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A 1972 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe Plus One Good Friend

A lifelong passion for cars is rarely ignited by one car. Fire needs both fuel and oxygen. In our shared passion for cars, the fuel can be any make or model and the oxygen is often provided by a friend. That person can be a new acquaintance or a comrade with whom you’ve gone through Hell itself. But, one day, something that friend says or does gets close to a car—even the reference of a car is close enough—and that’s the spark that ignites a lifelong fervor.

By Jeff mason

February 10, 2021

With Friends Like Mine…

My friend’s name is Dan D’Agostino. He is one of the most prominent audiophiles on the planet and I had something to do with that when I started my first business in my senior year at Northeastern University. I had been selling sound equipment as a side hustle but the intent was to get serious by importing the kind of high-quality equipment that no one else was selling at the time.

Based on a business plan that only a 22-year-old would concoct, I worked with Germany and England to access the right products while deciding that Transcendental Audio was a great name for my shop because it played off the idea of transcendental meditation, which was popular with all the cool kids.

Dan walked into my shop and, after we swapped opinions about his Empire speakers, I introduced him to a pair of Quad Electrostatic Loudspeakers. He flipped out and disappeared for a week. He returned to announce that he was quitting his job with an insurance company to work for me, ignoring my insistence that I was not hiring. He patiently explained how he’d worked out his commission and what I’d get from his sales.

No, You’re Not Buying a ‘Vette

His life was redefined from that point forward as he sold a lot of good equipment. His selling style became a legend in Buffalo, NY, based on that same direct confidence that was going to get him where he wanted to go in spite of obstacles like the lack of a job offer. He was a little older than me and he became a mentor to me. He taught me about beer: Guinness not Bud. He taught me about pasta: it’s gravy not sauce. And he taught me about cars.

1972 Corvette Stingray. Courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

“A 1972 BMW 3.0 CS would be better.” He told me.

The Corvette, with its curves (and that engine!) was my dream car. I believed, with all my heart, that everything would fall into place once I slid behind the wheel of one of those babies. And by everything, I mean every beautiful woman. My plan was set and I was going for it until Dan stopped me.

Since I’d diverted Dan from a life spent with insurance policies, I guess it’s only fair that he derailed my plans for a 1972 Black C3 Corvette. Thanks to his influence, I bought at 1972 Dark Blue BMW 3.0 CS Coupe.

Cars Might Rust but Friendships Don’t

In the 70s and in Buffalo, buying a BMW just wasn’t done. They weren’t to be seen for miles. In fact, I spent a little time looking into becoming a dealer for the marque to found that the process was ridiculously simplistic because it was such a new concept.

The coupe is known for its ability to move (the 3.0 CSL was a successful European Touring Car racer in the mid-1970s) and a beautiful body that could retain moisture that would, consequently, rust. I didn’t’ hang onto my car long enough to experience the latter problem.

Six Months Later, I Need a Ferrari

Six months later after I picked up the BMW, I was cruising at a comfortable 100 mph on a lonely stretch of the New York Thruway. A very, very red Ferrari blew by me and my competitive nature kicked in. I was selling the best stereo equipment in the world. I believed I should be driving the best (fastest) car in the world.

My friend Dan was right there to fuel my passion as we put our heads together to identify the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 as the car to replace my BMW just as the ‘Vette had been supplanted in my mind’s eye as the car I had to have.

And, of course, I had to have it in red.

Photo courtesy of Bonhams

Robert P. Minnick is founder and CEO of the Piston Foundation. The cars in his life and the people he calls friends because of those cars inspired him to create a national fundraising platform to preserve car culture. He’d like nothing better than to know future generations can have car experiences as memorable as his own.

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