He puts the shine on Ferraris, Porsches and McLarens


COLONIE — Sunrise is still a half hour away when Kory Asher arrives at The Works Auto Center off Central Avenue.

A million dollars’ worth of Corvettes, Ferraris, Porsches and McLarens are parked on meticulously polished concrete floors clean enough to eat off. The lighting is super-bright white LED tubes, which lend the shop the feel of a surgical suite.

“I like the early-morning quiet time to focus,” said Asher, 32, a blue-collar Picasso with polish, buffers, elbow grease, patience, intense attention to detail and sophisticated computer-cut paint protection film.

Asher started out washing his aunt’s VW Jetta as an adolescent and now oversees a five-person shop fast approaching $1 million in annual revenue.

These valuable vehicles, along with a few ordinary Hondas and Toyotas, await luxury detailing services such as full-body ceramic coating treatment.

It’s like a fancy day spa for pampered, high-end exotic cars. Some are automotive divas and get carried on trailers from the owner’s garage to the shop as part of Asher’s white-glove pickup service.  

What’s a few thousand more to coat a $250,000 Ferrari in a super-thin clear plastic film to protect a pricey paint job against abrasions from roadside gravel and damage from UV rays?

“It’s about taking care of a major investment,” Asher said. “A lot of people are obsessive about their cars.”

Asher is one of them. His daily driver is a 2013 GMC Denali that tows the company trailer and hauls his family of five. “I gave it the works and it looks brand-new,” he said.

His fun car is a black 2006 Audi S4 that he customized with the works. He flips cars the way some people flip houses.

“I make them look really nice, drive them for a few months and sell them for a profit,” he said. He’s saving up for his dream car, a Porsche 911 GT3, which goes for about $160,000 new.

His wife, Shelby, is a car geek and neat freak too. She drives a black 2021 Cadillac Escalade, which Asher treated with a “clear bra,” also known as paint protection film on the front end. Her dream car is a custom 1979 Ford Bronco, open-top, which fetches upward of $100,000 from collectors.

When she’s not working as an on-call nurse at Albany Medical Center, she helps her husband schedule appointments and all facets of the business. They have three daughters: Emilia, 6, Oaklyn, 2, and Navy, 6 months. 

“It’s a lot to juggle,” she conceded.

Luckily, they are simpatico when it comes to their obsessiveness about cleanliness.

“I have anxiety when I see a dirty car,” said Asher, who frequently washes their cars at home. It relaxes him.

 “I can’t stand a mess,” she said. Both collaborate on keeping their house assiduously clean.

The couple married in 2014, after he completed four years of U.S. Navy service, stationed in San Diego. He served as a boatswain’s mate on a dock landing ship.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Asher worked at body shops in California and Albany and detailed cars for extra money.

“We lived paycheck to paycheck for many years. It’s stressful,” Asher said. “We’re finally comfortable.”

Success running a small business came after Asher rebounded from personal tragedy. In 2005, his cousin, Andrew Van Wie, 19, was killed. 

“He was like a brother to me. It hit me really hard,” recalled Asher, who was 16 at the time. 

Shortly afterward, his parents, who had raised him in Albany’s Pine Hills, divorced. Asher lived with his mother and started running with a bad crowd at Voorheesville High School.  

“I was a lousy person,” he said.

Four years in the Navy and meeting his wife turned the tide.

“Shelby changed me for the better,” he said.

“Kory is not the person he was in high school,” she said. “He’s focused and works hard.”

I knew Kory as a sweet kid who lived next door to us in Pine Hills. His mom babysat our daughter. Our kids played together. We moved away in 2001 and lost touch.

He’s now a successful business owner, father of three girls, with a home in Delmar and ambitions to open another shop.  

“Kory loves his work and he’s developing a better work-life balance,” his wife said. She’s happy he now sets aside weekends for family time. 

“There’s a lot more to this than just making a shiny car,” Asher said, as he showed a computer program that cuts precise pieces of paint protection film on a plotter machine to fit each car part. 

Asher’s attention to detail earned the trust of car collector Jon DeJesus, a Niskayuna businessman who tried other high-end car detailers before he found Asher five years ago.

“I’m a very satisfied repeat customer,” said DeJesus, who assessed Asher’s skill with a test job before he let him tinker with his 1988 BMW M3 E30, all original with matching numbers.

“The Holy Grail of BMWs,” DeJesus called it. A pristine model of the car sold for $250,000 at auction in 2020. After Asher gave it the works, DeJesus’ BMW is currently on loan at the Saratoga Auto Museum.

“I let Kory do his magic and I’m very happy with the results,” said DeJesus, who has brought BMWs, Porsches and a beloved Land Cruiser to Asher for ceramic coating and other services.

Chris Mackey, who owns a car dealership, and his son Christopher have brought more than a dozen Ferraris and Porsches from their collection to Asher. Mackey’s red 1987 Ferrari 328 GTS is currently in the shop for a full ceramic coating, a week’s job. 

“We trust Kory to the nth degree,” Chris Mackey said. “He puts a lot of care into his work, he’s conscientious and thorough. He’s not the cheapest detailer, but he’s the best of the best in this market for high-quality work.”

Father and son bonded over their car collecting avocation, which they take very seriously. “These cars are works of art and we protect our art,” Mackey said.

Car detailing is getting more competitive in this market, but Asher welcomes the challenge. He is driven to excel.

There’s a sign in his office that reads: “Entrepreneur. Noun. A person who’s up late working 100 hours for themselves to avoid working 40 hours for someone else.”

Paul Grondahl is director of the New York State Writers Institute and a former Times Union reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *