Car Confessions

A Pretty Place for Ugly Secrets

Confess Here
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About Us

We believe cars are freedom, motion, and beauty. They're a means for living a much richer life. They're also the JKC Team's excuse for having a great time together. Jean Jennings has cleverly gathered the assortment of creative people you see below.

Our mission: to take the mystery out of car ownership but leave in all the emotion. Our team intends to take you on adventures, tell you great stories, and give you the information you want and need. We hope you’ll talk back to us all over the site.

The JKC Team

Jean Jennings,

Jean Jennings

Editor in Chief

Jean Knows Cars is not just the name of this website; it's a true fact. I have been writing about cars and the car business for more than 30 years, having learned about cars at the kitchen table from my late father, Robert Lienert, who was the editor of Automotive News. At age eighteen, I bought a used car, painted it yellow, installed a toplight and a meter, and joined the Yellow Cab Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as an owner/operator. Five years later, I got a job at Chrysler’s test track as a test driver, welder, and mechanic in...

Laura Sky Brown

Laura Sky Brown

Executive Editor

I have been mixed up with automotive media since the mid-1980s, when I was one of the first staffers at Automobile Magazine. I worked there from the third issue to the tenth-anniversary issue, so I’m no stranger to startups. Since then, I have been an at-home mom with my four kids for about seventeen years. They turned out to be, in birth order: a jazz guitarist; a voracious reader who was born forty years too late to be a member of the Beat Generation; a classical violinist; and my youngest, who shows promise as an automotive enthusiast. Now I'm back...

Todd Lassa

Todd Lassa

Executive Editor

My return to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee during the Reagan era for a second bachelor’s degree accomplished two things: I made writing for a car magazine a career goal, and I met my future wife, though it took Donna two decades to come around to the latter idea. Over that quarter-century, I went on to write general assignment stories for the Milwaukee Sentinel, became a cop reporter, then schools reporter and film critic for the Quad-City Times, where I also covered Cary Grant’s death in Davenport, Iowa, and then I worked for the San Diego Business Journal, where I became...

David Zenlea

David Zenlea

Associate Editor

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...

Molly Jean

Molly Jean

Senior Editor

When I turned sixteen, my dad brought home the very first-generation Ford Escort wagon, and it just so happened to have a manual transmission. Since—like every other sixteen-year-old—I knew everything, I was sure that I would just get behind the wheel and effortlessly shift gears. Visions of screeching into the school parking lot with my shiny red "world car" and impressing all the burnouts who hung out near their Detroit muscle cars danced in my head. All of those dreams were quickly extinguished in the first fifteen minutes of my driving lesson from my dad. Although he has a teaching...

Scott Allen

Scott Allen

Videographer

I have spent a lot of time on the road. I started touring with a band along with my older brother, Ryan, when I was still in high school, and in all I have put in a little over ten years of touring. Eventually we were in a band named Thunderbirds Are Now! We played many festivals including SXSW, CMJ, and Pitchfork, toured all over the country and all over Europe, went to Australia, were in a lot of magazines, and had an exciting time. We spent thousands of hours inside a 15-passenger red Ford Econoline van we bought that...

Garrett Sammons

Garrett Sammons

Videographer

...

Gabrielle George

Gabrielle George

Photo Intern

I am Gabrielle Taylor George, and I graduated in 2011 from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city I was born and raised in. The words that describe me are DRIVE, determination, enterprise, initiative, eagerness, motivation, resolve, enthusiasm, hunger, commitment, sense of purpose. I have this crazy dream to become a great photographer and to have studios all over. I believe that we're put on this planet to enjoy life, that we have everything we would ever need to dream big, and that we can achieve the dream. I grasp the concept of first working for it, then...

Contributors

Annie Boniface

Annie Boniface

Contributor

...

Susan Carpenter

Susan Carpenter

Contributor

I'm the auto and motorcycle critic for the Orange County Register. Previously, I was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times for fourteen years, writing about motorcycles, cars, green living, and anything else that caught my fancy. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, I currently live in Los Angeles with my ten-year-old son....

Catherine Carver

Catherine Carver

Contributor

Sheer serendipity. That’s how I became a contributor to Jean Knows Cars. Well into a lovely dinner party, I received a most unlikely suggestion: “You should write about cars from your perspective – a 4’11” single mother with a ten-year-old minivan who drives around three overactive children and a Bernese Mountain Dog. Theatre, swimming, hockey, lacrosse, figure skating, field hockey… You love to tell stories. Tell them about cars.” I suggested that my background possibly lacked necessary expertise – B.A. from Duke in art history and medieval/Renaissance studies; Fellow of the American Academy in Rome;...

Jen Dunnaway

Jen Dunnaway

Contributor

I've always had cars on the brain. I turned my first wrench when I was about four, growing up among my dad's collection of weird old British and American classics. In adolescence, I was rifling through back issues of Hot Rod and Car Craft, clipping out photos and articles on fire-breathing hot rods. And after adopting my mom's old Ford Escort, I started getting part-time jobs in garages, which sustained me all the way through college and grad school. I completed the restoration of my first car on student loans, and I currently own a total of four vintage vehicles,...

Anna Eby

Anna Eby

Contributor

I'm a trial attorney, car blogger, and motorsports enthusiast whose idea of fun is going to Detroit in January or watching a six-hour endurance race. A native Texan, I currently live and work in the Austin area. When I'm not in the courtroom, you can find me driving my red Mini John Cooper Works, wrangling my pets or enjoying some delightful Texas cuisine (Tex-Mex and barbecue!). In 2013, I started a blog, Motorista, to document my car adventures and opine on all things auto related. The courtroom is no longer a man's world, and the car world won't always be,...

