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

Fiat Chrysler 2014 2018 Five Year Plan Charts
News & Rumors

Chrysler to Go Mainstream, Dodge to Become Performance Brand

SRT back under Dodge umbrella; Grand Caravan bites the dust.
| May 06, 2014
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Jim Federico
News & Rumors

GM Global Engineering Chief Retires

Federico led small car renaissance.
| May 05, 2014
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2015 Volvo S60 and Volvo V60 Polestar
Road Tests

2015 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar Review

Not all Volvos are sober and sensible.
| May 02, 2014
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2014 Cadillac ELR
Road Tests

2014 Cadillac ELR: Around The Block

Attempting to silence the Volt's harshest critics.
| Apr 25, 2014
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2014 All Stars Road Trip
Car Awards

2014 Automobile Magazine All-Stars Road Trip

We drive our favorite cars in America across America.
| Apr 08, 2014
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1993 Mazda Miata David Zenlea
Moment of Zenlea

A Car For Your Id

Going for a blast in a 1993 Mazda Miata.
| Apr 04, 2014
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Dieter Zetsche In 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class
Moment of Zenlea

Riding With Dr. Z

A quick chat with Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche.
| Mar 21, 2014
2015 Chrysler 200C
Road Tests

2015 Chrysler 200 Review

A Thoroughly Upgraded Midsize Sedan Leans Toward Sportiness
| Mar 19, 2014
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2015 Mercedes Benz C Class
Road Tests

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 4Matic Review

More a Compact S-Class than a Sport Sedan
| Mar 13, 2014
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Maserati Alfieri Concept Show Floor Rear Side View
2014 Geneva Motor Show

2014 Geneva Auto Show: Hits, Misses & Revelations

We pick our favorite cars from the Swiss auto show.
| Mar 06, 2014
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Chrysler Uconnect Radio In Ferrari California
Moment of Zenlea

The Dark Art of Parts Sharing

A guide to safely swapping components.
| Mar 05, 2014
Mercedes Benz Amg Gt Spy Side 4
2014 Geneva Motor Show

Mercedes-Benz Talks 911 Rival, CLA-Class In Geneva

AMG Chief Tobias Moers spills the details on the replacement for the SLS AMG.
| Mar 05, 2014
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