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Cars are Kim Shirley's life
By Kathleen Ostrander

Springfield's Own Magazine apologizes for incorrectly identifying Kim Shirley of Kim's Auto Body, 312 North St., 522-8291, and his son, Nick Shirley, in the January SO Magazine cars article.

Kim and Nick Shirley, we appreciate all your help and patience with the article - and your great cars, and, again, we apologize.

                                                                                - The staff of Springfield's Own Magazine



After a long day repairing cars, Kim Shirley of Kim's Auto Body likes to relax with, of course, cars. Shirley has some really nice rides stashed away, but two favorites are a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and a 1971 Trans Am. In original Carousel Red, the GTO roars with judicial authority when Shirley's son, Nick, hits the gas.

"My brother and I first saw the Judge in 1969 when my father worked at Huber Pontiac, which is now S&K Pontiac," Kim Shirley explained.

"I was 10 years old, and I loved that car."

When the opportunity came to buy one that was for sale in Mattoon, he jumped at the chance. The car is nearly original.

Pontiac designed it with the spoiler on the trunk, two heavy-duty torque rods to hold up the trunk lid and 14x16-inch Rally II wheels.

To help keep costs down, the wheels came without trim rings, and they were the hardest to find, said Nick Shirley.

During production Pontiac also installed a 3-speed manual with a Hurst shifter. Shirley's Judge came with a Muncie M22 Rock Crusher 4-speed, but he's not complaining about the upgrade.

The car was made with tri-color body stripes, a blackout grille and "The Judge" decals on both front fenders and on the top right-hand side of the trunk spoiler.

The Judge required some work, but the 1971 Trans Am required a lot of work, Shirley said with a grin.

By all accounts from car enthusiasts, the first car to eclipse The Judge as the muscle car to end all muscle cars was the 1971 Trans Am. Shirley got the car in 2003, and the restoration took five years.

"It had a bad paint job, I mean, really amateur paint job. I took it down to the bare shell. It had the wrong wheels on it. I didn't do a lot of work on the interior," Shirley said. "The hardest thing to find was the aluminum intake manifold, because it was only put on certain cars," he said.

He ended up having to buy another Trans Am to use as a parts car.

The 1971 Pontiac Trans Am had the largest V8 of any of the pony cars.

It was only offered in Lucerne Blue, which is what it is painted now, or white.

"I wanted it because it was everybody's dream car," Shirley said.

Shirley's cars are made for driving. He or his son, Nick, might be seen tooling around in a muscle car that would make another enthusiast cringe at the idea of a door ding or rock damage.

Cars are for driving and enjoying.

Between his cars and his motorcycles, Shirley spends a lot of time with his vehicles. After working on other people's vehicles all day, it's not a problem working on his own.

"It relaxes me," he said. 



The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge


* Wheelbase, inches: 112.0

* Weight, pounds: 4,000

* Number built: 6,833

* Base price: $3,488

Top Available Engine

* Type: ohv V-8

* Displacement, cid: 400

* Fuel system: 1 x 4bbl.

* Compression ratio: 10.75:1

* Horsepower @ rpm: 370 @ 5500

* Torque @ rpm: 445 @ 3900

Representative Performance

* 0-60 mph, sec: 6.2

- Source: HowStuffWorks



The 1971 Pontiac Trans Am


* Wheelbase, inches: 108.0

* Weight, pounds: 3,580

* Number built: 2,116

* Base price: $4,595

Top Available Engine

* Type: ohv V-8

* Displacement, cid: 455

* Fuel system: 1 x 4bbl.

* Compression ratio: 8.4:1

* Horsepower @ rpm: 335 @ 4800

* Torque @ rpm: 480 @ 3600

Representative Performance

* 0-60 mph, sec: 5.9

* 1/4 mile, sec. @ mph: 13.9 @ 103

- Source: HowStuffWorks

Story published Friday, January 9, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 1 )

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