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