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Victor Potamkin, Auto Magnate, Dead At 83

June 7, 1995 GMT

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Victor Potamkin, the son of a fish vendor who later built a $1.2 billion-a-year auto sales empire, has died at age 83.

Potamkin, who died Monday, had checked into Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach three weeks ago when his health began to deteriorate, his family said. They gave no cause of death.

The Potamkin family has 54 car dealerships in Florida’s Dade County; New Jersey; Philadelphia and New York, employing 2,000 people.

Potamkin got his start selling chicken parts during the Depression. In 1947, he managed to talk his way into owning a car dealership in Philadelphia, said son Robert Potamkin of Philadelphia.

``He was a very dynamic guy,″ he said.

In 1987, the family started the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s Research, a $100,000 grant awarded annually.

In addition to his two sons, Potamkin is survived by brothers Nat and Pat Potamkin, and grandchildren Andi, Melissa and Jamin. His wife, Luba, died last year.

A funeral service will be held Friday in New York City.