Chassis No. 16870
Engine No. 5273
Mercer Green with green wheels and black leather interior
Engine: four cylinder L-head, dry sump lubrication, 298.2ci, 73hp at 2,800rpm; Gearbox: four speeds forward plus reverse; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear with Hartford shock absorbers; Brakes: two wheel drum and an expanding shoe on the drive shaft. Left hand drive.
Erik H. Delling, a German trained engineer, initially worked as a consultant to Mercer during Finley Robertson Porter's reign. Delling developed the famed Deltal Race Car that was highly competitive against the Mercer Type F race cars. The Deltal utilized a T-Head Raceabout chassis fitted with Delling's own L-Head monobloc engine that had a far simpler design than the T-Head. According to Tony Muldoon in his article in Automobile Quarterly, volume 34, no. 3, Delling felt that fewness of parts is absolutely necessary in high speed motors, and this is another reason why I am an adherent of L-Head. I could never see the reason for multiple valves and complicated overhead valve mechanisms. While the T-Head Raceabouts were winning races throughout the country and posting strong sales, the directors at Mercer, Charles and Ferdinand Roebling and John and Anthony Kuser, correctly realized that its dominance and appeal could not last forever. After all, by 1913 many passenger cars were adopting fully enclosed bodywork with electric starters and lighting equipment. When Porter could not convince them to build his advanced (but expensive) overhead cam design, he resigned from Mercer in 1914, and Delling was soon hired to replace him.
Delling created a successor to the T-Head Raceabout using a completely different design with an engine that closely resembled the one fitted in the Deltal Race Car. It was a four cylinder L-Head unit that had a bore and stroke of 3.75 x 6.75, giving 298.2 cubic inch displacement. The long stroke L-Head unit developed 70 plus horsepower and was not only more powerful, but also ran smoother than its predecessor. The chassis was a wholly new design which came standard with Rudge Whitworth wire wheels and a new four speed gearbox. The L-Head Raceabouts had a much more civilized feel and appearance with the enclosed bodywork, windshields, and electric starters and lights. Although they were not as raw as the earlier Mercers, the L-Head Raceabouts were faster, with a factory guaranteed speed of 75mph, and still very sporting. The beautiful relatively enclosed bodywork was evocative of the earlier Raceabouts, yet wholly new and was among the prettiest cars built between 1915-1922.
Mr. Brown acquired this Raceabout over 25 years ago from Mr. George Schultz, a collector in New Hampshire who, according to Mr. Brown's notations, purchased the Mercer when it was new. There is a photo taken in the 1960s of the Raceabout fully assembled, on blocks, in Mr. Schultz's New Hampshire barn. The car has since been partially disassembled with the radiator, fenders, hood, splash aprons, tire carrier, turtle deck (trunk) and tank removed, stripped and primed for painting. While the Raceabout certainly could be fully restored, much of the car's originality could be preserved with a sympathetic restoration. This genuine Raceabout is being sold strictly as viewed and buyers should satisfy themselves with regard to its completeness. Once carefully reassembled, the Racabout will be welcome on a number of different long distance touring type events or Veteran Sports Car Club sponsored activities.


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