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1911 Mercer prototype? Kissel and Stutz interest


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Have recently read an article titled, "Permanent Wind Shield", in The Automobile, October 13, 1910, pages 626-627.  A Google book at URL:  

https://books.google.com/books?id=p8sqAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA948&dq=kissel&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj767HY6efmAhXMGs0KHeqPApQQ6AEwBHoECAEQAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

The article was written by Mr. George J. Mercer, of Mercer automobiles.  The gist of his article deals with a permanently mounted windshield, on a cowl that deflects the wind, on a torpedo style body.  According to Mr. Mercer, the body is designed for and shown mounted on a 116-inch wheelbase Mercer chassis.  Several photos copied from the article are attached to this topic.  I have searched my photo files and can not find any Mercer automobile that looks like what is seen in the accompanying photos.  Does anyone have photos or know anything about a 1911 Mercer that looks like this?  At this time I am assuming that Mr. Mercer's 1911 torpedo with a permanent windshield may have been only a prototype that never actually made it into production.

 

An interesting feature of this '11 (prototype ?) Mercer is the outboard seat, that is similar to what is seen on a '21 Stutz Bearcat and a '23 Kissel Gold Bug.  In the case of the Kissel's outboard seat, it is sometimes jokingly referred to as a suicide seat.  In his article Mr. Mercer coined a unique name for the outboard seat, one time in the text he called it a "mechanician" seat, and in the Figure 1 titling it is called "...a place for the mechanic."

 

While this is perhaps not terribly interesting news to most "autoists" (a term in 1910), perhaps members of the Stutz and Kissel persuasion may appreciate the documented term "mechanician seat" in place of the suicide seat.  The term does seem to have a more civilized appeal, like nice a drawing room, a fine cigar, and a well aged brandy.

 

Attached are photos of a Stutz and Kissel with mechanician seats.  The Kissel may be Ron's '23?

 

 

11 Mercer experimental body 01-03.JPG

11 Mercer experimental body 03-03.JPG

21 Stutz Bearcat Series K 01.png

23 Kissel 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster 01-11.jpg

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have never seen that windshield on any Mercer and believe the drawing is only a prototype.

 

first Mercer should show as a 1909 prototype with a scuttle type shape by the windshield. Fred Hoch has the first build. Car is red and saw it at the AACA in Cherry Hill NJ around 2007.

 

also, your prototype may have never been built, because the Roeblings went down on the Titanic in 12'.

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I never knew there was a "Mr. Mercer" at MERCER, always thought the car was named after the County in New Jersey were it was built. Yellow & black were the colors of Princeton University, made for a great college graduation gift. Bob 

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Interesting concept but I doubt " Mr. Mercer " had any connection with Mercer automobiles. A number of people were involved with Mercer, Messrs.  Roebling, Kuser, Walter and Planchet all playing a role in what became the Mercer Automobile.

 There is a great book on Mercer Automobiles however I haven't been able to justify the substantial cost yet.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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24 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

Greg, What is the title of the MERCER BOOK, not that I can afford a copy either. Bob 

 

Hi Bob , it's called Mercer Magic, by Clifford Zink.  Seems to be somewhere in the $250.00 - $300.00 zone. Probably a pretty small print run, none on ebay, only a couple on Abe or Amazon.  I guess if you can afford a Mercer what's a few hundred on a book.

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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I did a WWW search on George J. Mercer.  According to an article on Coachbuilt.com, Mr. Mercer was a talented body engineer in the Model Body Corporation in Detroit.  Apparently design engineer Mercer was well known at the time the 1910 article was written, but these 110 years later, his surname is more well known as an automobile.

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34 minutes ago, oldcarfudd said:

Princeton University's colors are ORANGE and black - hence the Princeton tiger.  The bright yellow you see on Mercer Raceabouts is stunning, but nothing at all like Princeton orange.

 

Class of '57

 

Another myth is put to rest, the T Head MERCER I want is gray, the other two I wouldn't mind being caretaker for are dark blue and maroon. Bob 

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Just now, 1937hd45 said:

 

Another myth is put to rest, the T Head MERCER I want is gray, the other two I wouldn't mind being caretaker for are dark blue and maroon. Bob 

Well if a yellow mercer falls in your lap and you can’t stand to look at it,  I will trade you Something gray, blue, or maroon for it. 

