Convertible in immortal Casablanca finale expected to be auctioned at $500,000

The famous convertible, Buick Phaeton, owned by Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart in one of the most famous movies of all time, Casablanca.
The famous convertible, Buick Phaeton, owned by Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart in one of the most famous movies of all time, Casablanca.


The 1940 Buick Phaeton which could be seen in the background in Casablanca’s immortal finale is going to be auctioned in New York this November 25.

The finale of the movie where the characters played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman traveled in the Buick towards the airport is one of the most famous movie scenes of all time.

The famous car belonged to Rick Blaine played by Bogart. It is rumored to be able to  draw $500,000 or even more.

The Dreams Are Made of This auction at Bonhams will hold the auction featuring the convertible and other iconic items and costumes from various other movies.

The car completes the immortal finale of the 1942 movie. Captain Louis Renault played by Claude Rains is at the driver’s seat manning the car at gunpoint. Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart is in the front seat while Isla Lund played by Ingrid Bergman and Victor Laszlo played by Paul Henried are in the back seat.

The car makes its way towards the airport. At the finale of Casablance, the four characters are next to the convertible at the airport tarmac. The immortal scene features the two characters Rick and Ilsa on screen with the convertible at the background.

Isla looks at Rick with tearful eyes. Rick then responds with one of the most famous and favorite quotes in the movie history, “Here’s looking at you kid”. The two characters are at the foreground of the famous convertible.

The Buick was also featured in other Warner Brother’s films such as the famous High Sierra where Bogart is also among the cast. Even without the name of Bogart identified with the car, the convertible is valued as ultra-rare. It only has 42,000 miles on its clock.

The 230 Buick Phaeton models with a 81C trunkback convertible design were the only Buicks produced in the year 1940. The Buick during that period costed around $500,000 or £311,000. During the auction, the said Casablanca car could be valued higher than half a million dollars.

The car has already been sold in two auctions. From the stock of Warner Brother’s, the convertible was sold to Lyle Ritz, a famous ukelele player, in 1970. The most recent auction was in the year 1995.

Other items to be auctioned are a pair of Laurel and hardy derby hats which were worn by immortal classics such as Cary Grant and Bette Davis. They are expected to draw in $20,000. Also to be auctioned is a Batman costume which was worn by Michael Keaton in the movie Batman Returns in 1992.

The immortal finale of the film, Casablanca, where Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart looked into the tearful eyes of Isla Lund played by Ingrid Bergman and said the famous movie quote, “Here’s looking at you kid.”

The auction also involves big shot television channel Turner Classic Movies.

Catherine Williamson, the director of entertainment memorabilia of Bonham, said, “We worked with Turner Classic Movies to reach out to some of the best collectors in the country and to curate, really, an auction that runs the gamut of film history.”

Williamson also said that they hold the auctions of movie memorabilia regularly. However, she said this was the first time that they turned to Turner Classic Movies.

“They are the best possible partner we could have. They really are carrying the torch forward in terms of evangelizing the love of classic movies,” Williamson further added.

Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies said that seeing the Buick Phaeton which owns an Aztec brown color and a convertible design in its actuality is not the same as looking at it in a catalogue.

“I knew the car was here, and I walk in and it still takes your breath away a little bit. I’m as amazed as, I think, anybody else is here,” Mankiewicz said.

The Dailymail reports that Casablanca was released for public viewing on November 26, 1942 in New York. It was released in other states in the US only about two months after, January 1943.

The film did not do initially as well as the makers expected it to. The film unexpectedly however suddenly rose into popularity when the Allies invaded North Africa several weeks earlier.

Casablanca won three Academy Awards. The famed movie was awarded Best Picture. As a classic, it is included on top of lists of greatest films of all time.




Siegphyl is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE