Throwback Thursday: 1921 Mercer Raceabout


Performance cars had to start somewhere, and there were so many obscure, low-production makes before about 1925 or so, it was inevitable that some higher-performance models would come along. The Mercer Raceabout was one of those.

Mercer was founded by two engineers, backed by a significant amount of capital. Their first cars were handcrafted touring sedans, but by about 1910 they had introduced the Type 35R Raceabout. This early race car featured a 293-cubic-inch four-cylinder (pistons the size of gallon jugs!), developing 55 horsepower and capable of propelling the Raceabout to over 90 mph. The Raceabout took five of six races in 1911, losing only at the Indianapolis 500.

In the 1914 Corona Road Race, driver Eddie Pullen set a new speed record of 86.5 mph, breaking the previous speed ecord of 78.72 mph average, taking home a $4000 purse and an additional $2000 for the record. Unfortunately, Mercer was soon to become a cursed company. In a 1914 road race, two Raceabouts collided, killing the driver and mechanic and prompting the company to cancel their racing program. In 1919, the last of the brother partners died, with the other one having died several years earlier in the Titanic disaster. The company was absorbed by a Wall Street firm that soon also absorbed the Locomobile and Crane-Simplex brands. By 1925, Mercer produced their last vehicles, having built a grand total of around 5000 cars.Performance cars had to start somewhere, and there were so many obscure, low-production makes before about 1925 or so, it was inevitable that some higher-performance models would come along. The Mercer Raceabout was one of those.

Mercer was founded by two engineers, backed by a significant amount of capital. Their first cars were handcrafted touring sedans, but by about 1910 they had introduced the Type 35R Raceabout. This early race car featured a 293-cubic-inch four-cylinder (pistons the size of gallon jugs!), developing 55 horsepower and capable of propelling the Raceabout to over 90 mph. The Raceabout took five of six races in 1911, losing only at the Indianapolis 500.

In the 1914 Corona Road Race, driver Eddie Pullen set a new speed record of 86.5 mph, breaking the previous speed ecord of 78.72 mph average, taking home a $4000 purse and an additional $2000 for the record. Unfortunately, Mercer was soon to become a cursed company. In a 1914 road race, two Raceabouts collided, killing the driver and mechanic and prompting the company to cancel their racing program. In 1919, the last of the brother partners died, with the other one having died several years earlier in the Titanic disaster. The company was absorbed by a Wall Street firm that soon also absorbed the Locomobile and Crane-Simplex brands. By 1925, Mercer produced their last vehicles, having built a grand total of around 5000 cars.