“The Great Gatsby” is now in theatres, and while the reviews are mixed, there’s one thing the movie definitely got wrong.
In the movie, set in 1922, Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby drives a 1929 Duesenberg Model J.
As Jerry Garrett at the New York Times points out, it’s unlikely that Gatsby would be driving a Duesenberg of any kind: The company had just gone into business in 1922, and the Model J — the car that made it a popular brand — did not enter production until 1928.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, Gatsby drives a yellow Rolls-Royce, and since the most popular model from the British automaker in 1922 was the 40/50 HP, aka the Silver Ghost, it’s a good bet that’s what the image-obsessed Gatsby would have purchased.
Rolls-Royce also produced the “baby” Rolls-Royce 20 HP in 1922, a less grandiose car unlikely to appeal to the Long Island bootlegger.
This 1922 Silver Ghost was sold by RM Auctions in 2012, for £112,000 (182,574 in 2013 USD). Imagine it in yellow, and that’s what Gatsby should be driving:
In contrast, here’s a Duesenberg Model J:
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