Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby Maguire spent yesterday familiarising themselves with $3 million of automotive history in preparation for the filming of The Great Gatsby.

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The images (courtesy of celebrity website PopSugar) show the two in Centennial Park, Sydney, in one of two 1929 Duesenberg convertibles that were shipped to Australia from a museum in the US.

The vehicle in the images is a Duesenberg J – a mighty machine in its day and, worth about the same as two Bugatti Veyrons today.

Powered by a straight-eight engine, the Duesenberg produced 198kW of power and was capable of a top speed of 192km/h. Although there were cars with bigger engines, the ‘Duesy’ was the fastest and most powerful car available in the US at the time.

It was also the most expensive. At a time when the average US physician earned less than $3000 a year, the Duesenberg J was priced between $13,000 and $19,000. To put that into perspective, it would be similar to purchasing a $500,000 car in Australia today, like a top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz S 65 AMG.

 

 

At the time, Duesys were a status symbol like few others, and owners included Clark Gable, Al Capone, Howard Hughes and Mae West.

In an interesting anomaly, the novel The Great Gatsby is actually set in the summer of 1922, some seven years before the car in these images was built.

Regardless, filming is set to start around Sydney on September 5.