My Car Quest

December 6, 2019

Andy Cohen: Car Entrepreneur Has Died

by Wallace Wyss –

I will always miss Andy Cohen. He was an entrepreneur of the purist order, based in Malibu.

He collected cars, all the way from his Ford woody wagon, a prewar car with a more modern postwar engine, to a 427 Cobra, a 330GTS Ferrari and assorted other cars that came and went. He had an uncanny inkling for what was a keeper; one for holding on long range.

I first met him over 30 years ago at his company Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories where he sold me a car cover. He even called to see if the fit was satisfactory, which impressed me no end.

I could see he had ambitions beyond being a store owner (he also had an extensive mail order catalog of accessories). He eventually sold that firm and for a time worked for a firm importing high dollar exotic cars. In this role he was a barn finder but since he had been a businessman in Beverly Hills he knew which famous people owned which cars and captured some winners like James Coburn’s Ferrari California Spyder.

Andy Cohen

Andy directing an Iso Grifo A3C owner to parking at Trancas

Then, decades later, probably around 2018, he started having car shows in Malibu of the Cars and Coffee variety, where anyone can show up early in the morning at a parking lot, get a cuppa java and walk around and talk to the owners of interesting cars. The one I was getting into as The Event of the Month was Trancas, at a shopping center at the far Northern reaches of Malibu, but the only flaw was the same flaw as other Cars ‘n Coffee, some immature rascals would do a burnout as they left as a demonstration of their car’s power.

It wasn’t long before a powerful Malibu lawyer got the event cancelled on noise grounds. A few months later the event reblossomed at a private beach, the word “private” being significant because that allowed Andy to select who got into the beachside lot (with their car) and who didn’t and weed out the hot rodders and muscle car guys. I was really getting to enjoy that event, because it took place on a parking lot hard by the sea, with a fantastic view similar to what I saw in the South Pacific. And the cars that showed up were unusual, such as a hot rodded Lancia Flamina coupe, or an Allard, a ‘50s sports car. Or an Iso Fidia. Cars you only read about but never see. Oh, a few American cars squeaked through but what scared most people off was the onerous parking lot fee of $10 for two hours with a jump to $30 if you stayed even one minute longer. And it was uphill to get out of the lot and there was a guard gate where you paid your parking fee so you could hardly do a burnout.

It was in effect an informal concours d’elegance each month with some of the best cars in the world. Andy, still dealing in cars, would have his own cars there, such as the 427 Cobra or a Ferrari Enzo, so of course word would spread among the highrollers each month that “Andy has a new find for sale.”

Some of his customers would show up, like David Lee, a well known Rolex importer who Andy turned on to Ferraris and he would bring one or two of his most well known cars such as a 246 Dino with a more modern Ferrari V8 engine.

I can defend the concept of “curated” show because he was paying the owners of the lot for his own private party so to speak, and thus had the privilege of choosing who got invitations

I thought Andy led a charmed life when after a particularly nasty Malibu fire, where all the homes around his caught fire and his own (ironically) fire truck was burning in his driveway, he and his son walked downhill toward Pacific Coast Highway and stopped a fire truck, cajoling those aboard to come up the road and protect his house. I thought that was a stroke of luck and hoped his luck would last.

He died during the night of October 19 at his home of a heart attack. I wanted to write this in tribute to his vision of how a Cars ‘N Coffee can work out, if it’s curated a bit and a little bit hard to access (not to mention the parking price barrier). I would have liked to see it develop further…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is co-host of “Autotalk” a show on KUCR FM radio (6:30 pm) each Thursday.

 

 

Summary
Andy Cohen: Car Entrepreneur Has Died
Article Name
Andy Cohen: Car Entrepreneur Has Died
Description
Andy Cohen died the 19th of October at his home. I don’t have a cause of death but I wanted to write this in tribute to his vision of how a Cars ‘N Coffee can work out, if it’s curated a bit.
Author

Comments

  1. Bruce Meyer says

    Hi Wallace…nicely said…Andy was kind to everyone and a genuine enthusiast. I started buying accessories and covers from him on Robertson Blvd as well. He raised three wonderful children who were the joy of his life. He will be dearly missed by us all…RIP

  2. Mike Kerns says

    Its a sad day and week for sure. I didn’t know Andy well, but he always gave me a big smile when I would pull into one of his “cars and coffee” events. When we would speak about his cars all the time, he had such a deep car knowledge that inspired me. I will miss him..

  3. wallace wyss says

    I didn’t find out about his public service to Malibuites until after I wrote the article/ According to a site called Malibu Radio:

    “he worked tirelessly behind the scenes … improving the lives of Malibu residents.

    Andy Cohen dug into his own checkbook to rent equipments… and spent months organizing … last summer’s public safety fair.

    Cohen was a major force in organizing city support for increased sheriff’s patrols in Malibu last summer.

    It was he who helped sheriff’s lieutenant Jennifer Seetoo obtain a half million dollars in extra law enforcement grants from LA County for PCH this past summer.

    The program resulted in a dramatic hike in tickets written… and a 42 percent drop in injury crashes.

    Other programs … cops on bikes … instituted by the sheriff’s department with Cohen’s enthusiastic backing.”

    • Aaron T. Jones says

      Thank you for listing all these great things Andy was involved with. Andy was also instrumental in getting IPS to sponsor the Public Safety Fair in Malibu this past June. He was just incredible to work with. He was a huge supporter of Law Enforcement, LASD and public safety in general. I was amazed as to how generous and giving he was out of his own pocket. He truly cared about this community and safety and well-being of all that live here and those that come to visit. I will miss him and his can do attitude about everything that he set his mind to. It was an honor to know him. He called me just a couple of days before his passing. He was so supportive and constantly trying to see what else we could do to make Malibu better and safer for all. We will do our very best at IPS to continue his legacy and vision for a safer Malibu.

  4. Noel Blanc says

    Everyone loved Andy and his wonderful children….a true gentleman and a loving friend. I will miss his monthly phone calls…….nearly fifty years worth. Rest in peace my dear friend.

  5. Aaron Jones says

    Andy Cohen was just a wonderful man. I liked him from the first time I met him. He was so genuine and sincere. He truly cared about his beloved Malibu community and safety and well being for all.
    I am so proud to have been able to get to know him and and his wonderful family. A true gentleman. I will miss him dearly.

  6. Scott M Ales says

    Andy was a 15 year friend and member of our reputation based trading platfom for exotic and highline cars. An exclusive group of enthusiasts which suited him very well. I was deeply saddened when another member, Stu Carpenter shared the news last weekend. He was a pioneer and greatly respected in our group. Last time I saw him he was having breakfast at the Amelia Island Ritz with a Ferrari North America representative! Wish I had taken a picture! I also very much enjoyed his Monterrey event photos this past August. I’m sure it was a great success in many ways. Very fortunate to have met and known the man. I

    I also appreciate his involvement with Richard Buxbaum in bringing AMG to North America!

    We’ll miss him for sure.

  7. Dana Abrams says

    I did photography for Andy and BHMA for many years. I always appreciated his eye for detail and tremendous automotive knowledge both classic and new.
    Dana

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