The Dog & Lemon Guide is 25 years old

An award-winning motor mechanic whose car reviews are often hated by the motor industry, is celebrating twenty five years of helping car buyers.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, the colourful and outspoken editor of the car buyers’, has been publishing brutally frank car reviews since 1996.

Matthew-Wilson is a former garage owner with 45 years' broad experience as a mechanic. He has also completely rebuilt a number of classic cars.

Matthew-Wilson is as controversial as the publication he produces, often describing car salesmen as "a bunch of crooks".

“Except for politicians, there are no two groups more comfortable with lying than real estate agents and car salespeople.”

Matthew-Wilson formerly published his reviews in a paperback book: The Dog & Lemon Guide. By 2004, each printed guide was around 1000 pages long, making it the largest car buyers’ guide on the planet.

Now 100% online, the last printed edition was produced in 2010. Matthew-Wilson’s website,, charges $5 for reviews, each of which contains about the same amount of information as a small book. Many customers simply read the first page, which often contains blunt warnings about certain cars, such as: “Avoid like the plague”. 

Matthew-Wilson has always placed a strong emphasis on road safety, and has consistently campaigned for lifesaving improvements for roads and cars. His research on lifesaving seatbelt upgrades was awarded by the Australian Police Journal. 

Matthew-Wilson says the biggest change over the last 25 years is “a large-scale abandonment of common sense” when it comes to buying cars.

“Next to accommodation, your car is often your biggest expense. Yet most buyers have absolutely no clue as to which cars will serve them well and which cars will bankrupt them.”

“Internet car purchases tend to be impulsive, random and ego-based. You really shouldn’t buy a car that way. In fact, I spend a helluva lot of time helping people get their money back after they’ve bought some lemon online.”

“It sounds terribly old fashioned to put it this way, but a car purchase is like a marriage; you marry in haste and repent at leisure.”

“Very few car reviewers are motor mechanics. Most are simply flakes who give glowing reviews of the free loan cars they get from the car companies. And if the review isn’t glowing, the reviewers may not get a free car to play with next time.”

“In effect, most car reviews are like a description of a hot date. My car reviews are telling you how happy or expensive the long term relationship is likely to be.”

 Matthew-Wilson describes the last 25 years as “a series of confrontations.” 

“We’d all love to change the world by being nice. But crooks and politicians generally need a healthy kick in the backside.”

John Connolly, motoring columnist for, describes as “our car bible”.

And, as one bureaucrat put it:

“Clive is a bit like Bernie Sanders. He comes across as grumpy and blunt, but he knows his stuff, he’s often right and even people who disagree with him tend to trust his integrity.”