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Car in Video Is Auctioned for $7,900--He Loves It!

Times Staff Writer

‘It’s fun, it’s perfect. How much is it really worth anyway? I don’t even know.’

--Richard Ardi

Richard Ardi, wearing dark sunglasses, an unbuttoned shirt, a flashy smile and a blonde on his arm, had one thing to say Saturday as he sat in his new 1955 red-and-white Buick Special Convertible:

“I love it!”

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For $7,900, the 28-year-old “born and raised in Northridge” man is the lucky owner of what an auctioneer said is a “star car, a piece of history, the very car that Randy Newman cruised in for the ‘I Love L. A.’ video.”

“It’s an answer to my dreams,” Ardi, 28, said seconds after he realized he was the car’s highest bidder at the Spectrum Vehicle Auction at California State University, Northridge. “It’s fun, it’s perfect. How much is it really worth anyway? I don’t even know.”

And just why is Ardi so excited about his new car that has cruised such famous thoroughfares as Century Boulevard (“We love it!”) , Victory Boulevard (“We love it!) , and Santa Monica Boulevard (We love it!) ?

Homemade Video

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Well, Ardi is throwing a Halloween party and just for fun decided he and his friends would produce their own homemade version of the music video that goes with Los Angeles’ unofficial song, “I Love L. A.”

When he saw the car featured in a brochure for the auto auction he said, “What the heck. I’ll try and buy it.’

Ardi, who wore a thick gold chain that dangles a gold razor blade inscribed with “RICH,” said he’s into “stocks and bonds, buying houses, selling houses, buying cars, selling cars, whatever.”

But it’s not every car that has a song and visions of passing palm trees to go with it.

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“I can’t believe I got it,” he said. “It’s like L. A. is a great place. If you want to remake a video, you can do it. If you want to buy a famous car, you can do it.”

Tense Moments

But there were several tense moments as the bidding began. The car was rolled into the auction arena and the crowd of about 500 people cheered and rushed up to the car, running their hands over its convertible top, snapping photos, peering into the front seat where Randy Newman actually sat with, in his words, “a big nasty redhead by my side.”

Ardi’s starting bid was $6,000 but he was quickly forced up to $7,000. When the bidding reached $7,500, he started biting his lip. When a hand raised the price to $7,750, Ardi, in a desperate moment, shot up his arm and bid $7,900. The car was his.

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“I knew it was going to be a perfect day,” he said, as if he was expecting to hear the familiar verse kick up in the background. “I mean there’s no smog today, I’m with a blonde, I just got this car. . . .”


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