Quick stats: Cameron Mathison, co-host of Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family
Daily driver: 2018 Tesla Model S (Cameron’s rating: 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: New York to Los Angeles
Car he learned to drive in: circa 1980 Mazda 626
First car bought: late 1980s Audi 90
Some people buy a ring. For Cameron Mathison, actor and co-host of Home & Family, buying his 1965 Ford Mustang was the go-to symbolic gesture to his then-girlfriend Vanessa as a promise about their future. Since they’ve gotten married, he still loves the car, which he rates a 9.8 out of 10 because of what it symbolizes.
“It’s got a lot of sentimental value. I bought the car and put it in my wife’s name when we were dating and living on opposite coasts,” Mathison tells MotorTrend.
Cars have been indelibly intertwined in significant moments of his life. His Mustang is at the center of his own personal love story, as it was Vanessa who found the Mustang for Mathison because he was looking for one at the time.
“I was living in New York, and I was a little bit of a single guy at the time, and she didn’t know I was serious about the relationship, so I bought it and put it in her name and left it in California with her,” he says. “For me, it represents our relationship. It’s been work. You’ve got to upkeep it, you’ve got to cherish it, just like a relationship. I’ve had that as long as we’ve been dating, almost exactly, which is pretty cool. It’s a really special car, a kind of car that my son’s waiting to take over later in life.”
Mathison likes how the Mustang is styled. “Luckily, it’s the one with the two white racing stripes, sky ice blue,” Mathison says. “It’s just a really beautiful looking car.”
He felt the Steve McQueen Mustang was an iconic look. “And the ’65’s a little more classic looking, less muscle-y,” he says. “I bought the car because I love that whole Fastback look. The fact that I put it in her name was me showing her, ‘Listen, I’ve got this, I’ve always wanted this, this is something that’s so important to me, I’m going to put it in your name and leave it in your name to prove to you that I’m not going anywhere. ‘”
2018 Tesla Model S
Mathison got the Tesla Model S because it’s better for the environment. “The carpool lane saves me about 45 minutes a day total driving to and from work,” he says. “I’d rate it 9.5, and the .5 is because of repairs. It got hit and needed some auto body repairs, and the parts coming from Tesla took forever, so my big complaint about that is you’ve just got to make sure you don’t need any parts from Tesla, and if you don’t, then the car’s amazing.”
Mathison enjoys the Tesla’s strong acceleration and range. “It’s instant and powerful, and the smart car aspect of it blows you away. I have almost no negative other than the repair situation was less than to be desired. Other than that, it’s incredible. The storage, drive, the capacity, the drivability, speed, the power, even battery life. The fact that you never have to go to a gas station. I just plug in at night or plug it in at work and I always get between 250 and 275 miles on it. It’s pretty amazing.”
Mathison says the Tesla has definitely spoiled him. “It’s hard to drive anything else. It’s literally hard to drive anything else. You can go from 0 to 60 in like less than three seconds in a Tesla, so, very spoiled,” he says.
When he bought the Tesla, he customized it more to his tastes. “I did a little sports package and took some of the chrome off. It looks a lot more sporty and mean now,” he says.
2018 Maserati Levante
Mathison is a big fan of Maserati and had a Ghibli before this Levante. He loves the drivability, the Italian engineering, and the styling. “I make up for my electric car, my lack of gas, through my Maserati Levante and then the ’65 Mustang Fastback. It all averages out. It’s a blast to drive, too,” Mathison says. “Tons of power and drivability.”
Now that he has the Tesla, the Maserati can’t be a perfect 10. “What I don’t like about the Maserati, compared to the Tesla, there’s a little bit of a lag. Just slightly. Even in the sport mode, it’s incredibly fast, incredibly powerful, but there’s just that tiny little bit of pause time before you hit it and you get the power.”
2015 Dodge Durango R/T
The Durango is Mathison’s road trip car. “It’s the R/T model, so it’s got the Hemi engine,” he says. “It’s got more miles on it because we take it on a lot of trips to Colorado. We’re a big road trip family. That’s something we love to do.”
Mathison can take it to the beach. and it fits seven people, which he says is “awesome,” but he expected more from the engine.
“There’s a lag when it shifts gears sometimes going up hill. It doesn’t have as much of the oomph as I would have hoped for a Hemi engine. I thought it would be a little bit more meaty—a little bit more there when you really need it. So for an SUV that’s not that heavy, I feel like it should have more power,” he says. “That’s why I give it 7.5. But it’s also got sentimental value because we’ve had so many great family trips with it. We go to Colorado all the time with it for Christmas,; we’ll go to beaches; we’ll go up to Mammoth.”
