Mercer built the long-stroke L-head Raceabout from 1915 until 1923, and like earlier Mercers, it quickly racked up wins and established a reputation as a potent competition car. Its lightweight, aluminum body and staggered seats were particularly notable, and it was the top choice among sporting automobiles for the gentlemen drivers of the day. Today, discerning collectors appreciate the Raceabout for the thrilling driving experience provided by its 75-horsepower, 289 cubic inch inline-four as well as for its status as one of the earliest premier high-performance automobiles. Only a few dozen L-head Raceabouts were made, which makes them even more desirable and collectible.
This 1920 Series 5 Raceabout was bought in 1945 by John Roberts, a Pennsylvania collector, who used it in various classic car events like the Glidden Tour. Roberts had an extensive collection of antique automobiles, but the Mercer was always his favorite. It then remained in the same family until just this year, and has always been maintained, lightly driven and occasionally shown. Other than a repaint in the 1960s and newer upholstery and floorboards, it is remarkably original. Finished in yellow, it is magnificently preserved with most everything being original and correct, including the original tools kept in the tool box that is incorporated into the frame rail. Having aged gracefully, it has a charming level of patina and was clearly loved and cared for under its long-time single family stewardship.
There are precious few authentic Mercer Raceabouts around, and since they become a star in most any collection, they seldom come up for sale. Any well-rounded automobile collection would do well to have a Mercer in it, and this delightfully original L-head Raceabout is an impressive and exceedingly rare piece of history from this most highly respected American marque.
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