In Memory of our friend Bob Lotito 2010

Without Bob, there would have been no “us."

I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to say a few words about Bob Lotitio. He was a long time friend of mine, all of ours actually, and I just want to tell you how important he was to all of us. Bob was a great guy, he was one of the good guys and he was a friend for life to anyone he met. This may sound cliché but really, Bob was the nicest guy you would ever want to know. I can say this straight up, no lie, that without Bob, there would be no us. This Camaro world we live in, without Bob, it doesn’t exist. All this stuff we know, all these fine people we know. I can say without a doubt that if it were not for Bob, there is no us. The world we have been living in since summer of 1987 would be far different. This one was never born. Think about it, imagine, go back to 1987, cruising North Avenue in a big block way-back machine to a world without the Illinois Camaro Club. None of us know each other, there is no club, no newsletter, no car shows. There is no Skwira, no Rubenacker, or Smith or Allen or any one else you can think of. I cannot imagine a world where I did not know Al & Lucy, Tom & Pat, or Bob & Betty. My God what a sorry world that would be. For me, it is a world without my wife Karen. Bob is responsible for all of this. It doesn’t matter what I did that summer of 1987, it was what Bob did. I know what you’re thinking right about now. How the heck can Bob be responsible for all this? You don’t believe me, do you? Well let me tell you a little story to explain why without Bob Lotito this world isn’t here, why there would be no us.

Shortly after I bought my 1986 Z, I started looking around for a local Camaro club to join. There was none to be found. There was however, a national Camaro club, the U.S. Camaro Club. So, in the summer of 1987 I went to the national show in Norwood, Ohio and there I met up with Jim Wirth and company who promptly convinced me to start a local chapter. It seemed like a lot of work but I decided to give it a whirl. So I looked in some car magazines and found a show somewhere in the western suburbs. I don’t remember the place, but I drove up there with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head thinking this was going to be pretty cool. I got out of my car and who was the first guy I ran into? Bob. The first guy out of the box was Bob. Holy crap think how lucky that was. It could have been anybody; it could have been some freak job who wanted nothing to do with any car club. But it wasn’t anybody; it was Bob. He made me think that a Camaro club in Illinois was a good idea. He talked to me, made me feel like it was a cool thing to do, and encouraged me to keep at it. I don’t remember who the second guy was I talked to that day, but I remember the first guy was Bob, and thank heaven that it was. Would I have kept going if that first guy wasn’t Bob, and had told me to get lost?  I don't know, I really don’t want to know the answer to that question. I can tell you that if it wasn’t Bob, this world is probably different. I can tell you that if that first guy wasn’t Bob Lotito, who was the nicest guy in the world to some one he didn’t know from Adam, then all of this, all this stuff we now take for granted, all this stuff that we have because we all know each other, isn’t here. And I don’t have a wife. No Bob, no Camaro club, no Mike and Donna, no Karen. So just take a moment, and think about a world without all of us. If it wasn’t for the nicest guy in the world, there would be no us. Thank you Bob, we will never forget you.

Paul Weinert 


Club History

 A Brief History of the Illinois Camaro Club

by Bob Lotito

 

It's June 1985, a hot sunny day in Maywood Park, IL. I'm participating in a car show, showing off my newly acquired '68. A young man approaches me: "Nice car" - "thanks." He talks a bit about Camaros, his and mine an '86. "I'm thinking of starting a Camaro Club. Would you be interested?" "Sure, here's my name and phone number."

To my surprise, this brash and talky young man, who is Paul Wienert, calls me and asks if I would like to meet with him and several others to discuss the beginning of a Camaro Club. I agree; we meet and decide to publish flyers and pass them out at car shows, parts stores, etc., in order to create an interest in forming the Camaro Club.

From this point on, Paul takes the responsibility of most all preparations. He arranges our first meeting. The meeting is held at Wendy's in Aug. 1987. Eighteen people and some spouses show up and agree to form an official Camaro Club. Tom Lima, who produces car shows in the Chicago area, is urged by Paul to attend the meeting. Tom is a great help in providing information as to car club operations and start-up procedures. We agree on the name "Illinois Camaro Club" and set dues at $15.00 to cover expenses. The Club is up and running. Paul becomes a work-a-holic for the club and is the driving force behind its success. The club becomes his baby, his pride and joy for many years to come.

Including all regular cruises - picnics, get-together meetings, car displays, car shows, invites to car-related businesses, and link-ups at local cruise spots.