Don Allen Auto Sold To Summer Resident Roger Penske's Company

Jason Graziadei •

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Don Allen Ford is now part of the Penske automotive empire. 

Don Allen Auto Service Inc., Nantucket’s only car dealership, is being sold to summer resident and billionaire Roger Penske’s international company, Penske Automotive Group, Inc., for $12.34 million in cash, according to a federal Securities And Exchange Commission filing submitted last Friday.

Owned by island residents Bill Tornovish, Jr. and Erik Evens, Don Allen Auto Service sells Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles at its dealership and auto service garage property at 24 Polpis Road.

The dealership has been run by the Tornovish family since the 1960s, and Bill Tornovish told the Current that he would retire as part of the ownership transition. 

Bill Tornovish, Jr.

"I have sold my ownership in Don Allen Auto," Tornovish confirmed in a message to the Current. "The business will remain as usual but with a new management team. All the current employees will still be employees if they so wish. The changes will not take place until mid-January 2024. I have decided to retire after 40-plus years in the automotive industry." 

Tornovish said he could not share any further details about the sale because he had signed a confidentiality agreement. 

Penske, 86, the chairman of the Michigan-based Penske Corporation, was already listed as chairman of the board and a director of Don Allen Auto Service, Inc., according to the state’s corporate database. Penske has owned a 30-acre waterfront estate off Pocomo Road on Nantucket since 1996, and his $120 million superyacht Podium is a frequent visitor at the Nantucket Boat Basin during the summer months. 

The Penske Automotive Group operates more than 200 car and truck dealerships in the U.S. Canada, and Europe, but this would be its first location in Massachusetts. The company is one of many under the Penske Corporation's umbrella, including Penske Truck Rental, Team Penske racing, Penske Entertainment, which owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the online, along with other manufacturing and logistics entities. 

Roger Penske

Evens, who joined Tornovish as co-owner of Don Allen in 2012, will be staying with the company on Polpis Road in his leadership role. 

"We’re going to continue focusing on the sales and service and customer expectations that Nantucket has," Evens said in an interview with the Current. "We have a great staff here and we’re going to retain all the employees, and assess any capital investments we need to support the level of customer service that the island expects. I think it’s a great opportunity for Nantucket. We’re continuing the Don Allen legacy and it’s going to be an exciting time."

Evens also declined to discuss the specifics of the sale - noting the confidentiality agreement - but did offer remarks on his partner Tornovish's run with Don Allen which is coming to an end after decades running the auto center. 

"We’re proud of all that Billy’s done here and we’re going to continue to carry on the Don Allen legacy," Evens said. "He’s been a great steward of Don Allen over the past 40 years. Just look at what he’s built. He’s been a great steward of this place and he should be proud of it."

According to the SEC filing, the Penske Automotive Group entered into a stock purchase agreement with Penske Investments Limited Partnership to acquire “all of the issued and outstanding capital stock of Don Allen Auto Service, Inc.,” for $12.34 million in cash “subject to certain adjustments.”

"We are delighted to acquire these dealerships and continue the tradition of operating the only car dealerships on Nantucket," said Anthony Pordon, Penske Automotive Group's executive vice president for investor relations and corporate development, in a statement to the Current. "Our focus will be to continue serving customers with a focus on exceeding customer expectations in sales and service. Exceeding expectations is part of our culture and it’s part of every conversation. We will also assess the operations and over time make any investments we deem necessary to improve customer service."

Don Allen Auto Service Inc., owns four properties along Polpis Road - 10, 22, 25, and 26 Polpis Road - totaling just under four acres and valued at $7.4 million, according to town assessor’s records.

Tornovish had previously contemplated a sale of Don Allen Ford more than a decade ago. During the Great Recession in 2008, the Polpis Road dealership was hit hard as sales plummeted amidst the credit crunch. At the time, Tornovish said he had quietly put the business up for sale, but there was not much interest. 

Don Allen Auto has been a supporter and sponsor of numerous charity events, sports teams, and other island causes over the years. 

And Tornovish and Evens also generated numerous video advertisements for Don Allen Ford with Geno Geng of Geno TV which still exist to this day on YouTube. Here's one from 2014: 

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