Jim Reilly, Sr.
A native of Colorado Springs, Jim Reilly loved life to the fullest and brought joy to those around him. Jim graduated from General Motors Institute in Flint Michigan, worked for the GM proving ground as a young engineer and served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps.
In 1952, Jim began his career in the automotive industry by helping his father, a Rolls Royce mechanic, at the Strangs Garage dealership, learning every aspect of the business — from parts to service to sales.
At 13, his first official job with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was to help his father take gasoline samples before and after the race. In 1961, as general manager and vice president, he had the vision to move the dealership from downtown Colorado Springs. He built the first dealership in what is now Motor City and founded Reilly Buick in 1986.
Jim’s involvement with community activities and car industry associations was exemplary. He was a frequent participant in many educational programs and contributed to numerous charitable organizations.
As a NADA director, he implemented air-quality inspection and auto maintenance standards on city, state and national levels. Jim felt the expansion and division of the Government Relations Committee was one of his most important contributions to NADA Board of Directors. He was Colorado’s nominee for the 1995 TIME Quality Dealer of the Year award.
Jim held several titles within the US Auto Club, was zone supervisor and race official for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the Indy 500. He was associated with the Pikes Peak International Hill climb for more than 80 years and served in many capacities — from chief steward to president. As president of the Hill Climb Association, he started the “Over the Hill Gang” and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Educational Museum. Jim was in the first class of inductees to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Hall of Fame.
A man of the utmost integrity, loyalty and humility, he had a rare gift of being able to encourage people and help them.