Now one of the most expensive cars in the collectors’ catalogue, the Mercer Raceabout was one of the first sports cars which could be bought off the showroom floor, complete with a rakish body and enough power to win the nearest motor sport meeting.
The Raceabout first appeared in 1912. Two years later, it established its reputation by coming third behind two genuine racing cars at the 1912 Indianapolis 500. Its average speed was 121 km/h (76 mph).
Even off the showroom floor, a Mercer could reach 120 km/h (75 mph), but many were specially tuned to reach 144 km/h (90 mph). The 1913 model had four cylinders, cast in two separate blocks.
With a capacity of 5 litres, the engine developed 55 horsepower at 1 650 rpm.
Considerable reserves of strength and power were in the design – hence its popularity with engine tuners.
The body was so simple that the all-up vehicle weight was only 1120 kg (22 cwt).
The four speed gearbox version, which appeared in 1913 9 was geared to travel at 61 km/h (38 mph) per 1000 rpm of engine speed in top gear.
About 800 Mercer Raceabouts were built in all.