UNION CITY, Ohio — Lawrence “Sham” Kiser of Kiser’s Truck and Auto Repair, 205 S. Division St., Union City, Ohio, is planning on embellishing his love for the auto and the racing industries by possibly creating a museum.
He and wife, Marcia, have already started by hanging pictures of auto racers in the area and adding items to the decor, reflecting on the two themes.
This is being done in a room on the second floor of his three-story building which was originally built by the Lambert family, who started the local automobile industry.
John W. Lambert was owner then and he created an auger to put the big beams together in the building. He also made the spokes for wagon and shifts and tongues for the wagons, corn planters, hayrakes and loaders, and wooden handles.
“That’s what kept the company going for years,” wife Marcia said. “John brought his business here because Ohio at one time had lot of wood and there was a railroad on the property. The Lamberts, who were originally farmers, lived at Hillgrove. He should get credit for his work in the agricultural community.”
She added, “The first gas auto was built here.”
The building was built May 30, 1876, and even has a working elevator.
Kiser and Ronnie Hartrum bought the building in 1984.
Kiser, who taught himself about engines and auto racing, has on display in the room a lamp he made out of a quick-change, rear-end for a race car.
He has even used a fuel tank from race car driver Tony Elliott, who was killed in an accident, on a wall in the next room above a sink.
A collector Kiser also has on display are the racing helmets of his son, Larry, and grandson, Kim, both of whom are deceased; Larry from lymph node cancer and grandson from an auto accident.
He also has a coal bucket and a miniature gas pump as well as a floor full of pictures ready to be hung.
Some of the race car drivers’ pictures Kiser has on his wall include Dick DeBolt, Dick Pratt, Larry Moore, Jamie Neeley, Darrell Woodbury, Harry White, Ernie Woodard, Sammy and Todd Keen, Mackenzie Neeley, Tom Bigelow, and Brady Bacon.
In fact, Bacon purchased Kiser’s old shop on the same property.
Kiser even has a picture of himself with Earl and Bernice Baltes of Eldora Raceway fame, taken on his 60th birthday.
“I have a vintage sprint car,” he said. “I’ve been in races before and still do some. I got to go to Indianapolis Fairgrounds which no longer runs.”
Kiser, who will be 85 on March 15, said he has been in the auto-related business for 45 to 50 years.
“We work on everything here,” he said. “If it’s got wheels, we work on it.”
Kiser is hoping to have the museum done sometime next summer.
Wife Marcia, who is a doll and clothing maker, may even have a shop in the museum when and if it opens.
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at email@example.com or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.