We visited Accumoto during their Open House recently and came away mighty impressed.
By and large, the car scene in Wisconsin can be divided into two categories. The first is the younger crowd, who modify their cars, hang out with their friends from the scene at least once a week and attend shows like WCEC’s season opener. The other half consists mostly of a number of middle-aged and older enthusiasts -usually well heeled – who are more discreet about their activities.
These people take their cars out regularly, but don’t show them off. Instead, they can be found at the track, or at classic car events. Madison is one such town, where you have both types of enthusiasts. For a long time, I had heard mostly from the former, who are more vocal about their association with cars. Occasionally, you come across someone who is associated with the latter and the stories that they have to tell. In my case, however, it was slightly different.
I had heard about a shop called Accumoto, in Waunakee, that worked on building aircooled Porsche racecars. Their street builds are also highly detail oriented and had been set up in a way so as to make a very smooth transition from road to track.
The first time that I visited was in the dead of winter. Surrounded by miles of fields covered by snow, at first I wondered where I was. Entering the shop however, I was pleasantly surprised by a silver 911 and a VW van. I got chatting with Mark White, the founder, and met the gents who build the cars that leave the shop.
As we walked around the shop, Mark explained the ethos of what Accumoto did. The passion that drove the whole outfit, the calibre of the cars on the racks and the way the outfit seemed to be in the middle of nowhere intrigued me. I promised to stop by sometime with my camera.
A bit of time passed before Mark gave me a heads up that Accumoto was hosting the Milwaukee chapter of the Porsche Club of America on an upcoming weekend morning. Batteries were charged, other plans were rescheduled and come that morning, I was at Accumoto.
A number of P-cars parked outside told me that attendance for the event was good, so I snuck past the crowd and started snapping.
So is this just another garage that builds modified Porsche 911s? No sir.
Every single person at Accumoto has a particular task.
Bodywork? One person. Paint booth? One person.
Additionally, the people entrusted with these tasks are not just fiercely passionate about them; they are the best at what they do. By working as a close knit team to very high standards of quality, these gents put together cars that cover all the bases: aesthetically and functionally.
The interior itself is an illustration of this. Little touches like a WEVO shifter, a perforated shift knob, a horn button that looks like a boost switch and reupholstered Recaro seats make all the difference when you’re using the car on a daily basis, which is what Mark strongly encourages. The motor is rebuilt based on what the driver needs, with the suspension being fine tuned to the same end.
Then, there’s the race division. Numerous race cars were to be found all around the shop, most being stored by their owners till the next race. Liveries like Marlboro, Rothmans, Martini and even PBR adorned the cars, which were also replete with stone chips and battle scars. The cars are set up perfectly, in accordance with their owner’s driving style to maximize harmony between man and machine.
Mark, who is a racing instructor, advises his customers on how to drive and get the most out of the cars. He told me of several instances that his students have bought the latest RS variant for track days, only to fall in love with the aircooled cars and eventually wind up in one.
Of course, there were also a few personal projects to be found. In one corner, a VW Rabbit pickup truck awaited an interior and a few panels, having been fitted with a GTI engine. Its eventual role would be the new Accumoto shop truck. In another corner, a red Karmann Ghia waited for a few finishing touches.
When you have street cars being built to this level of fit and finish, comparisons with Singer Vehicle Design are inevitable. The crucial difference is that a Singer 911 is built to a price point that vindicates any owners who may make it a living room ornament. An Accumoto car is built to be driven every day and on the track on weekends. Mark’s racing background and the wealth of knowledge among the gents who build the cars is focused on making a car that is versatile, practical and most importantly, fun to drive.
With numerous successes on track, an extensive racing program and happy customers, Accumoto certainly seems to be doing something right. If the crowd’s reaction was anything to judge by, faithful Porschephiles looking for a car built to their spec by a shop that has got an abundance of experience under their belt will flock to Accumoto. It is little wonder then, that Accumoto cars are a regular fixture at hallowed circuits across the country.
After navigating through the crowd, I headed out to see a small group of people admiring some of the 911s parked out front. One of the cars, a 1960s 911, had one of the most beautiful wooden steering wheels I have ever seen. Built by a craftsman in Portland, OR, it would be the last one that he ever worked on. A 2.7 RS tribute car in Viper Green and a Signal Red Outlaw car (more on that later) took off together, the sound of their flat sixes echoing in the distance.
With the quality apparent in the work that Accumoto does, I have no doubt that they will continue to attract the older car enthusiasts that I spoke of earlier. While tuner cars may have their place, the Porsche fraternity is characterized by these folk: wise, passionate and discreet. They know good work when they see it and by my estimation, they liked what they saw at Accumoto, as did I.
Special thanks to Mark and the gents at Accumoto for showing me around the shop.