For 1913, the Mercer Model 35 was available as a 2-person Racebout (called the 35J) and a Runabout (the 35K). Both rested on a wheelbase that measured 108-inches. A four-person touring bodystyle was available on the Model 35, as was a five-person version. Both of these bodystyles rested on a wheelbase that measured 118-inches. The four-door touring was called the 35G and the five-person version was dubbed the 35H. Both the 35G and 35H sold for $2900; the 35J sold for $2600 and the 35K listed for $2700.
The Mercer Raceabout was created by Finley R. Porter (designer and engineer) and the Roebling and Kuser families of Brooklyn Bridge construction fame. Porter's self-taught engineering abilities were combined with Washington A. Roebling's concept of a low-slung speedster. The minimalist vehicle was agile, had an impressive power-to-weight ratio, and proved extremely capable in competition. Many were driven off the showroom floor and to the race track where they often emerged victorious.
Even though they were minimalist, they carried a base price of $2,250 making them unreachable by most of the public. The T-Head Raceabout was never produced in mass quantities nor where they hailed as a practical car. They offered no protection against the weather, no creature comforts, and the ride was harsh. These were meant to race and to win.
This Mercer Model 35J left the Trenton factory as a civilized Raceabout wearing heavier coachwork. It is one of the desirable late 1913 Mercers (along with the 1914 models) fitted with an updated 4-speed transmission with the improved multiple-disc clutch.
This Mercer was once part of the legendary Harrah Automobile Collection. It was sold by Harrah in the mid-1970s to an individual, who commissioned a restoration to remove the heavy touring car bodywork and rebuilt the car to correct Raceabout specifications.
Upon completion, the car was shown at the 1976 HCCA National Tour where it was given best-of-show honors as well as wining a special award for the most desirable car present. The car was inherited by the owner's son in 1984. Since then, it has been used in a number of prestigious tours including the Mozart Tour, the Modoc Tour, Baja 500s and many others.
Since its restoration in the 1970s, this car has been driven over 30,000 miles without any trouble. It has gone through three sets of tires and still capable of sustaining speeds well in excess of 75 mph. In recent years, the engine and transmission have been completely rebuilt, with the Brown & Lipe gearbox receiving new 2nd and 3rd gears.
The car is finished in correct yellow and black livery. In 2008, this Model 33 Coupe with Dickey Seat was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. Bidding failed to reach the vehicle's reserve and the lot was left unsold.