Cimtex Rods

. . . one custom car at a time

Brothers Darrell and Tim Cimbanin have loved cars for their entire lives. “I can remember being about 12 years old and going somewhere with our parents,” says the now 70-year-old Darrell. “We could name every car we saw.”

They grew up near Youngstown, Ohio—home to a number of auto industry-related companies—and the Cimbanin brothers’ interest in cars grew as they did.

As an adult, Darrell built race engines at a speed shop and worked on Corvettes on the side. He also hauled new cars for General Motors. Tim also worked for GM, at the assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The brothers moved to Texas in the early eighties to work in the oil fields. “It was during the oil boom, and truck mechanics were in high demand,” Darrell says. But when the industry went bust, the brothers found themselves looking for something else to do. That something ended up being HVAC work at Fort Hood.

Meanwhile, Darrell and Tim continued building custom cars and even built a garage to house their work. One of their projects was Tim’s 1955 Chevy pickup truck, finished in 2002. Darrell says, “We thought it turned out really good, so we entered it into the Goodguys Rod & Custom show in Fort Worth, and we actually won Truck of the Year!”

Over the next two years, the Cimbanins showed the truck at Goodguys shows, the Indoor Car Show Association (ICSA) show, and other events around the country, garnering top awards at nearly every show. “We got a lot of exposure, and people started asking us to build custom cars for them,” Darrell explains.

In 2005, they sold the ’55 Chevy truck at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. “We did very well with that sale,” Darrell says. “That’s when we started thinking we could actually turn our hobby into a career.” Darrell and Tim took on more and more cars, and when their shop was literally full of projects, they decided it was time to retire from Fort Hood to work on cars full time. It was then that their company, Cimtex Rods in Jarrell, Texas, was born.

Today, they have a 10,000-square-foot shop and six employees, including Darrell’s wife, Dorothy, who takes care of bookkeeping. Most of their clients dream of owning a custom hot rod. “Most of our customers already have a car they want to restore,” says Darrell, “but some know what they want and ask us to find it for them.”

The process Cimtex Rods goes through involves first getting an idea of what the customer wants to achieve. Then an artist draws some sketches, to which Darrell and Tim add their own twist. They recently completed a project for a 69-year-old customer from Horseshoe Bay whose dream since his college days has been to own a 1956 Ford. When he found one in Georgia, he took it straight to Cimtex Rods to restore and customize. “It took about three and a half years,” says Darrell, “but we literally made this guy’s dream come true. It’s a great feeling.”

Tim and Darrell Cimbanin

Thanks to nationwide recognition in publications like Classic Trucks and Street Rodder magazines, Cimtex Rods now has customers from across Texas and the Southwest. Projects typically take a year and a half or more and cost upwards of $300,000, but the work is steady, to say the least. “We have great customers who are willing to let us do what we do best,” says Darrell. “We have been very fortunate.”

For more information on Cimtex Rods, visit

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