Though small in stature, Katie Robbins — who passed away on June 18 — left an enormous footprint on the Classic Car Club of America and the CCCA Museum that will long be seen.
Katie was initially a reluctant hobbyist who was forcefully introduced to old cars when her late husband, Jim, brought home a 1940 Cadillac Series Seventy-Five. A Rollson-bodied 1942 Packard town car followed and soon, there were two projects in the Robbins garage, much to Katie’s dismay.
In 1958, Jim joined the Classic Car Club of America and two years later, a 1938 Cadillac V-16 town car replaced the two project Classics. Katie took a shine to the V-16, often working on it herself, and when Jim became a director in the Michigan Region of the CCCA, Katie’s tool chest was joined by a typewriter which she used to assist in the management of the club.
Katie officially became club management herself when she was elected to the CCCA Michigan Region’s board of directors. In 1974, she became the first female regional director in the CCCA and just three years later, was elected to the CCCA national board. In 1982, Katie was elected to the position of national president of the CCCA, again becoming the first woman to hold that position. During her tenure, she announced the establishment of the CCCA Museum for which she would serve as a trustee for at least 33 years. As of 2016, when Katie was honored by the Michigan Region for her service, she had recorded 38 years on the CCCA national board and 43 years on the CCCA Michigan Region board.
Since 1965, the CCCA national board of directors has presented a distinguished service award. Now formally known as the Katie Robbins Distinguished Service Award, Katie herself had been presented with the award on two occasions (1988 and 2015), reflecting the depth of her contributions to the CCCA at the national and regional levels.
Old Cars Weekly had the pleasure of working with Katie on several occasions and know that CCCA Grand Experiences, Grand Classics and CARavans won’t have quite the same charm without Katie, her V-16 Cadillac and her clipboard.