Vintage Cars Feature in “The Great Gatsby” Film Production

Filming of “The Great Gatsby” Remake

Sydney, Australia, 18th-11-11

by Igor Spajic

Film production on “The Great Gatsby” has been underway at the Fox Studios in Sydney, with the customary secrecy.

Location shooting is commencing with the use of vintage cars to authenticate the period atmosphere, which seems to be set in the early 1930s.

Vintage and classic cars known to be taking part in filming include:

1920s Dodge 4;

1920s Ford Model T;

1933 Auburn Speedster.

In addition, an extraordinary pair of neo-classics will also take part. A 1983 Duesenberg II 4-door sedan and a 1983 Duesenberg II, presumably a phaeton.

These cars are faithful replicas of the mighty Model J Duesenbergs of the 1930s, one of the most expensive and sought-after classic cars in the world. With prices for original closed cars at around US$500,000, and for open cars upwards of US$1.25 million, it was obvious that using original cars for filming would have created impossibly high insurance premiums and other difficulties. Thus, the production company found the solution in using these ‘replicars’. Using original parts, finely crafted fibreglass bodies and modern mechanicals, the Duesenberg II is nevertheless virtually impossible to tell from the real thing.

1980s Duesenberg II Royalton replica

1980s Duesenberg II Royalton phaeton. As close to the real thing as you can get, this side of a million dollars.


Location filming with these cars has been delayed due to wet weather, but is expected to finish by the dates mentioned.

One of the locations is near the Studios in Sydney’s picturesque Centennial Park, a welcome swathe of green open space in the populous Eastern Suburbs. One of the ornate entry gates will provide the background. The location shoot involving vintage cars will take place here on the weekend of the 19th and 20th of November.

Another location shoot will follow at Mt. Wilson, a small township in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Filming is expected there from Monday 21st through Saturday the 26th of November.

It is thought that Mt Wilson, due to its altitude, reproduces the cold climate forest or country scenery that can stand in for rural New England, upstate from New York City. A lack of modern development may also contribute to a rustic feel, authentic for the 1930s.

“The Great Gatsby” comes on top of vintage cars filmed in Sydney’s inner-suburb back streets for another period piece – the acclaimed crime series “Underbelly – Razor.”

This popular mini-series depicted the struggles of organised crime gangs with the police but mostly with each other in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Various vintage cars took starring roles in the background and in the action – particularly the drive-by shootings.

Cars recognised were: 1926 Pontiac, 1920s Chevrolets, 1920s Ford Model As, 1920s Studebaker Big Six sedan, 1920s Studebaker Duplex Phaeton and a 1920s Buick.

As a filming destination, Australia has been fortunate in its availability of top class studios and a wealth of local vintage and classic cars to finish off period scenes. Though it must be admitted that the Duesenberg IIs and 1933 Auburn Speedster were probably brought in from overseas for “The Great Gatsby”, all the more ‘plebean’ cars would have been provided by local enthusiasts.

The Great Gatsby

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