LIMA — Four years ago Darrel and Beth Kistler, of Lima, owned four muscle cars: two 1969 Chevy Chevelles, a 1970 Pontiac GTO and a 1986 Grand National. Today they own 22 muscle cars, 50 gas pumps, four tractors and a multitude of memorabilia sure to bring a smile or squeal of delight from folks who remember the good old days.
“The oldest is a 1954 Chevy Bel Air. The newest is a 1973 Oldsmobile 442,” Darrel Kistler said.
The Kistlers purchased the old R-Ville Furniture building no Lima’s North West Street.
“They wanted out, and I was talking to my wife about putting up a building for cars, and the price was good,” Darrel Kistler said.
The Kistlers sell autos outside the building of various makes and models at their business, KarVille Auto Sales, 2185 N. West St., Lima, but it’s what’s inside that brings back memories. The Kistlers have opened a muscle car showroom, showcasing the various years, makes and models of their favorite hobby, along with various forms of memorabilia. The showroom is open to the public whenever they are at the property. They suggest calling 419-302-0093 prior to stopping by.
Darrel Kistler is a 1980 graduate of Apollo Career Center in the auto body class. He was one of the owners of Kenny’s Auto Wrecking, so one can say cars have been a lifetime business for him.
“I’m just a car guy. These were all a little before my time,” Darrel said. “My brother’s buddies had them and let me ride in them. The first car I bought was a 1969 Chevelle. It’s become a hobby. I never gave it much thought; it’s just something that has happened over the years … I like this stuff.”
This past June, they won the Westgate Charity Car Show’s Best of Show award with their 1970 Oldsmobile 442 four-speed. They won the previous year as well, with a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30. The Best of Show award is a monetary award. Just like opening up a muscle car showroom, the Kistlers invested back into their community.
“When the money is given to us, we double that and give it to another charity, the Lima Rescue Mission,” Darrel Kistler said. “We give all the credit and praise to God.”
With so many cars, one wonders what the next acquisition will be.
“On the list is a good Mopar,” Darrel Kistler said. “We have had our best luck down at Pigeon Forge at the Rod Run. There is one in the spring and one in the fall. There are thousands of cars for sale down there. I like them when they’re restored. I like them shiny and clean. I buy them done. You pay for them, and you don’t have to worry about months of them being worked on. “
When there is body work to be done, the Kistlers rely on Rick Lytle, of Mount Cory.
“He does all the work on my cars,” Darrel Kistler said.
While Darrel Kistler did not answer the question about having a favorite car in his collection, his wife Beth, did.
“The 1966 Ford Mustang. It’s my favorite color. My family had some when I was young, and it just kind of sticks with you,” she said.
That’s the draw of cars. They flood the mind with memories, bringing warm feelings. They brighten the world just a bit more for the beholder. That’s what the Kistlers hope for when sharing their showroom with the public.