Andy Cohen, noted car collector and co-founder of pioneering luxury and sports car accessories catalog company and retail store Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories passed away on October 19 at his hilltop home in Malibu, California due to complications from a heart attack.
Cohen, 73, was well known in collector car circles for over 50 years. In 1975, he and friend Jim DeFrank founded Beverly Hill Motoring Accessories (BHMA), converting an old auto parts store on Robertson Blvd in Beverly Hills. Success of this first-ever upscale car accessories boutique led to the launch of what would become a celebrated worldwide mail order automotive catalog, counting well known celebrities and VIPs among its clientele.
The business ultimately grew to regularly print one million catalogues annually, earning acclaim as the automotive equivalent to luxury fashion retailer Neiman Marcus. From its core product offerings of premium-quality custom car covers, BHMA’s product line expanded to include an extensive selection of accessories, wearables and car care products for owners of the world’s most exclusive automobiles.
Assuming full ownership of BHMA upon DeFrank’s decision to sell his interest in the late 1980s, Cohen ran the retail and mail-order business until 1998, selling it to a Canadian investment firm.
Andy Cohen’s lifelong love affair with all-things-automotive began at an early age, as an avid reader of car magazines in his native New York. Years later, while on a visit to Los Angeles with his parents, he became infatuated with the California lifestyle, with its beautiful beaches, incredible weather, sounds of the “Beach Boys” and, of course, abundance of hot rods and collector cars. He ultimately relocated to Los Angeles, becoming west coast sales representative for his father’s restaurant tablecloth business.
In addition to his flourishing retail and mail-order business, Cohen, along with fellow Southern California collectors, established the Beverly Hills Car Show, a charity event held annually at Beverly Hills High School. Showcasing Southern California’s most treasured collector cars perused by tens or thousands of guests, the event ultimately evolved into the Rodeo Drive Concours D ‘Elegance, held on Father’s Day at the luxury world’s most celebrated venue.
Cohen’s own car collection was home to many of the world’s greatest marques, with an emphasis on rare Ferraris, Mercedes, and of course vintage Ford Woodies which drove his California dream. That dream was further realized when he moved to his hilltop home above Malibu, where Cohen lived for over 25 years. Noted for its long driveways, the home regularly was an ideal location for the world’s car collecting elite and their rare automobiles. Cohen put together an exclusive cars and coffee event in Malibu every month that became a go-to event for local car buffs.
A passionately devoted father, Cohen is survived by his three children; sons Chad and Kevin, and daughter Chaya. They were the center of his world.