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Buick in ‘Casablanca’ Auctioned for $37,500

The 1940 Buick Ltd. convertible driven by Humphrey Bogart in the classic film “Casablanca” was bought at a car auction Saturday for $37,500 by the owner of New Jersey’s largest Casablanca fan dealership.

The buyer, identified as Art Somers, 47, of Bricktown, N.J., plans to use the car as a promotional gimmick for the dealership, which sells slow overhead fans, like the ones in the movie, according to Joe Molina, spokesman for the Newport Beach Collector’s Car Auction.

Rick Cole, who supervised the auction, said: “The atmosphere under the auction tent was electric. . . . It was sort of an encore performance for the vehicle that starred in the climactic final scenes of the 1942 classic.”

The sedan was previously owned by Lyle Ritz, who bought it nearly two decades ago without knowing its movie history. He knew only that Warner Bros. studios, which produced the classic film starring Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, had a 1940 Buick with only 4,000 miles on it.

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“I’ve had it for 17 years, driven it for 17 years and loved it for 17 years,” Ritz, a studio musician from Simi Valley, said before the auction. “But I’m kind of burned out. I’m losing the enthusiasm and ambition needed to maintain a car like this and to continue its improvement.”


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