1917 Mercer 22-73 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Runabout
The Mercer is one of those legendary automobiles, known even to casual automobile enthusiasts. Although the company built a variety of body styles, it was best known for its open cars, such as this runabout.

The company cemented its reputation for building fast cars from its very beginnings in 1910. Mercers performed superbly in both professional and amateur races. Though they were not big cars, they were fast.

The Mercer Automobile Company was formed in 1909 by Washington A. Roebling II, whose family built the Brooklyn Bridge. In April 1912, at the age of 31, Roebling perished in the sinking of the Titanic. The company was sold in 1918. The company was able to hang on until 1926, when financial difficulty meant it was to close its doors forever.
The Mercer Company was named after Mercer County, NJ, the location of their Trenton plant. Funding for the company was from the Roebling and Krus engineering company, which is best known for building the Brooklyn Bridge.

Through the persistence of Washington Roebling, the son of one of the founders of the Mercer Company, a roadster was introduced. The Raceabout is credited as being America's first sports car. Under the hood was a very large four-cylinder engine that was capable of producing nearly 35 horsepower. There were two spare tires and a twenty-five gallon fuel tank. The 300 cubic-inch engine could propel the 2800 pound vehicle to a top speed of nearly 80 mph. A very impressive accomplishment at the time, especially considering that there were few roads that were suitable of sustaining these types of speeds.

The Raceabout was raced heavily in 1911 where it won five of the six races it was entered. It achieved world record status and lots of publicity for the evolving company.

Throughout the years, the company's popularity, success, and fortune were up and down. Washington Roebling II was aboard the Titanic in 1912 when it sank. The production of the Raceabout continued. In 1914, Mercer's chief engineer and designer, Porter, left the company to begin automobile production on his own. Unfortunately, he was unable to achieve the success ascertained at the Mercer Company.

For 1916, Mercer offered the Model 22-72 in six bodystyles riding on two wheelbase sizes, measuring 115- and 132-inches. The smaller wheelbase size was reserved for the Runabout and the raceabout, taking full advantage of the 70 horsepower, four-cylinder L-head engine. The Touring, Sporting, Town Car, and Limousine bodystyles had the larger wheelbases.

Through the persistence of Washington Roebling, the son of one of the founders of the Mercer Company, a roadster was introduced. The Raceabout is credited as being America's first sports car. Under the hood was a very large four-cylinder engine that was capable of producing nearly 35 horsepower. There were two spare tires and a twenty-five gallon fuel tank. The 300 cubic-inch engine could propel the 2800 pound vehicle to a top speed of nearly 80 mph. A very impressive accomplishment at the time, especially considering that there were few roads that were suitable of sustaining these types of speeds.

The Raceabout was raced heavily in 1911 where it won five of the six races it was entered. It achieved world record status and lots of publicity for the evolving company.

Throughout the years, the company's popularity, success, and fortune were up and down. Washington Roebling II was aboard the Titanic in 1912 when it sank. The production of the Raceabout continued. In 1914, Mercer's chief engineer and designer, Porter, left the company to begin automobile production on his own. Unfortunately, he was unable to achieve the success ascertained at the Mercer Company.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009
 
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