When watching local television in Greater Lafayette and throughout the Midwest, one might hear the following words as a commercial cuts to black.
Bob Rohrman, a local car dealer whose iconic advertising slogan played through speakers throughout Indiana and surrounding states, died Tuesday night, according to reported obituaries. He was 87.
Rohrman will be remembered as a self-made entrepreneur from Lafayette, Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of businessman and philanthropist Bob Rohrman today,” Roswarski said. “The City of Lafayette sends its sincere condolences to the Rohrman Family and to the employees at all the Rohrman Dealerships.”
In December, Rohrman donated $15 million to Purdue Athletics for future improvements, prompting Purdue to rename Ross-Ade’s football field to Rohrman Field.
Purdue Athletics released a statement Wednesday afternoon on Rohrman's death.
"We extend our sympathies to the Rohrman family today as we mourn the loss of an ardent Purdue fan and benefactor — Bob Rohrman," the statement reads.
"Bob exemplified the spirit of a Boilermaker, coming from modest roots in the Lafayette community, and through hard work and dedication, building an automotive group that is amongst the most successful in the nation. His philanthropic spirit and generous support have made an immeasurable impact on our community and will not soon be forgotten.
"Purdue Athletics is honored to honor Bob's legacy with Rohrman Field at Ross-Ade Stadium for generations of Boilermakers to come."
After finishing his term with the Army at Fort Lewis in Washington, Rohrman got his start in the auto business in Lafayette. From its first used car lot on Sagamore Parkway, the Bob Rohrman Auto Group expanded to more than 30 locations in three states, including the cities of Indianapolis, Kenosha, WI, and Schaumburg, IL.
“(He) gave back to many organizations that not only enhanced our community, but many communities where his dealerships served,” Roswarski said.
Rohrman was also locally known for his quirky advertisements, which included skits where Rohrman dressed up as a fortune teller, a Star Wars parody called “Car Wars,” and a Halloween special.
“Wait a minute, aren’t you a little short for a car dealer?” asks a woman dressed as Princess Leia in one of Rohrman’s “Car Wars” commercials.
“Now wait a minute, I’m Bob Rohrman,” he replies while dressed as a Stormtrooper. “I’m here to rescue you from high car prices.”
“His fun approach to marketing of vehicles left a mark on consumers over the years that will never be forgotten,” Roswarski said. “He was a trailblazer for his unique approach to advertising. We know his legacy will live on for many years under the leadership of the current generation of the Rohrman family.”