The Roaring Twenties: Wealth, Extravagance, Luxury Cars, and The Great Gatsby
The roaring twenties, a decade filled with extravagance. Business was booming and money was flowing. A decade associated with alcohol, parties, but more importantly wealth and luxury cars. The name Gatsby will forever be associated with this iconic decade. Jay Gatsby, a name that brings forth images of decadence, prestige, and most importantly classy automobiles. The recent film edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby spared no expense when it came to the luxury cars. Jay Gatsby is the epitome of class. Wealthy, self made, attractive, young, bachelor who displays his wealth with his mansions and impressive cars. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be Jay Gatsby? He is the epitome of a gentleman. Anyone who wishes to step into the life of Jay Gatsby needs an impressive automobile. He wouldn’t be the astonishing “Great Gatsby” without his iconic yellow car. In the 1974 film version Robert Redford, who played Jay Gatsby, drove a yellow Rolls-Royce 1928 Phantom I Ascot Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton. Only eleven of these prestigious cars were produced by Rolls-Royce. It’s six cylinder engine is capable of producing a respectable 120 horsepower. The actual car used by Robert Redford on set was sold at Bonhams auction in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 2009 for $238,000. It’s value lowered, perhaps, because the paint as well as the interior were redone from their original condition to fit the movie. In the twenties similar models of Rolls-Royce automobiles sold for anywhere between $10,000 to $12,000. It’s no secret that a Rolls-Royce is a symbol of wealth. At the end of the day, who gets the girl? The gentleman in the eleven thousand dollar Rolls-Royce of course. And who is that gentleman? None other than the Great Gatsby.
Pictured Below is the Rolls-Royce 1928 Phantom I Ascot Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton used by Robert Redford on the set of The Great Gatsby in 1974.
Pictured below is Robert Redford driving the 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Ascot Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton on the set of the 1974 version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby.
In the newest edition of this film, Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jay Gatsby, drove a 1929 Duesenberg Model J. This car represents more than just luxury; it represents status, something that was very important to the gentleman of the 1920s. The film is supposedly set in 1922, while the Duesenburg is a 1929 model, making it implausible that Jay Gatsby would have driven this car. However, this is an aspect that can be easily overlooked once one sees how seamlessly this illustrious automobile fits into the lifestyle of the millionaire we know as Jay Gatsby. There were approximately 480 of these cars made, with one of those originals was purchased for use in the movie. The Duesenburg Model J boasts a three speed selective transmission with a floor mounted lever. It houses a Lycoming Straight 8 cylinder engine that could reach 119 mph, which was impressive for the time period. It could go a slightly less than impressive 0-100 in 29 seconds. The Duesenburg was one of the most expensive cars of its time with the chassis alone costing around $8,500, bringing the total cost of the car up to around $20,000. This was unheard of in a time period where the average family car cost around $500. Today these prestigious cars sell at auction from anywhere between $700,000 and $1,000,000. The Duesenburg was advertised in the twenties with one simple line, “He owns a Duesenburg.” This ad furthered its image as a token of status and prestige, making it the perfect car for someone with the wealth and prestige of Jay Gatsby . What woman doesn’t want to ride in a chromed out yellow convertible with an attractive young millionaire? His car is one of many desirable attributes of the man known as the Great Gatsby. He so effortlessly personifies what it is to be the ultimate gentleman, because after all, he owns a Duesenberg.
Pictured below are Tobey McGuire and Leonardo DiCaprio driving the Duesenburg Model J on the set of the 2013 version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby.
The prestige buyer and seller of luxury automobiles, duPont Registry, has a listing for this 1928 Rolls-Royce Ascot Dual Cowl Phaeton. The listing describes its profound impact on the twenties as well as its significance to the iconic novel, The Great Gatsby. Thanks to DuPont any gentleman who wishes to live as the great Gatsby lived can purchase this vehicle. After all, it’s more than just a car; it’s a token of prestige, decadence, and the roaring twenties. Any man driving this car is truly the ultimate gentleman.