1915 MERCER SERIES 22-70 SPORT TOURING
Chassis No. 2366
Engine No. 2199
Maroon with black running gear and black leather interior
Engine: four cylinder L-head, dry sump lubrication, 298.2ci, 70hp at 2,800rpm; Gearbox: four speeds forward plus reverse; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear with Hartford shock absorbers; Brakes: two wheel drums and an expanding shoe on the drive shaft. Left hand drive.
Erik H. Delling, a German trained engineer, initally 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 chassis fitted with Delling's own L-head monobloc engine that had a far simpler design than its T-head predecessor. According to Tony Muldoon in his article in Automobile Quarterly, volume 34, no.3, Delling felt that: fewness of parts is absolutely necessary in 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 was 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 line using a completely different chassis 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 more smoothly 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 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-Heads were faster, with a factory guaranteed speed of 75mph. The beautiful bodywork was evocative of the earlier T-Heads, yet completely new and was among the prettiest of cars built between 1915-1922.
The beautifully restored Sport Touring on offer here has a well known and documented history. It was owned for many years by Mr. Placido Ervesun who participated with the Mercer in the 1952 Glidden Tour. The car was subsequently sold to Mercer enthusiast Bill Harrah and it remained part of the famed Harrah Collection for a number of years before being sold in the 1970's to Mr. Quentin Craft, who in turn sold it to Harold Crosby. The vendor purchased the Mercer in 1976 from Mr. Jack Passey and embarked upon a complete nut and bolt, no expense spared restoration with bills that total over $114,000!
The spectacular restoration has received numerous trophies including a first at Silverado, Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Le Circle, Santa Barbara, and Santa Rosa, as well as multiple Best of Show awards. The Mercer has also been awarded the AACA Cup, a National award for best restored pre-1921 car, and an AACA Grand National First Prize. However, most important is the fact that this Mercer is one of the few genuine 1915 examples, which makes it eligible for all Horseless Carriage Club sponsored tours.