Old Iron Works

1920 Mercer Limo

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Hello guys,

I am new to the Forum. From the name we are a restoration shop in Montgomery,Tx. What I am looking for is some information that might help with a piece of a puzzle. I have a 1920 Mercer Limo in my shop right now that is under going a complete frame off restoration. We have completely redone all of the interior wood structuring and are getting ready to move the body to Paint so that we can begin the next phase. What I am looking for help with is there is a heater that is in the floor in front of the back seat which would remind you of a new age cooler. The reason we say this is a heater is it because it sits in a tray and has a nice metal grate that sits over top of it. The tubing is somewhat rotted out. Now the part we are having troubles with is where does this heater hook into? The fitting that go into the heater its self are not water tight or even leak proof. Hoping someone has seen this before and could shed a little light on the subject.

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Perhaps it is an exhaust heater. There would be a valve on the exhaust pipe that sends the hot exhaust to the heater then returns from the heater to go out the muffler. Connections are usually flex pipe.

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Heater may or may not be OEM from the factory. The 1920 catalog description of equipment for the Limousine does not mention a heater: "The equipment is very complete, consisting of cord rail, wool carpet to match upholstery, walnut toilet cases, dictograph, foot rests, two corner lights, dome light, reflecting mirror over driver's seat, silk curtains to match trimming, cowl ventilator, Yale locking system, nickel plated metal fittings." Heater does not show in Rand McNally Series 5 parts catalog, although there is no mention of anything related to the Limousine in that book.

Practically speaking there are only three sources of heat they might have used: electric, radiator fluid or exhaust heat. Electric unlikely with a 6V system. If the tubes are small (copper?), would make me wonder if was for radiator fluid.

Hope your owner realizes that they have the only known surviving Mercer Limo which has been claimed to have belonged to the Roebling family. I remember it from Amelia Island in Y2000. If the entire interior is being redone, they should preserve at least a sample of the materials that are removed for the historical record no matter how deteriorated.

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My father used to tell me about how that car was on the street in the Chambersburg section of Trenton NJ. Barry Rednor owned it for years. When I saw it the fenders had obviously been replaced with home made flat steel, clearly not original. It is a very interesting car, and worthy of a fine restoration.

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For the record this car was not in the Roebling Family. I would love to see some photos posted of the restoration, particularly the heater in question. I agree with ak, I always thought the fenders didn't go with the car as Mercer would still have used the fenders from the Series 5. post-44181-143142142517_thumb.jpg

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Hope your owner realizes that they have the only known surviving Mercer Limo which has been claimed to have belonged to the Roebling family. I remember it from Amelia Island in Y2000. If the entire interior is being redone, they should preserve at least a sample of the materials that are removed for the historical record no matter how deteriorated.

The car is receiving a complete frame off restoration. We keep all of the old material that is removed. We let the owners do what they please with it. The interior was actually in decent shape considering. There were some areas that were a little tender to the touch.

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Thanks for reaching out and posting the photo. You've already gotten a lot of wise comments from some highly informed Mercer guys. My only contribution to the heater question, if it is in fact a 'Perfection,' is that the Series 5 cars had a hefty cast aluminum sleeve around the exhaust right after the manifold that routed hot air to the carb via a ~2" flex pipe. I can envision that flex pipe routed rearward to a heater...

It is very exciting to hear the limo is being restored. Mercer folks as you see have been aware of it's existence for a long time but it has clearly languished. The Fenders should be easy to correct as there are plenty of Series 5's around to copy. Happy to volunteer mine for measurements etc.

PS: You have already heard on good authority that the Roebling family history is likely untrue, but just to pile on, I have heard the same refutation from the 'other' surviving Mercer co descendant, and since they concur I suspect that is the truth! :-)

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It was my understanding that this limo was owned by the Kuser family, who gifted it to their chauffeur who himself lived in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, NJ, from whom Barry Rednor obtained it.

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Just a quick little up date. I know we have not posted pics in a while. Been extremly busy with the Mercer, other cars that are in the shop and of course Concours show season. Project is coming along good. Should be done in about in the next couple of months. Hope y'all enjoy the pics.

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You are doing a great job on the Limo, a very thorough show quality restoration. I can't wait to see it in person.

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Just wanted to give a little update on the progress of the car. Here are a few pictures of the car almost complete and the upholstery close to complete. We are really excited to see this car coming together more and more everyday.

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Fantastic, thanks for sharing! I love that the limo still has the exhaust cutout! Seems out of character for the genteel nature of the car but I guess the chauffeur might want to get loud when driving empty?!?

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So I guess we will call this Update Wednesday. I know there are a lot of people following the progress of the car. We are in the final stages now of completion. We had a minor set back with the generator but other then that the car is about 98% complete. Here are some pictures for everyone to look at. Let us know what y'all think of the car.

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Hi Folks,  here's a photo from "The Hartford Courant" Feb. 13, 1921 that shows a 1921 Mercer Special 4 Passenger Sports Sedan with the earlier flat fenders. We may presume that if the customer preferred flat fenders then it was optional?

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Hi Folks,  here's a photo from "The Hartford Courant" Feb. 13, 1921 that shows a 1921 Mercer Special 4 Passenger Sports Sedan with the earlier flat fenders. We may presume that if the customer preferred flat fenders then it was optional?

I think that we may presume that when it comes to low production, first and second decade cars, it is probably wise not to be too dogmatic about what is and isn't 'factory original.'   My guess would be that while the photo is 1921, the car itself is very early production L-head, possibly 1915, and Mercer decided to use up some early T-head fenders?  

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Hi Folks, but this photo of a 1921 Mercer Special 4 Passenger Sports Sedan with the earlier flat fenders also has the newer modern rounded bullet back head lights. Just click on the image in the original post to increase the size for a better view.

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Sorry it has been a while since I have updated this thread.  We just got the generator back from being completely rebuilt since it fell apart due to age and brittle metal.  We have now run into one more problem.  I have a valve guide that cracked and bent valve.  I need to know where I can get my hands on these items.  Please let me know.  This is the final piece of the puzzle and then the car will be ready to go to Pebble.  Thank you,

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Probably what you need is accurate dimensions. I may be able to locate one of the worn originals that were replaced in the engine of my 1918 when one of the Lancia people, Clive Beattie rebuilt it for me in the early

1970s. They are fairly simple to make from sg cast iron stock or whatever you choose. First operation is to bore the hole, and then the rest is machined on a mandrel. Of course the lubrication of the stems in the

very long guides was originally by faith and hope. Clive put felt washers on the valve stems, held against the bottom of each guide by a light spring. Then he provided for a small amount of oil to spray onto those

washers.

That photo of that other closed car shows that the flat profile fenders were a style item, which were

probably optional. Other high class cars still used that type in the early 1920s. It would be a shame if those originals were junked.

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There is a gentleman in North Dakota who has recently made L-head valves to order, he may have also made valve guides.  Send me a PM if you wish contact info.

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Been very busy around the shop.  Happy to say that we fixed the valve guide and the customer picked the car up last Thursday and was headed to Pebble Beach for this weeks Concours.  In a rush I never really got any pictures with the car by it's self.  Sure there will be tons of pictures taken this weekend of the Mercer at Pebble.

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