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'37hd45 -- that really is a slick looking speedster.  You are correct about the money.  Back in 1972 my wife and I had finally managed to save $7,500 in the bank.  And by chance my AACA old friends decided to sell their Kissel Gold Bug and a Rickenbacker roadster.  Both were beautifully restored and I rode to a meet one time in the rumble seat of the Kissel.  By chance their asking price was $7,500 for both cars.  That would have made our bank account a flat $0.00 and the deal was a non-starter.  It is a missed opportunity that I have never gotten over.

 

Well, my wife just popped through here to see what I am working on, what trouble I might be getting into.  She glanced at the first part of this text and laughed -- "Yeah, that's a sick looking car.  Ha ha ha."  No, no, no -- "slick" and "sick" are not the same word.  Well -- whatever.

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3 hours ago, 8E45E said:

I can see it being useful today.  The rider in one can hold up a big, red cardboard arrow every time the driver wants to make a left turn.

 

Craig

You could do right turns as well.  It looks comfortable to sit in these seats!   You can see the 1911 Cole with two side accessory seats and then a picture with all seats in use.  

3AC2E789-8673-40C5-8A2C-C7794C0B9469.jpeg

B5B76A66-297F-4359-9DF5-34E18881B03A.jpeg

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On 2/5/2020 at 3:44 AM, mercer09 said:

I couldnt afford a Mercer in the 70s and certainly cant afford one today.

 

some things in life are unobtanium........................

 

Even up to the 1990's the " L ' head cars were sort of affordable . Not anymore. It seems like any Mercer is now investment grade and priced accordingly.

 

Greg in Canada

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Greg,

two tourings sold at Hershey about 3 yrs ago for around 70k each. not bad. think Shappy bought them and priced them at around 110k each.

 

dollar for dollar today- I would just buy a stutz. same thrill, good looks and 300k will get you in for a bearcat............

 

a pieced bearcat sold for 200k this past year and a good deal if you arent worried about perfection.

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Unfortunately that  good deal Stutz would be an easy $100 K beyond my sell everything and own one thing price. But I agree , not a truly over the Moon price.  70 K sounds very attractive on the touring's. Are they a step down from what are usually referred to as  " Sporting's " ?

 Greg

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Hey LCK81403,

    The yellow Kissel Gold Bug in your post is my 1923 Model 6-45 Speedster. It had those “side seats” as you know. These were drawers that slid in and out, not permanent running board seats like some others. 

    Kissel has those seats on Speedsters only from 1919 to mid-1923. Both sides. These were sold officiAlly as “outrigger seats”. Yes these were later called, side seats, suicide seats and mother-in-law seats. I’ve not heard them as being called mechanician seats or anything else. I know that Paige Daytona speedsters and Pilot Speedsters  had drawer seats on one side for a few years then to.

     I personally call my side seats “people magnets” because they draw do very much attention at car shows. Inevitably I get asked again and again “what are those seats for” and I take pleasure in answering “for sitting on” every time.

     Regardless my grandchildren and wife love those seats when the car is stationary. They are very strong and actually comfortable. I will never have anyone in them when I drive.

    Ron Hausmann P.E .

1C81A322-46A3-401E-9DAE-B8619A3DC0DB.jpeg

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77AFC92A-961A-4A2D-9028-4CF74B437D8B.jpeg

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STAVER,

THE TOURINGS ARE THE LONGER MODEL AND YES, GENERALLY LESS DESIREABLE THEN THE SPORTING.

 

sorry about the caps............ all basically have the same engine and trans.

 

 I was offered a touring for 50k about 6 years ago, but all of the wood was shot and wasnt worth it to me. tons of work!

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Ron H, If you ever want a volunteer to ride in one of your outrigger seats? And I happen to be nearby? I'd be happy to! I have some relevant experience, having driven and ridden open wheel racing cars at speeds in excess of 70 mph for many hundreds of miles. Some with seats not much more substantial than the seat in a drawer.

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At the 2018 pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance a 1921 Page Model 6-66 shows the mechanician / suicide seat in use, as the car drives off the stage.  The lady in the mechanician seat would probably lose her hat over 10 miles an hours.  See scroll bar time 17:30 of this URL:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HvpMsS26Q4

 

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