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A Dream Discovery – An Untouched 1912 Mercer Raceabout

This 1912 Mercer Raceabout, serial number 623, was found during the summer of 1941. The location was in Brightwaters, New York, about six miles due east of Lindenhurst on the south shore of Long Island.

Alec Ulmann, an early collector who was very active in the Veteran Motor Car Club of America in the pre and post World War II days, added this gem to his collection. The club was founded in 1938 during the dawn of antique automobile collecting, and the early activities were centered in Boston, MA. and later the New York City area.

  • The lead photo shows Charlie Stich hooking a tow bar onto the 1912 Mercer after changing the tires and rims and preparing the car either for the trip back to his garage or Alex Ulmann’s residence. 

Mercer4

  • Charlie hard at work changing the rear tires on the machine after pulling it out into the daylight.

At the time, all of the serious collectors were on the lookout for either a Mercer Raceabout, Stutz Bearcat, chain-drive Simplex, Lozier, and other high-quality early cars. A number of great cars were uncovered during this period and saved before the WWII scrap drives.

This set of images was taken by Smith Hempstone Oliver, another early collector who had his own Stutz Bearcat as early as 1933. He was a racing and antique car enthusiast and after the war became the first Transportation Curator at the Smithsonian Institution and worked in that position from 1946-1956. He also had an interest in photography and took photos at early club activities.

Mercer Raceabout 2

  • This shot shows Charlie removing the rear axles from the full floating hubs before the journey. 

Charlie Stich ran a highly regarded repair garage in NYC at the time, and was also an antique Mercedes enthusiast. He went out to Long Island to collect the Mercer for Ulmann, and Smith Hempstone Oliver went along to record the occasion on film.

Ulmann had the Mercer restored, and it was actively used in post-war old car activities. He later went on to establish the sportscar races at Sebring, Florida. The Mercer was eventually sold to current HCCA Club President Karl Darby’s father and has since been owned by three other collectors including the present owner Stan Lucas.

This car and over a dozen other Mercers were on display at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2012. Learn more about the legendary Mercer Raceabout here.

Mercer Raceabout 1

  • The Mercer turned around in the driveway and ready to leave to be reawakened and treasured.

The photos are courtesy of The Revs Institute Research Library, one of the foremost facilities in the world to contact, and visit if you need to conduct vintage car research. If you are heading to Florida this fall, winter or spring, be sure to make reservations to visit the museum and view the Collier Collection.

  • The Mercer on the 2012 Pebble Beach tour with Stan Lucas behind the wheel.

1912 Mercer Raceabout

14 responses to “A Dream Discovery – An Untouched 1912 Mercer Raceabout

  1. I remember seeing a Mercer Raceabout about 10 years ago at a swap meet at Belmont racetrack on Long Island.I was told it came out of a barn on eastern Long Island. I’m wondering if the same car ?

  2. Thanks to my Mercer/Porsche friend Tim Kuser, I got to know “Hemp” Oliver years ago. He was kind enough to send me pre-war photographs of Mercedes-Benzes at various Eastern shows, etc. In his later years he lived in Tarpon Springs, Florida, with his wife, and I visited him there. He had a very detailed memory and was fortunate enough to be Briggs Cunningham’s “team photographer” at Le Mans. I certainly hope that his amazing photo files have survived.

  3. I recall being invited to a friends garage in Florida – he opened the door and there were two Mercers (a Brass car and a Nickle car) and a Lozier – pretty impressive.

  4. I like the trunk (or boot) on this machine. Looks sturdy and roomy. The cantilevered rear spring perch, were they vulnerable to breaking or big enough to be bulletproof?

  5. I wonder how much more valued this Stutz would be today had it been sequestered in unrestored condition back in ’41. Personally, I appreciate a 99 point resto, but investors pay up for original barn dust & rust.

  6. One sold back in the 60s (I believe) at an auction at The Lars Anderson museum for, at the time, the highest price ever paid for an automobile…

  7. The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, PA, has a 1913 Racebout with the very rare, quickly demountable, Michelin racing wheels. Check the museum web site for a complete description of the car. The Mercer was first produced in Trenton, NJ, and financed by the Roebling family. John A. Roebling founded the wire rope industry and his company produced the cables for the Brooklyn Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Covington Cincinnati Bridge.

  8. I am a Buick fan and one of the rarest cars must be the 1916 D 54 Buick roadster as far as I know there are only 3 surviving examples . does anyone know of any other survivors there were so very few survivors

  9. Since this thread began, a very important milestone book was published documenting the Mercer story. This is the first reference-grade Mercer history and deserves a place on every collector’s shelf!

    httpcolon//roeblingmuseumdotorg/product/mercer-magic-book-2/

  10. I knew Charlie Stich & visited his shop at 337–343 East 64th Street, NY. I was 12 years old then. After Charlie closed his shop in 1970 & moved to the Catskiil, Ny area I visited him & had a number of rides in his 1909 Mercedes while I visited him. I have a number of photos of his car. His nickname was the Frog, I always called Charlie. I paid my respects in 1982 upon his passing.

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