Car he learned to drive in
Growing up in Toronto, Mathison learned to drive in a manual Mazda 626, which he thinks was circa 1980. But what he recalls vividly was something his father said while teaching him how to drive. Those wise words have carried him through life.
“I was really frustrated with learning how to drive stick. and it was my first time out, and I remember my dad saying to me, looking at me and it was actually a good life lesson,” Mathison says. “He said, ‘I know you’re going to get this, Cameron, when you put your mind to it. You do anything that you put your mind to, and there’s no question you’re going to be a good driver.’ And at that moment, I just relaxed, and it helped me. It helped me know that these things take time and just be patient. I just remember that. It was the first maybe I even heard that from him. It was the first time I even heard that about myself at all, so I was like, ‘Wow, I really can accomplish things I put my mind to,’ and that was helpful for me.” Now, he’s doing the same thing with his son, who is learning to drive in the Dodge Durango.
Mathison looks back fondly at his memories in the Mazda, which was lime green. “It was maybe one of the ugliest things you’ve ever seen, but I loved it. It was my brother and my first car. We saved up for it and put in our money. It kept breaking down, but we didn’t care. We got stuck in the snow in it in Canada. That was our first baby.”
First car bought
Mathison had a used late-1980s model Audi 90, which was the first car he bought on his own. “My girlfriend’s dad was driving Audis, and I was in awe. My dad had an Audi 5000 as well, and I couldn’t afford those high-end ones, but there was a used Audi 90,” he recalls. “It looked all sporty. It had a sports package, and it looked mean and I loved it, and I was so excited when all of a sudden I’m driving around in an Audi. It was a big deal.”
Mathison bought the Audi just after college with money he made from having his own fence and decking company while in college. “In the summertime I was with my buddy building fences and decks. We made money pretty quickly. We did all right, so I saved up and that helped me to be able to afford that car,” he says.
The Audi was more of a show off car for him. “For me, it was a fancy moment. It was what I used to get around and what I did everything with. It was when I just started in the entertainment business, started modeling a little bit and acting a little bit. You pull up in that and you feel pretty cool,” he says. “I’ve been super lucky. Cars have always been something that I’ve loved and enjoyed. It’s fun to go back with you and to talk about some of these because I forgot about a lot of this until you asked, and it’s important; it’s your journey.”
Mathison gained an appreciation for cars being on sets with the crew. “It’s almost like when I got woken up to the entertainment industry and seeing what everybody was driving and getting into it and learning and going to set and some of the crew guys would talk to you about their Mustang, and I’d check it out and I’d be like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was a whole world I didn’t even know about,” he says.
Favorite road trip
Mathison’s favorite road trip was the one where he moved to Los Angeles from New York and got married in between.
“My wife and I lived in New York at the time. We were getting married in Colorado and moving to L.A. I was leaving the soap opera All My Children in New York, so we did a road trip from New York to Colorado and timed it out with our wedding,” he says. “We met everybody there, got married, and then continued our road trip from Colorado to California. It was one of the greatest stretches of time in my whole life. It was a super cool road trip. Took our time, went to see crazy things, stayed in motels. A really, really memorable time together.”
Mathison drove his Toyota 4Runner at the time, and it took three weeks in total, including his wedding in the middle.
“Road trips are special because it’s just you two,” he says. “There’s no entertainment, maybe a little audiobook or some music, but you’re bonding. It was special because we were off to get married. It was just magical for all those reasons. We had good quality time together. We listened to every Led Zeppelin song on the planet from beginning to end, the whole thing, listened to audiobooks, laughing. Savoring our time, eating crappy food. The whole thing was fun.”
Home & Family on Hallmark Channel weekdays at 10 a.m.
After success on All My Children, Mathison enjoys co-hosting Hallmark’s daily show. “I’ve been in the business for more than 25 years, and I haven’t really had a large stretch without working, and that is so rare. I’m so grateful for that, very rare, between hosting and acting. It’s kept me busy for years, and I’m super grateful,” he says.
Mathison, who’s excited when he gets in the car for his daily commute, has even done segments showing viewers how to prep their car before a road trip. “I love it for a lot of reasons,” he says of the show. “The fact that I worked my whole life and done different things, but this is a show that’s main job is help people and spread positivity. That’s literally what we do. We tell people about cars, we’ve done cooking segments and motivational interviews. It’s just a feel good, positive, spreading goodness in the world show. And at this point in my life, I’ve done it all and it just feels great going to work. I literally love going to work every day.”