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Searching for a Mercer


ersatzS2
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I've wanted one ever since reading Ralph Stein's description in "The Great Cars" when I was twelve. I think the T-heads are forever out of reach, but an L-head is achievable. Has to be a Raceabout vs. a sporting. Prefer a concours finished car but would consider any options. I've spoken with Fred Hoch here in NJ and have a few leads but thought I'd broadcast (if that's the right word on a web forum with only a dozen posts the last 12 mos!) my interest more broadly! Thanks in advance for any information, rumors, leads, innuendos, suggestions...

Brandon

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to those of have contacted me directly with ideas and suggestions! I should've asked previously, but thanks also for those who've directed me to different literature to help with my education and learning curve. The two Automobile Quarterly articles and the 'Car Classics' article from '77 were fantastic. It is surprising that no one has written a definitive 'registry' type book on the Marque; it certainly has a significant enough presence in history, although possibly simply too small of an ownership base. There have been exhaustively researched books on topics as narrow as Gordon Bennet's Chevrons, or single models like the Alfa GTA.

Anyhow, this is by way of asking for any other suggestions on literature, articles, or other information particularly on the L-head cars.

Thanks again,

Brandon

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  • 11 months later...

Coming up on my one year anniversary since starting my search in earnest. Thanks to everyone I've met and the many who have helped in the search. There are fewer cars out there than I imagined when I started. The only Raceabout that changed hands in 2011 (albeit we have six weeks left) was the series six belonging to the late John Boyle. A wonderful car, and fascinating piece of history, but after intense internal debate, I decided to pass on it in deference to my original goal of finding an L-Head. Congratulations to the new owner where ever you are, it's a fantastic machine!

I continue to search avidly, and would welcome any leads!

Brandon

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  • 3 months later...

Dear Brandon,

Best of luck finding a Mercer. Short of finding a bank bag full of $10,000 bills, perhaps you should underline Mercer in your search and not Raceabout. Despite the rare combination of grace and power in the raceabouts, I think there are only a dozen or so left around.

I was looking on the site called: www.carandclassic.co.uk today and saw a fairly presentable 1922 Mercer Series 5, 5-Pass. touring for sale in the Netherlands. No price listed, and anything in Europe will cost much more than anything here, but, still, maybe it could be acquired for less than what you have looked at so far.

Jeff

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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Thanks for the encouraging words! :rolleyes:

After two years of inquiries and a year and a half of serious study, I now know where they are. Or at least 80% of them. The sack of bills is not the problem, the problem is they are mostly in the hands of people who love them, which is to say, the right people. They are mostly not for sale and I sure respect that. That said, I have enough 'hot' or at least 'warm' leads now to feel like 2012 is the year. Thanks very much to everyone for all the help.

PS: I have seen that car in Europe, it's been available for as long as I've been looking. Also there was a restored series six touring at Hershey this year ($110K) But I'm only interested in a Raceabout. And only in a Raceabout that was a Raceabout 90 years ago! :)

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Jeff, I believe you've made the asumption that many of us make, that the person who posts is a dreamer, and not a man of means.

ErsatzS2 may very well have money to spare.

The issue with the search for many SPECIFIC cars these days is not having money, but rather, finding someone who'll sell, at some dollar figure approaching a reasonable price.

And, with dealers and auctions in their very mature state these days, it's hard to get to an owner before high dollar signs blossom....

Ah the search.....what fun

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  • 2 months later...

So this was the Vannozzi car, in the same family since 1939?! Prior to that owned by Vince Galloni. Basically it has lived within ten miles of the Mercer factory it's entire life (and will continue to do so!) Visited the car today, and took for a test drive. Wow. This is going to be great. Needs a lot of little details but in general it is complete, accurate, and incredibly preserved for a 90 year old car. What an experience to blast down the road and hit the cutout in third gear!!!

http://www.youtube.com/my_videos_edit?ns=1&video_id=b0rsR6n4nv0

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Edited by ersatzS2 (see edit history)
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Brandon,

Congratulations! A fantastic car. Don't forget to bring it to the Roebling Museum Annual Car Show July 28th. A great place for Mercers to meet. I'm bringing mine too. FYI - Cars built before 1930 get in for free. Includes museum admission. (Donations accepted)

Karl

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There is nothing like acquiring your dream car. I have managed it 6 times. While three of the six are now gone, they have been replaced with other interesting cars. It's the chase and the score that seem to offer the most enjoyment. Seeing others manage to do the same thing is just as satisfying, and much easier on the wallet! Enjoy your car, and remember don't smile, or you will be picking bugs out of your teeth! Congratulations! Ed

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  • 1 year later...

Six months of 'refresh' work and the Raceabout has many new mechanical systems: correct B&B Penberthy carb, rebuilt cooling system including radiator, rebuilt magneto, correct vacuum fuel pump, new wiring harness and all instruments refreshed. Lots of finish detail like interior floors and running boards, chassis painted to match body. Four new wheels. All chrome stripped and replated with nickel. Love the way it came out and it drives just great. Restoration of period 'mercer' shield mirror, and addition of period correct gray&davis spotlight for the passenger.

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Edited by ersatzS2 (see edit history)
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