Auto Sport Engineering
34 Years of Porsche Service Exclusively
370 Hudson Road, Stow Massachusetts  01775  1-800-356-914-6

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Stow Villager article

Thriving on Porsches: Father, son team find a niche in quiet Stow
By Chris Cassidy / CNC Staff Writer
Thursday, October 14, 2004

STOW -- Unless they're driving a Boxster or 911 in need of a tuneup, most motorists driving by 370 Hudson Road would have no idea what goes on at the business.
 

     Behind a dense row of trees, with no signs or flashy lights to show off their shop, Leonard Cummings and his son Mark have been repairing Porsches as inconspicuously as the drivers who have dropped them off each morning.
 
     "Generally, if someone doesn't have a Porsche, we don't want them to know we're here," said Mark Cummings, who took over Auto Sport Engineering in the late 1990s while his father stepped into semi-retirement.
 
     Advertising almost exclusively in trade magazines, Cummings' business has attracted Porsche owners from as far away as Canada for anything from general tuneups to engine overhauls. They bypass their local dealerships and pull into Cummings' driveway for the personal service, he said.
 
     "They feel the dealer's main objective is to charge them as much as possible before they leave," Cummings said. "Most of my customers I know by name, and I know their car and I know the history. When somebody pulls in, I know exactly who it is."
 
     Especially if it's a celebrity -- and there have been plenty.
 
     Former NHL goalie Tom Barrasso, Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice and Bruins standout Mike Stanton have all dropped off their Porsches for servicing.
 
     And then there was the phone call from The Rocket.
 
     During his decade-long career as a pitcher for the Red Sox, one-time Framingham resident Roger Clemens hired Cummings and his father to work on more than one of his Porsches. They even struck a deal: Cummings would pick up Clemens' car in Boston in exchange for a pair of Sox tickets two rows behind home plate.
 
     "Professional athletes tend to have a lot of disposable income and seem to like cool sports cars," Cummings said. "So that sends them our direction."
 
     Leonard Cummings started the business in 1972 but its story dates back to the 1960s. When Cummings earned his driver's license, he inherited the family's Volkswagen, but dreamed of an upgrade.
 
     "When you own a Volkswagen, you sort of revere the fact it was designed by Dr. Porsche and have it in the back of your head you'll get a Porsche," Cummings said. "So that was a goal of mine, to someday have a Porsche."
 
     But then came college and after that, he was drafted into the Army. He was stationed in, of all places, Germany, and after his tour, he worked for a time in a German Porsche dealership.
 
     In 1970, living in the United States, he sold the Volkswagen and finally bought a Porsche.
 
     Shortly after, his friend, the owner of a Porsche shop in Framingham, moved to California, leaving two of his mechanics behind. In 1972, he officially opened Auto Sport Engineering in his home and eventually hired the two mechanics.
 
     In 1986, the business expanded and Cummings built a second garage.
 
     These days, Cummings still works on Porsches, but his son Mark, who changed parts and swept floors as a kid, now handles most of the day-to-day business operations. In a given week, he and his staff work on between 15 and 20 Porsches.
 
     "You've got to do something in life and this is something I really enjoy doing," Mark Cummings said. "So it's satisfying not just to make a living at what you do, but you actually enjoy it.
 
     "I have friends that work in big companies that constantly go through cycles of job changes, firings, hirings, shifting of people," he said. "It's a stress to go through. We're not getting rich but we make a comfortable living and we're happy doing it."
 


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