Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
Exceptional Motor Cars and Automotive Art, Tarrytown
24 April 1999
New York, Park Avenue
1920 MERCER SERIES 5 22-73HP RACEABOUT
Chassis No. 5273
Engine No. 5207
Yellow with black leather upholstery
Engine: four cylinder L-head, dry sump lubrication, 298.2ci., 73hp at 2,800rpm; Gearbox: four speeds forward plus reverse; Suspension: front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs with Hartford shock absorbers; Brakes: two wheel drums. Left hand drive.
Mercer, the famous American automobile company, derived its name from Mercer County, New Jersey. The factory was based in the budding industrial town of Trenton and the company was owned by the Roebling family who were famous for steel rope making, in addition to building the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1911, the Type 35 Raceabout was uncaged. Designed by Finley R. Porter, the four cylinder 300ci., T-Head engine was guaranteed from the factory to do an impressive 70 plus mph. They were sold as road cars, however many amateur sportsmen used them as race cars, maximizing their full driving potential. From 1911 to 1914 Mercers were raced with such success that by 1914 the Raceabout was sold as The Champion Light Car.
By 1915 Finley Porter's successor, German trained engineer Erik Delling, introduced his version of the updated Raceabout. Civilized in its appearance, the new Mercer continued in the minimalist tradition of its spartan predecessors, with only the most necessary items included on the cars. The new Delling engine developed 73bhp and was guaranteed from the factory to achieve even greater speeds than the top speed of the earlier T-Head cars. The chassis was completely redesigned and came standard with Rudge Whitworth wire wheels and a new four speed gearbox. In 1919, a Wall Street syndicate calling themselves the Mercer Motor Company acquired control of Mercer. Former Packard executive Emlen S. Hare was put in charge of the now conglomerated company which came to include Locomobile and Simplex. Unfortunately, the aims of creating another General Motors by producing nearly 50,000 cars a year seemed highly unlikely, and the newly formed Mercer Motor Company slowly returned its shares to many of the original shareholders.
Mr. Brown purchased this Mercer a little over 25 years ago from the Amesley family of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. While under Mr. Brown's ownership, the Raceabout received a nut and bolt restoration by Larry Amesley. Some years later, Mr. Brown commissioned further work on the Mercer and had the engine on the Raceabout fully rebuilt by noted Mercer authority Fred Hoch of Schaffer and Long Restorations in Magnolia, New Jersey. Appearing highly complete, Mr. Brown's 1920 Mercer features color matched wire wheels and dual rear mounted spares. This genuine Raceabout has participated in a number of Glidden Tours. It is said to run well and is also eligible for many long distance touring events, as well as for the Vintage Sports Car Club Club events.
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