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Honoring Frank Buonanno in a Legacy Scholarship

Father’s Day will be here before we know it but I am not waiting. I’ve set up the Frank Buonanno Scholarship Fund with the Piston Foundation to honor my father’s contributions to the world of collector cars.

By jeff mason

April 9, 2021

The scholarships awarded from the fund will provide opportunities for students who seek careers in the automotive restoration field, giving them the same chance my father had for a rewarding life — really an amazing life.

My Father’s Story

Since the age of 15, when he volunteered to rebuild the engine of his father’s Ferrari, my father demonstrated a natural talent and determination for repairing exotic automobiles. He went on to be influenced and trained by some of the best Ferrari mechanics in the world, honing his skills and perfecting his craft.

After more than two decades of working on Ferraris, Frank decided to explore other luxury makes, such as the Aston-Martin, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar, by opening his own car repair and restoration facility in Miami, Florida, eventually settling in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the Black Horse Garage is located today.

Frank Buonanno Created Something to Preserve

When my father started his career, there really wasn’t a restoration industry. Now we see cars treated like the other pieces of fine art that people have collected for hundreds of years. He’s been a big part of that.

I’m too proud of what my dad has done to preserve car culture to do nothing about a problem everyone recognizes. And we all know that things could get a lot worse as people with these amazing skills retire, with no one on the horizon to replace them. We’ll have fewer and fewer hands to maintain and restore the cars we love, which will make it harder for everyone to enjoy them.

A Scholarship Solution that Works for Everyone

A business like Black Horse Garage is only as good as the people who work on the cars. Finding good people is one of the hardest things about this industry because we need smart people with a strong work ethic and a passion for what we’re doing. We also know that it can be hard for a young person to pay for school.

The Frank Buonanno Scholarship Fund will young people pursue careers in collector car restoration.

Creating a Legacy Fund scholarship with the Piston Foundation I can honor my father’s career, bring more young people into the collector car industry, and support the trade skill education that is critical to the future of auto restoration. Everybody wins. Now that the scholarship is launched, we’re beginning our fundraising campaign.

The Piston Foundation can take this fundraising campaign to a national audience, which means we can raise what we really need to help these kids. It’s nice to give a few hundred dollars and that definitely helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. With the fundraising goal the Piston Foundation has set, we can give full ride scholarships and that means graduates who will be able to do the restoration work that we want done.

Helping the Next Generation Means a Lot to My Dad

There’s no guarantee that the scholarship recipients will end up working at Black Horse Garage but that’s not my goal. The scholarship fund is meant to help everyone who loves cars: the people who want to make a living working on them, the people who want to see the results of that hard work, and my family and our friends. I know that helping someone young and up and coming is going to mean a lot to my dad and be something special for him and for our family.

To everyone who is considering a donation, I’d say thank you for learning more about my father’s story. Keep an eye out on social media for some cool photos and interesting bits of history. And know that every dollar donated is doing a lot to add to that history, so it becomes our story. Thank you!

John Buonanno is co-owner of the Black Horse Garage and son of the legendary classic car restoration craftsman, Frank Buonanno.

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.


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