LIMA — What has turned out to be a dream business for Darrel and Beth Kistler of Lima began nine years ago when they purchased the old R-Ville Furniture building on North West Street.
Their idea was to put together a muscle-car showroom, where they would buy and sell classic cars. Then, as Darrel put it, “things got out of control” — in a good way.
“We had about four or five cars to start with and now have grown to the 25 or more cars you see today,” Darrel said of the business, aptly named KarVille Auto Sales Muscle Car Showroom.
Inside the heavily-secured building is a walk through the history of muscle cars.
Among the classics are a 1970 Mach One Mustang and a 1955 Thunderbird for those who love Fords. A 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS or a 1973 Oldsmobile 442 commands the attention of those who fancy General Motors products. And for those who found muscle in Chrysler products, there’s a 1971 Plymouth CUDA V-code 440 Six Pack and a 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A parked side-by-side.
All the vehicles look like they just rolled off the assembly line.
“I’m open to any type of car, but my main interest is quality restoration,” Darrel said. “I used to do body and paint work myself, so I’ve got a pretty good eye for what quality is good.”
Besides classic cars, the showroom also showcases some old farm tractors. There are plenty of signs and memorabilia that once was common along America’s roads in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.
“I’ve picked up a lot of signs at gas and oil shows. Sometimes, people also give me call,” Darrel said.
Kistler gets his love for cars from his father, Norman Kistler, who was a pastor who repaired old cars on the side. Darrel would often work side-by-side with him. He remembers his first car — a 1970 Dodge Dart — that he drove his senior year at Bath High School in 1980.
“We wrenched on that a few times,” he said.
People wishing to tour the showroom can call Kistler at 419-302-0093 or email him at [email protected]
“We had a group of 30 guys from a club in Bucyrus come over,” he said. “They had a fun time and were quite impressed.”