Tag Archives: Mercer Raceabout
Featured here are two of the well-known and sleek L-Head Mercer models that were produced between the years of 1915 and 1922. The top photo shows one the well-known Raceabouts and the bottom photo is of a Sporting, a four passenger touring car with a steeply raked windshield and much more style then was normally offered at the time in other cars. The photos are courtesy of reader John Kelm and show relatives of his with two of the cars that are dated on the image as being 1918 models.
This up-to-date and third-generation Mercer replaced the legendary T-Head model. You can learn about the first model year in an earlier post, which contains an excellent factory photo of a 1915 Raceabout along with period press coverage in The Automobile. Further contemporary articles covering changes and details of the Mercer can be found below left in the February 1917 Motor, and below right from the same title in the May 1919 issue carrying a rundown of that year’s offering.
There were no dramatic changes made during the eight-year production run of the L-Head; instead the famed Trenton, New Jersey manufacturer made a series of mechanical and electrical updates over the years. One of the biggest changes was the replacement in 1919 of the unique USL flywheel starter-generator, seen in the center above, with a more modern two-unit Westinghouse system. The USL illustration slows left-to-right: the housing and field coils, the flywheel-armature and the brush holder assembly.
The top photo was taken in the Cleveland, Ohio area in 1921 and shows the Raceabout model, capable of a top speed of seventy-five m.p.h., with George Reichert and George Himmelstein. The Sporting shown below appears to be in the same neighborhood at about the same time. Both cars are starting to show their age with dull finishes, a few dents and dings and the car below is looking a bit cross-eyed. To learn more, see a detailed article and photo shoot by Michael Furman, of a 1920 Sporting from the JWR Auto Museum here on The Old Motor.
Reader James Lisk has shared with us a pair of photos showing a National racing car. In his research he appears to have identified the racing driver as Joe Matson, seen posing in the mechanic’s seat above. You can view a photo of Matson here and witness the strong resemblance, and the same type of uniform being worn in both photos. The National was built in Indianapolis, Indiana and the manufacturer fielded a team of racing cars for a number of years. Matson a capable driver was a member of that team. The shining hour for the company’s racing involvement was winning the 1912 Indianapolis 500 with Joe Dawson behind the wheel.
Below is what appears to be the same car, but this time with the number fourteen on the radiator stone guard, instead of the mismatched number two it is seen wearing above. The hill and fence in the background behind the track are distinctive enough that hopefully both will help in identifying the setting. E.A. Waterman of Brooklyn, New York, a known period racing photographer took both photos. There is a possibility, based on his location that this may have been at one of the New York City area racetracks. Please send us a comment if you can add more information. Of note in the top photo is a Mercer Raceabout behind and just to the left of the National.
Recently we featured a 1915 Mercer L-Head Raceabout and today we have a photo of one the last of the famous T-Head Mercer Raceabouts that were produced in 1914. George F. Schulz, who lived in Dedham, MA at the time owned the car. His grandson, Brendan Harrington, shared both photos with us, and tells us that his grandfather liked fast cars and women and spent his life in the pursuit of both. Some twenty years later, Schulz was still at it and he, along with other like-minded friends, founded the SCCA.
At the time of this photo(1924), the car was ten years old and had been the subject of a number of updates and changes common on Raceabouts. The fenders had been taken off and it had been fitted with a windshield and a canvas covered cowl along an extra lamp for fast night driving. They are very pleasurable cars to drive, but at 40 miles per hour and above, the hurricane like wind one is subjected to without a windshield soon becomes very tiring. Many others were equipped with similar wind protection for just that reason.