Area family marks 95th year in auto business

Ninety-five years after their great-grandfather Clarence “C.J.” Nofzinger entered the automotive business in Archbold, Chad and Aaron Baus say they have changed very little about the family’s philosophy for putting customers first.

CAR 1’s history begins in 1924, when brothers C.J. and John Nofzinger started Archbold Auto Wrecking, an automotive salvage company, at 109 E. Mechanic St. in Archbold. They began selling and servicing new Oakland and Pontiac automobiles in 1928, at which time the business name changed to Nofzinger Bros. Auto Sales.

The brothers continued selling and servicing Pontiacs until their deaths in the 1950s, at which time sons-in-law Ed Baus and Dale Short purchased the company as partners, and named the newly-incorporated business Nofzinger Motor Sales. Ed and Dale continued as partners until Dale’s death in 1967, when Ed and his wife Leanna (C. J. Nofzinger’s daughter) purchased the total business.

The business passed to the third generation in 1986, when Ed’s son, Larry Baus, and Larry’s wife, Eileen, purchased the company. GMC trucks were added to the lineup in 1991, and the name Nofzinger Pontiac-GMC was born. After more than 70 years at the same Mechanic Street location, Larry made the decision to build a new facility and move the business.

The effort was completed in 1995.

In 1998, after three years at the new location, most assets of the company, along with the name “Nofzinger Pontiac-GMC” were sold. The family retained ownership of the corporation, Nofzinger Motor Sales, Inc. The Pontiac store continued in Archbold for several years, changed hands several times, and was closed several years before the last Pontiac was produced.

Meanwhile, after taking some time off, Larry and son Aaron Baus reopened the company, doing business as CAR 1, in early 1999, with a focus on selling two and three year-old off-lease vehicles. The business was once again located at 109 E. Mechanic St., the same location where C. J. and John began nearly 80 years before.

In 2001, Larry’s other son, Chad, relocated his family to the Archbold area, and joined CAR 1, newly relocated at its

present location on St. Rt. 66 in Archbold.

“When we opened CAR 1, we responded to what we saw as a gap in the vehicles which were being offered for sale,” said Aaron. “People quickly caught on to our philosophy of buying a clean, low mileage, one-owner vehicle for about half the price.”

Chad and Aaron took over the now-fourth generation business in 2012. Even after retirement, Ed continued to come to the dealership every day – right up until two days before his passing in 2015. He was 98.

2019 marks 20 years since the family started doing business as CAR 1, and 95 years since Chad and Aaron’s great-grandfather C.J. and his brother started the business. Larry, now 68, still comes to work three days a week, and has trouble staying away, even on his “days off.”

Although so many years have passed, the brothers say their legacy as a Pontiac-Oakland dealer, and their

great-grandfather’s commitment to putting customers first, will never be forgotten.

“For the past 95 years, our family has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the people of northwest Ohio,” Chad observed. “We’re honored to be earning the business of people whose parents and grandparents once shopped with our dad or grandpa.”