The 1940 Buick Phaeton automobile from Casablanca
Lot 103
The 1940 Buick Phaeton automobile from Casablanca
Sold for US$ 461,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
The 1940 Buick Phaeton automobile from Casablanca
Warner Bros., 1942. A 1940 Buick Phaeton Limited model 81C convertible, with 8 cylinder engine, chassis no. 83827860, manual transmission with left hand drive, mileage approximately 42,000, two bench seats, brown exterior with rag top (replaced), original tan interior with some damage. The car has been mechanically restored with a new wiring harness; whitewall tires with side mounts, standard shift on the steering wheel. The most recent owner, however, has done no additional restoration since his purchase of the car. Fresh from service, the car is reported by the vendor to be in driving condition. A copy of the DVD of the film and a reproduction still accompany this lot.
Provenance: Purchased by musician Lyle Ritz directly from Warner Bros, 1970; sold Newport Beach Car Collector's Auction, July 11, 1987; offered at Charlotte Collector Car Show, April 3-4, 1993; sold Christie's East, "Television and Film Memorabilia and Posters," June 28, 1995, lot 48.

This car looms large in the final act of Casablanca: Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault drives the car to the airport at gunpoint, with Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in the front, and Ingrid Bergman (Isla Lund) and Paul Henried (Victor Laszlo) in the back seat. Throughout the final moments of the film, Rick, Ilsa, Victor and Louis linger on the airport tarmac next to the Buick Phaeton, and the film's immortal final moments between Rick and Ilsa take place next to the car:

Rick: Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that.
[Ilsa lowers her head and begins to cry]
Rick: Now, now...
[Rick gently places his hand under her chin and raises it so their eyes meet]
Rick: Here's looking at you kid.

As a member of the Warner's fleet, this car also appeared in other films of the era, including High Sierra.


Saleroom notices

  • This lot will be available for preview at our Los Angeles saleroom November 20-25. Please be advised, the brakes on this vehicle are not currently functioned but will be repaired prior to delivery, and at no additional cost, to the buyer. Furthermore, buyers are advised to closely review the Supplemental Conditions of Sale for Motor Vehicles found on page 3 of the catalog. Please also note that for the sale of this registerable motorcar, Bonhams is working with Autosport Designs, Inc (New York dealer license number 253). The chassis number listed in the catalog should be 13670184. The vehicle is titled under its engine number, 83827860.
  1. Lucy Carr
    Specialist - Entertainment Memorabilia
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, 90046
    United States
    Work +1 323 436 5467
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843