Julie Halpert

Julie Halpert

Contributor

Despite the fact that I grew up just outside of Detroit, I was never particularly infatuated with cars. It wasn't until I headed to Washington, D.C., and began working for an environmental trade journal that I got an up close and personal look at what it takes to design an automobile. My first articles focused on efforts by legislators to make once heavily polluting cars run cleaner. When I moved back to Michigan, that became my focus as I contributed extensively to the Detroit bureaus of both the New York Times and Newsweek. I became fascinated by how the automobile...

Elaine Nadalin

Elaine Nadalin

Contributor

I am a car geek dating back to my childhood, when I took notice of the various sizes, shapes, and designs of cars. I named all of our family cars and cried when they reached the end of their useful life. I’ve been mentally composing automotive reviews for years, but it wasn’t until some years ago, when I read one of Jean Jennings's columns while waiting for an appointment, that I realized that it was possible. And here I am… grateful and enjoying every second. My next goal in life is to learn to drive a manual....

Holly Reich

Holly Reich

Contributor

Holly has reported on cars, lifestyle, travel, and everything else for publications including the New York Daily News, Redbook, Elite Traveler, and Fox TV. She lives in New York City with her family, including Jack, a toy poodle (and test driving partner!)....

Elizabeth Sobieski

Elizabeth Sobieski

Contributor

I was a contributing editor to the (now sadly defunct) Art Economist and have been published in Cosmopolitan, New York magazine, the New York Post, US, and Avenue magazine. I blog (about arts, not cars) for The Huffington Post, and you'll notice in my photo there that I am also a hat lady....

Martina Tesarova

Martina Tesarova

Contributor

...

Christina Tynan-Wood

Christina Tynan-Wood

Contributor

I am a freelance writer in North Carolina, and I have been covering technology --including the technology in automobiles--since before Bill met Melinda or any of us met Google. I also write about education, parenting, family travel, and gardening. I currently write the Family Tech column in Family Circle magazine and Family Tech with Christina at FamilyCircle.com, and I blog on the Geek Girlfriends site. Clients--past and present--include Better Homes and Gardens, Popular Science, This Old House Magazine, USA Weekend, PC Magazine, PC World, Jaguar, Saks Fifth Avenue, and many others. I am thrilled to be a part of Jean...

Tamara Warren

Tamara Warren

Contributor

When people ask me how I started writing about cars, I tell them I'm from Detroit. I tell them about my father, who was a Chrysler engineer, and the crazy cars he would bring home to test drive. But before I discovered the glamorous life of an automotive journalist, I was a writer living in the Motor City, covering music and art in the Nineties. Things changed when I became curious about the industry that made the city tick and interned at AutoWeek magazine. I moved to New York City in 2003, where I’ve worked as a freelance writer for...

Jessica Webster

Jessica Webster

Contributor

I’m a jazz aficionado, a car geek, a food lover, and a goofy mom. I'm lucky enough--or foolish enough--to be able to turn most of my avocations into something resembling a vocation. Except for motherhood, but that's its own reward, right? I was a record store geek back when there were record stores, and worked at the venerable (and late, lamented) Schoolkids' Records in Ann Arbor through college, while spinning jazz records at WEMU to the taxi drivers, barflies and night owls who listened during the wee hours. I then spent a dozen years as the corporate jazz buyer for the...

Liane Yvkoff

Liane Yvkoff

Contributor

Liane Yvkoff dipped her toe in the pool of automotive writing five years ago and fell directly into the deep end. Since then, she has written about cars for CNET.com, AutoUSA.com, Babble.com, and, oddly enough, Hustler. Residing in the Seattle area, she obviously drives a Subaru Outback....

Thanks to the following people, without whom etc. etc.
(Do you remember what you did? It was big.)

  • Alan Alpanian
  • Steven Amato
  • Stephanie Brinley
  • Michael Browner
  • Jim Farley
  • Jackie Guenther
  • Allyson Harwood
  • Mary Henige
  • Anita Lienert
  • Luan Mendel
  • Laura Milton
  • Jim Mullen
  • Kelly Murphy
  • Michele Naranjo
  • Niranjana Subramanian
  • Rachel Rhee
  • John Huh
  • Francisco Alvarez
  • John Jiang
  • Jason Brady
  • Joseph Aure
  • Nancy Hsu
  • Ming Lee
  • Robert Melville
  • Laurene Rechert
  • Steven Garcia
  • Dustin Mowcomber
  • Eugene Choe
  • Blake Dugandzic
  • Jason Truong
  • Jason Koo
  • Brian Stanley
  • Shervin Farivar
  • Derek Oftedahl
  • Moshe Cohen
  • Pepper Chiavacci
  • Jimmy Pham
  • Lei Ding
  • Stan Ng
  • Brian Wansolich
  • Herve Eichwald
  • Ryan Meyer
  • Robert Acosta
  • Weizhen Ji
  • Alain Uyidi
  • Lior Zitzman
  • Jeff Morris
  • Niru Kumar
  • Glenn Schlatter
  • Holly Costino
  • Ryan Whitehouse
  • Tom Furukawa
  • Rob Verrilli
  • Sharmila Aroskar
  • Jin Ahn
  • Sam Salmassi
  • Dmitri Chekhter
  • Sean Lee