Garagistry Meets... Matt Stone


In our recent article (click here, Danno...) urging classic car enthusiasts to enjoy some great summer reading with classic car stories, we mentioned Matt Stone's 2011 book, "My First Car". Since then, we have had the opportunity to speak with Matt and learned more of his passion and experiences with classic cars.

First a little bio background for those who are not familiar his Matt's creds:

Matt Stone Interviewing Jay Leno
Matt Stone is a freelance journalist, author, broadcaster, former Editor of Motor Trend Classic magazine and has been a professional automotive journalist/ photographer since 1990. He has authored and photographed more than a dozen automotive book titles, and for seven years was a member of SPEED/Fox Sports' Barrett-Jackson auctions television broadcast team. 

His specialties are history, design, and interview features. He is also a Chief Class Judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a judge at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and officiates at other shows and events. All in all, we think Matt has the credentials to speak with authority on the subject of classic car history.

Matt explained experience tells him the fascination so many have with one's first car is overwhelmingly due to the fact that most (if not all) have for their first car was it held the "initial key that unlocked the door to personal freedom". According to Matt, "Like your first kiss, your first date, or anything equally as special, the first is something you never forget." The bond we create with the first car is based on the reality that for the first time, teenagers now had the relative ability to go where and when they (you) wanted - the car was truly a "Freedom Machine".

For Matt, he found his experiences with cars was a catalyst for great events and experiences in his life. He was able to go places, meet people - some he considered his heros - and see things he could previously only think or dream about. All experiences we believe every classic car enthusiast can relate to.

As we often hear elsewhere, a classic car enables their owners to recall their personal past from a bygone era. The ability to enjoy our nostalgic memories of a time past is nothing to ignore. Matt also added that he thinks our love of classic cars may enable us to relive or redo a significant event of our past.  


Should you have the opportunity to visit Matt's website, you'll find a collection of family photos featuring cars from the 1920's to 1960 that were considered members of the family. The idea of including "family" cars as a component of the "family tree" only make sense to him. He credits his father are the guiding force that brought him

His thoughts on the importance of recording our personal car experiences as part of a car's story were equally simple - "when you buy an older car sometimes you buy the car, other times you buy the story behind the car; the truly rewarding experience is when you can buy a great car with an interesting story attached to it."  But it remains the responsibility of the owner to record the story in a manner that it can be shared and easily passed to future owners.

Before we finished our conversation, we touched on a few subjects Matt is well-experienced with - classic car auctions and road rallys. 


"There's no stopping are great TV subjects!" As more contemporary cars qualify for the designation as a classic car - older than 25 years - newer cars will be filling more niches. Matt also mentioned that he won't be surprised when Japanese cars of the 1970's soon become very desirable - such as a first generation Datsun 240Z - if they aren't there already.  

Bottom line - the Collector Car market will continue to expand and be healthy, just so that current and future owners don't expect every classic car will realize a double-digit increase in valuation. Rarity remains the prime force-multiplier for classic cars.

Stone loves a good Road Rally. In his opinion, only one rule applies: "The journey is the most important part of any rally.

We concluded with the question we ask most notable Collectors and experts, "What's your personal favorite?"
Matt didn't pause but a moment before he revealed his favorite was a 1971 Oldsmobile 442.
'71 Oldsmobile 442 - close, but not Matt's missing 442
"My first car, and one of the great ones that got away. 455 cubic-inch big-block V-8 with a ram air hood and a Hurst shifter - Just what every 16-year-old kid needed." The color was called Viking Blue, it was fully loaded, and all original. He still pines for 'Big Blue' on a daily basis."  

On Matt's website found similar brief commentaries for the cars he has previously owned or still does, interesting and nostalgic - what we could expect from every owner.  


Before we finished, Matt informed us that he has a new book coming out that is a novel approach to the familiar "Barn Find" publications. To be released in Oct. 2015 and available with advance order, Matt's newest book is titled "Exotic Barn Finds", and as you can imagine, it focuses on truly exotic cars found in barns, garages and under water.

"I’ve come to think of “barnfind” as metaphor for a car lost and found, as not every great hidden find comes directly and literally out of a barn, and I hope you’ll go along with me on this. But if the piece wasn’t somehow lost, salted away, vanished and then reborn into the world, it’s not a barnfind. Many cars have been lost; the idea here to me means cars that have been lost (or hidden) and found."

"This notion is nothing new; the hope of finding that Bugatti in a barn or the forlorn Ferrari in a field has been the fantasy of car enthusiasts for decades, but it certainly has become exponentially more popular in the last dozen or so years. Another reason is likely the growing appreciation for unrestored cars, originality and the “patina” of use and enjoyment – although as you’ll see, too many barnfinds have been abused and neglected far beyond the notion of patina; many have degraded to “parts car” status, or are in genuine need of a comprehensive physical and cosmetic restoration. No matter, it’s the thrill of the hunt for many."

We thank Matt for his passion for classic cars, his recognition that "the story" is a big factor in establishing a classic car's current and future value, and his contributions making the classic car hobby enjoyable for so many. 

The Garagistry Team