The very word “Gatsby” is incredibly evocative. Hearing it transports you back to a different world a world where people of means lived a lavish lifestyle that was all about luxury. During that very same time, Duesenberg cars, featuring engineering and performance that was light years ahead of their time not to mention an astronomical price tag for the time were the perfect automotive accompaniment for that Gatsby crowd, discerning and concerned with making an impression as they were. This 1934 Gatsby Cabriolet Replica ably captures the sensibility of that bygone era.
This Cabriolet features a full steel body including running boards, not glass as you might expect, with a white exterior that’s the perfect complement to its considerable length and extravagantly unique shape, so you can easily picture the admiring nods you’d get when pulling up to your destination behind the wheel. The design cues symbolizing era-appropriate opulence are everywhere – the long wheelbase that’s based on a 1990 Lincoln chassis is accentuated by the placement of the wheels toward the front and back ends of the car, the long hood bearing distinctive chrome vents on the sides, huge external headlights and chrome-framed black step plates on both sides. Its manual folding top is in good shape, and well-fitted to the car, with windows in the back and rear corners still plenty transparent. This is one ride that even makes a strong impression in its departure, as its chrome trunk rack, sweeping rear fenders and externally-mounted rear tire – totally in keeping with its era of inspiration are the last things you’d see as it drives off.
Interiors are often an area where replicas fall short, but this one acquits itself convincingly. Well-crafted and nicely fitted, it features black vinyl bucket seats that are in very nice condition – sporting a tuck and roll look and straddling a fresh-looking center console that sits just behind the floor-mounted shifter. On both sides, the door panels carry vinyl matching the pattern of the seats, as well as manual windows that roll up and down with no issues. Despite the length of the hood area up front, there’s still ample space devoted to the cockpit, with plenty of leg and elbow room. Slide into the driver’s seat and take a look beyond the wood-grained steering wheel mounted on a tilt column and you’ll see a full complement of Stewart Warner gauges situated in the wooden dash. The black carpet running underneath everything is also in good shape, unfaded from sun exposure and carrying fresh-looking pile that still stands tall.
The Duesenbergs, creators of that iconic brand, were obsessed with performance technology and had already begun building high-performance engines capable of propelling their cars to top speeds in excess of 120mph by the mid-1930’s, so it wouldn’t do to simply place an underpowered, mediocre motor inside that long engine compartment. Lift up the folding hood and you’ll see a Ford 302 V8, outfitted with a 4-barrel carb, so you’re covered as far as performance is concerned. Paired with a C4 3-speed automatic transmission, it’s one healthy sounding powerplant firing right up, idling smooth and running strong. This Gatsby is equipped with power steering and power brakes – discs in front – to navigate and stop as the occasion requires. This inspired homage to the Duesenberg, the preeminent luxury car of the ’30s, sits on a set of 16″ Spoke Lincoln rims outfitted with Goodyear Integrity radials in front and Mirada Sport GTX Tires in back.