Lyric Auto has been operating since 1972 | News

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The notion of longevity is no stranger to Lyric Auto.

The company, which began servicing foreign-made automobiles, is celebrating five decades in business this year.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” owner Julian Schrader said of the milestone.

Schrader said the business was started in downtown Bowling Green in 1972 by Lyle Yackee and Rick Kern – the name “Lyric” is a combination of their two first names. The original purpose was to repair Volkswagens. This extended to work on foreign cars of all types.

Schrader said that in 1976 the company moved to its current location at 12593 Kramer Road.

Schrader was contacted about buying the business in 2019 by Rick and Ann Kern, and has owned it ever since.

“History-wise,” Schrader said, “they specialized in foreign autos, all auto repair needs, and then I took it over and I do anything, all brands or all models now. I do pretty much anything automotive I can.

Schrader said he started working in the auto industry in 2000, working with a local company and getting into towing.

“I just thought it was going to be a little gig to get by,” he said. “I was going to be a chef. I canceled that and started working on cars there and have been doing that ever since.

He said the variety of cars he was able to work on at Lyric was a primary motivation for moving there.

“I like the wide range of what I work on here, what we work on. … I work on all the old cars, a lot of Beetles, old Volkswagen vans, MGs that we see a lot, Triumphs, old cool cars from overseas,” Schrader said. “That was probably the main decision I was able to go for, I guess, because I needed a mental challenge, the variety of cars and of learning different things, a different carburetor in each one. My mind was definitely starting to get bored.

His interest in mechanics was originally sparked by working on bicycles, he said.

“I kind of grew up with a bit of mechanical experience,” Schrader said. “It just progressed from there.”

With the variety of vehicles he sees, Schrader said researching the makes and models he services is part of the job.

“I definitely need to research them and learn more about them,” he said. “I tell people I’m training ‘find out how it works and you can fix it.'”

Schrader said that, except for a bump at the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus hasn’t slowed business. He said they closed in April 2020.

“But other than that, it wasn’t terrible. I don’t need to be in contact with a lot of people and we just tried to get (the cars) dropped off,” he said. “We just tried to wipe it clean and be as safe as possible. But overall, we’ve never really missed a beat other than this April.

Schrader also sees legacy activities at Lyric, servicing the vehicles of generations of customers.

“It’s kind of cool that I meet grandkids that the original people, their grandparents came here with their old Volkswagens, BMWs, Mercedes, whatever,” he said. “I have probably 10 people who have introduced me to their grandchildren, some of whom are married with children themselves.”

Schrader also said he has plans for the next 50 years of Lyric.

“I hope to include towing in that,” he said. “I would like to develop and do a little more customizing, manufacturing, restoring old cars, a little bit of that.”

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