ford Focus.
3) Learn everything you can about cars. I grew up pouring over car magazines and memorizing zero-to-sixty times as if they were catechism. People have been asking me for car-buying advice since before I could drive.
4) Realize you actually know nothing about cars. A brief conversation with design editor Robert Cumberford, editor-in-chief Jean Jennings, or any other of the veterans here leaves you humbled and astounded by their wealth of automotive knowledge. It’s truly one of the best parts of working here.
5) Be persistent. I wrote to Automobile’s editors. And called. And wrote them some more.
6) Be lucky. I really have no idea why then deputy editor Joe DeMatio answered my unsolicited voicemail. I hadn’t even pronounced his name correctly (it’s De-MAY-shee-oh, not De-MAH-tee-oh). But he did, and here I am, driving cars and writing about them for my devoted fans.

articles by David Zenlea

Porsche 918 Spyder Plug In Hybrid Concept
Car Magazine

Why Are the Germans Plugging In?

They're scared of Uncle Sam.
| Dec 11, 2014
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Vs 1954 Chevrolet Corvette 7
Car Magazine

Then vs. Now: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette vs. 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

The self-shifting Corvette finally comes into its own.
| Dec 04, 2014
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1975 1980 MGB front three quarter view
Collectible Classic

Collectible Classic: 1975-1980 MGB

A revisionist history of the rubber bumper.
| Nov 28, 2014
View Photo Gallery
Moment Of Zenlea Ford Jaguar Aluminum
Moment of Zenlea

Aluminum: Ford and Jaguar's Love Child

Lightweight aluminum cars and trucks.
| Nov 24, 2014
View Photo Gallery
1997 Dodge Neon Front Three Quarter View
Moment of Zenlea

The All-Crappy-Stars Awards

Some of us like some pretty awful cars.
| Oct 30, 2014
View Photo Gallery
2015 Ford F 150 09 front three quarter
Road Tests

2015 Ford F-150 Review

Getting under the tin skin of Ford’s aluminum pickup truck.
| Oct 01, 2014
View Photo Gallery
Roush 2015 Ford Mustang
News & Rumors

Roush Introduces Upgrade Kits for 2015 Ford Mustang

An early glimpse at the newest modified pony car.
| Sep 26, 2014
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Moment of Zenlea S550 Plug in
Moment of Zenlea

Will CAFE Burn the Germans?

For Mercedes and Audi, as well as BMW, plug-ins may be the solution.
| Sep 24, 2014
View Photo Gallery
2016 Mercedes AMG GT
News & Rumors

Can the Mercedes-AMG GT Conquer the Mighty Porsche 911?

AMG sets out to challenge the “perfect car” with one of its own.
| Sep 10, 2014
View Photo Gallery
1991 Mazda MX 5 Miata 2014 Mazda MX 5 PRHT GT
Road Tests

Then vs. Now: 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Driving the past and present of Miata to determine its future.
| Sep 02, 2014
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