Joe DeMatio

Deputy Editor
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Joe DeMatio
I landed a job at the then-fledgling Automobile Magazine by answering a blind ad in the Ann Arbor News for an “editorial assistant at a national magazine.” I knew that both Automobile Magazine and Car and Driver were based in Ann Arbor, and I knew the story of how David E. Davis, Jr., had left Car and Driver to found Automobile Magazine with, as he liked to say, “Rupert Murdoch’s money.” So I dearly hoped, as I carefully composed my cover letter and printed it out on 100% cotton stock, that I was applying to one of Ann Arbor’s two automotive enthusiast magazines rather than to Mathematical Reviews magazine, which was also (and still is) based in Ann Arbor. After all, I had barely passed rudimentary calculus at the University of Michigan.

My cover letter was not as carefully composed as I thought, as it contained a typo, so the managing editor at the time threw it into the reject pile. Only after interviewing an assortment of poorly dressed and groomed losers did she, out of desperation, fish my resume out of the pile and call me in for an interview and a battery of quite difficult editing, proofreading, and typing tests. Yes, I took a typing test to get my job at Automobile Magazine, so when people ask me the inevitable question, “How did you get that incredibly cool job?” I can honestly answer, “through a classified ad in the newspaper, and because I took typing in high school.”

Fast-forward a couple of decades, and I’ve had a variety of positions at Automobile Magazine: editorial assistant (in which role I answered Jean Lindamood’s reader mail, including to inmates on death row); copy editor; associate editor; and senior editor. I also was the editor of our annual Buying & Leasing Guide for many years, which allowed me to spout off powertrain specs on virtually every car on the market. Along the way I learned to drive (I mean really drive, not what you learn in drivers training); to write and edit to the high standard that has been Automobile’s raison d’etre since Vol. 1, Issue 1; and to produce a monthly magazine, with all that entails.

And the cars. Yes, the cars. I’ve driven them all, I’ve written about many of them, and I’ve edited others’ writing on the rest. Well, I missed the Ferrari Enzo and the Porsche Carrera GT, but I’ve driven every Lamborghini since the Countach, every mid-engine Ferrari since the 355, and, most recently, the Bugatti Veyron, which was even better than I had hoped. Having access to so much hot metal surely is hazardous to one’s driver’s license, no? Yes, indeed, it is. I’ve spent more than my share of time at the side of the road having conversations with police officers, and I’ve begged and groveled for mercy in front of many traffic court magistrates. Funny thing is, I’ve had more speeding tickets in workaday vehicles like minivans, economy cars, and family sedans than I have had in exotics.

If I had to pinpoint two cars that have meant the most to me during my time at Automobile Magazine, it would be the Porsche 911, in all its series and iterations, partly because a 964-chassis was the first car I ever drove cross-country; and the Mazda Miata, a car that fits me physically and philosophically and which has been around since I stuffed that cover letter and resume into an envelope.

articles by Joe DeMatio

2013-jaguar-xj
Editors Notebook

2013 Jaguar XJ

This supercharged V-6 engine was powerful enough that we didn't miss having a V-8.
| Feb 05, 2013
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volkswagen-crossblue-concept-rear-three-quarters-3
News & Rumors

Detroit 2013 Hits and Misses -- Joe DeMatio

• The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray speaks to me in a way that no recent Corvette ever has, and its debut on Sunday night at a 1915-era, Albert Kahn-designed former auto factory in Detroit was the most dramatic car unveiling I've attended in years.
| Jan 22, 2013
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2014-mercedes-benz-gl-class
Editors Notebook

Automobile Takes on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

We dissect three versions of the luxury sport/utility flagship.
| Jan 16, 2013
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tesla-model-x-falcon-doors
News & Rumors

Detroit 2013: Tesla's Family Will Grow

Tesla's little stand at Cobo Hall, squeezed into a corner near Bentley and Volvo, was mobbed during the company's press conference, which seemed to serve multiple purposes: to show the Model X crossover concept for the first time at an auto show; to allow the company to gloat over the resounding cri
| Jan 15, 2013
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mini-paceman-jcw-on-wall
News & Rumors

Detroit 2013: Mini Cooper Paceman Promises a High-Octane Feeling

The auto industry hasn't exactly been predictable over the past decade, but one thing we have learned to count on is that if there's an all-new Mini model, a John Cooper Works (JCW) version won't be far behind.
| Jan 15, 2013
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458-challenge-2
News & Rumors

Ferrari's American head mum on new supercar, gung-ho on racing

Marco Mattiacci - President, Ferrari North America, sat down for a quick interview with deputy editor Joe DeMatio.
| Jan 14, 2013
jim-federico-2
News & Rumors

Detroit 2013: Jim Federico Talks 2013 Buick Encore

Jim Federico is currently in charge of B-segment small cars for GM around the world, from the United States to Europe to Brazil to China to Indonesia and everywhere in between, but his engineering hands have been all over some ten GM vehicles that are currently on sale in the United States, includin
| Jan 14, 2013
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2012-porsche-911-turbo-s-cabriolet
Editors Notebook

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Even in its supposedly compromised, convertible form, the 911 Turbo S is all the sports car one could ever want and more.
| Jan 10, 2013
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2012-bmw-650i-xdrive-2013-bentley-continental-gtc-and-2012-audi-a5-quatrro-parked-side-view
News & Rumors

Joe DeMatio: 2012 Year In Review

Favorite trip: Audi at Le Mans As you know, Audi has had great success with its gasoline- and diesel-powered race cars at Le Mans over the past 13 years, and this year its R18 e-tron Quattro, its first hybrid race car, competed alongside the TDI R18 Ultra.
| Dec 24, 2012
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2013-lexus-gs450h
Editors Notebook

2013 Lexus GS450h

You're aware that you're driving a hybrid, but you're not annoyed by it thanks to strong acceleration and natural brake feel.
| Dec 16, 2012
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2013-bmw-640i-gran-coupe
Editors Notebook

2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe

The Gran Coupe is attractive and sporty, but we're not sure whether it's better than a Mercedes CLS or Audi A7.
| Dec 14, 2012
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2013-nissan-altima-3-5-sl
Editors Notebook

2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SV

The new Nissan Altima feels significantly more substantial than several of its competitors.
| Dec 12, 2012
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2012-mercedes-benz-sls-amg-coupe
Editors Notebook

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG coupe

The SLS AMG is far more surly, scrappy, and downright ballsy than we ever expected from a Mercedes.
| Dec 10, 2012
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2012-ford-focus-electric
Editors Notebook

2012 Ford Focus Electric

The Focus Electric drives very much like a standard Focus, which is a very good thing.
| Dec 08, 2012
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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster
Editors Notebook

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Driving the SLS AMG roadster is a very special experience.
| Dec 07, 2012
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