Matt Stone '83, Finance, Real Estate & Law
Executive Editor, Motor Trend Magazine
|"With the techonological advancements, whether it's safety or navigation systems or hybrid drives, the technology that's going into cars is fascinating."
Let’s cut to the chase: In Southern California where the car is
king, Matt Stone has a great gig.
“Yes, there are guys that would push me off a cliff to have my
job,” says Stone. He’s the executive editor of Motor Trend magazine,
and that means he gets to read, write and talk about cars all day.
And yes, he drives just about any automobile he desires.
“We have a garage here at the office, and you never know
what’s going to be in it. I drive two or three different cars per week,”
he says. “It depends on what I feel like doing that night — if I want
to move a bunch of people, it’s amazing how good some of today’s
minivans are. But if I want to chill or relax, I get in a Porsche, put the
top down and drive through the Hollywood Hills.”
Of course, much of his wheel time is also dictated by what's
new on the market, story assignments and road tests.
Like many kids, he inherited his passion for cars from his father. “He always had nice, cool cars or hot rods or sports cars, and I had a
great affection for cars early on,” says Stone.
His first love was a 1971 Oldsmobile 442 muscle car in Viking
blue with a white top that he drove at 16. “I’ve probably had a couple
dozen cars in 30 years. The most I ever owned at one time is seven.
Fortunately, I have a garage, a car port and a really long driveway.”
His livelihood, however, hasn’t always been behind the wheel.
He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1983 with a degree in finance,
real estate & law.
||A Cobra concept car is being driven and tested by Matt Stone at the Irwindale Speedway.
Stone began a solid real estate career, but on the side, he was
writing freelance articles about the auto industry. Sixteen years
ago, he crossed over to a full-time writing career
and hasn’t looked back.
“What excites me most about this business is
that it’s extremely diverse. It’s not just new cars: It’s
old cars, motor sports, history, design, technology,
the industry side, suppliers and technology,” he
says. “You just can’t get bored here.”
Because his job is literally about keeping up
with “motor trends,” Stone has a solid sense of
what the future holds for drivers.
“We’re definitely going to have to find and
develop economically feasible cars that use
alternative power sources. There’s tremendous
pressure, especially with gas at three bucks a
gallon, to make cars that get better gas mileage,
use alternative power sources and reduce the
dependency on oil.”
It’s not a new topic, he says, but it’s one that
is at the forefront of many automotive chats. An
interesting point in the discussion is striking
a balance between all the bells and whistles
consumers want and the innovations that
improve our driving experience.
“For example, we need to reduce vehicle
weight. Cars have gotten heavier and heavier,
and in order to move that mass, you need gas,”
he says. “They’re heavier because they have
airbag systems, 10-speaker audio systems,
navigation systems, computers — the new BMW
7 series has 46 electric motors. And we’re still
building them out of steel and glass like we did
100 years ago. So, I believe that’s a frontier the
manufacturers will have to tackle in the next
decade or two.”
That said, Stone is a die-hard enthusiast.“We’re in a real era of automotive diversity right
now. If you want to talk about sports cars and
exotic cars, today’s Ferraris, Aston Martins,
Porsches, the Ford GT, the Viper and the Corvette
Z06 are some of the best ever. It’s amazing to
me that a 500-horsepower car puts out fewer
emissions today than a Volkswagen did in the’70s,” he laughs.
“With the technological advancements,
whether it’s safety or navigation systems or
hybrid drives, the technology that’s going into
cars is fascinating,” enthuses Stone. "A lot of
cars have audio systems that are way better than
what most people have in their homes.”
Even with a motorcade parked in his long
driveway and the latest and greatest at his
disposal at work, Stone is still pining for his
ultimate set of wheels: a Ferrari Daytona from
the early ’70s now priced around $120,000.
“It’s a car that’s captivated me since it
was new, and it’s become a classic over that
time,” he says. “The Ferrari Daytona’s sound is
unbelievable. As it drives by, it just curls up the
hairs on the back of your neck.”
Spoken like a man who truly inherited a