1922 Mercer Series 5 Runabout

The Mercer Raceabout stands as unequivocal evidence of the United States’ pioneering role in shaping the sports car concept. Originating in 1911, this vehicle epitomized speed and race-winning prowess with its thunderous T-head four-cylinder engine, standard exhaust cutout, and minimalist design catering to a lone driver and a daring passenger. Spearheaded by the Roebling brothers and engineer Finley Robertson Porter, the Raceabout roared onto the scene, boasting over 800 units produced between 1911 and 1915, drawing illustrious racers like Barney Oldfield and Ralph de Palma.

Transitioning from T-head to L-head engines in 1914 under the direction of Eric H. Deiling, Mercer’s legacy endured through management changes, briefly falling under New York syndicate control before reverting to its founding families by 1921. Throughout, Mercer’s Trenton, New Jersey factory churned out high-quality, swift automobiles, totaling potentially fewer than 5,000 units by 1924.

The Deiling-designed Mercers of 1915 onwards featured a robust side-valve four-cylinder engine, offering enhanced ride comfort and handling with innovations like Houdaille lever action friction shock absorbers. Evolving body designs provided increased protection and comfort, featuring enclosed fenders, improved windshield design, and better leg protection for occupants.

In essence, the Model 22-70 Mercer Raceabout epitomized refinement, comfort, and usability, embodying lessons learned from half a decade of production, steering the trajectory of American sports car engineering.

Source: Bonhams