• This Month's Issue

    Red-Hot and Rapidly Rising: 1985 288 GTO $2.4m

    Why U.S. Customs is Destroying British Imports

    Mangustas: No Longer Undervalued

    Porsche 924S Provides Magic on a Budget

    Racing Past a Million: 1955 Austin-Healey 100S

    Read More
  • SCM Platinum

    Over 200 cars that sold at auction covered in every issue of SCM. Our market reports include detailed information about the vehicle, including VIN, condition, options, and expert analysis from SCM's auction reporters.

    SCM Platinum is the largest database of collector cars sold at auction. Over 150,000 vehicles, including over 59,000 with detailed write-ups from our auction reporters.

    Now optimized for your mobile devices!

    Read More
  • Glovebox Notes

    SCM doesn't just cover collector cars. Every week, SCM reviews a brand new car online and in our newsletters, and there are new reviews every month in the magazine. Thinking of buying a new car? Check out our reviews!

    Read More
  • Insider’s Guide to Concours d’Elegance

    The 2014 guide includes a calendar of events and detailed descriptions of 21 featured concours.

    Read More

Recent Blog Posts

  • Love From Land Rover +

    Read More
  • Upgrade Your Classic With a 5-Speed? +

    Should you upgrade the transmission on your vintage car? That's one of the debates in today's collector car world. The discussions revolve around "as built" correctness versus upgrades for driveability. Most of the small-displacement, under-2,000-cc vintage cars from the '50s and '60s handle, stop and start reasonably well. You simply Read More
  • The Alfa, Viper, Volvo, Méhari and Me +

    A Gearhead's Trip Through A Vintage-Car Theme Park You can tell the weather is getting better because I'm spending more time in the SCM/ACC garage. It all started last week when seven-year-old Bradley asked if I would take him to school in the Viper. I asked why that car, and Read More
  • Old Cars: More Reliable Now Than Ever +

    I was giving a talk at the local MG club meeting last Friday evening. We were discussing road trips, and the SCM “Road to Reno” adventure came up. In 2011, we bought three 1972-73 MGBs (two convertibles and a GT), refurbished them and drove to Reno for the All-MG Register Read More
  • April 2015 Cover Poll +

    Our Art Director, David Tomaro, has created three possible cover concepts, and we'd like to know which one is your favorite. Click here to cast your vote! In addition, please take a few moments and answer some questions about collector cars. It should all take less than a minute, and Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Collector Car News

  • "My Classic Car" Star Dennis Gage Joins Keels & Wheels as Grand Marshal +

    Dennis Gage, the mustachioed host of Velocity's "My Classic Car," will be Grand Marshal at the 2015 Keels & Wheels Concours d'Elegance. The concours takes place May 2-3 in Seabrook, TX. SCM Publisher Keith Martin returns as emcee. Gage will be on the grounds meeting participants and visitors, signing autographs and Read More
  • The Andrews Collection: "The Best of That Little Bit of Everything" +

    RM Sotheby's presents the Paul and Chris Andrews Collection in Fort Worth, TX, April 30–May 2. The collection includes some of the finest and rarest cars the hobby has ever seen. As part of an effort to downsize their collection to a more manageable level, the father and son team Read More
  • SVRA and Motostalgia Partner for June 12 Auction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway +

    Motostalgia is now the Official Auction Company of the SVRA. The partnership kicks off with an exclusive collector car auction at the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational on June 12. This joint venture will provide the true enthusiast the opportunity to enjoy two of the most exciting experiences in motorsports: auctions and Read More
  • Sotheby’s Acquires 25% Ownership Interest in RM Auctions +

    Sotheby's has acquired a 25% ownership interest in RM Auctions, which will now be known as RM Sotheby's. This long-term investment comes as the more than $2 billion market for the finest automobiles continues to grow, presenting increasing opportunities for both companies. Sotheby's and RM have previously collaborated on successful sales in Read More
  • 1966 Jaguar XKE Series I 4.2 Roadster at AA Fort Lauderdale +

    Auctions America has consigned a 1966 Jaguar XKE Series I 4.2 roadster for their Fort Lauderdale auction. The sale takes place March 27–29. This car has been fully restored and features some upgrades for an improved driving experience on modern roads (Auctions America estimate: $250k–$290k). Read more here. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

1913 mercer type 35j raceabout


The legendary T-head Mercer Raceabout was one of the most significant cars produced during the glorious Brass Age. The enthusiasm shared by those fortunate few owners and admirers who have experienced the thrill of a Raceabout has elevated these pioneering sports cars to mythical status.
The 300-c.i. four-cylinder engine had massive 2¼-inch valves, high-lift cams, a high compression ratio, and generous and efficient intake/exhaust manifolding. This was mated to a beautifully engineered Brown & Lipe gearbox, with three speeds for 1911 and 1912, and four speeds for 1913 and 1914, with a multiple-disc clutch. The drive unit was set down in a frame to lower the center of gravity on the already low-slung chassis, which was clothed in long, swooping fenders, raked cowl and steering column, and twin rear spare tires. Is there a better example of form following function?
The T-head Mercer Raceabout was the first mass-produced dual-purpose sports and racing car. Indeed, many Mercers were taken right off the showroom floor to a race track where, with their fenders, runningboards and lighting equipment quickly removed, they would frequently set lap records, defeating cars with much larger engines. As Mercer Chief Engineer Finley R. Porter recalled in an interview with pioneer collector Henry Austin Clark, Jr. in the 1950s, "We sold racing cars to the public."
The best drivers always gravitate to the best cars and Mercer was no exception: Ralph DePalma, Spencer Wishart, Caleb Bragg, Eddie Pullen, Hughie Hughes and Barney Oldfield were a few of the stars of the era-;not to mention the many private amateur sportsmen who were victorious behind the wheels of Mercers.
If the phenomenal race record of the Mercer was not enough proof of its worth, consider the list of respected collectors who have chosen to own a T-head Raceabout: Bill Harrah, Henry Austin Clark, Alec Ulmann, Sam Scher, Peter Helck, James Melton, Ralph Buckley, Ken Purdy, Herb Royston, Miles Collier, David Uihlein, Fred Hoch, George Wingard, Phil Hill, Robert Petersen, Roger Ellis and Briggs Cunningham-many of them owning more than one example.
Chassis number 1281 is one of the most original Mercer Raceabouts in existence. It is believed that this car was converted to electric lighting very early in its life and it is conceivable that the original dealer could have done this. This car was purchased by Oliver Frederick (Fred) Hiscock of Southampton, Long Island in about 1919 from Lawrence Griffen of Northsea, Long Island. There were possibly two prior owners at this stage and one of them had flipped the car over in an accident. However, it is not believed that this Raceabout has any early racing history.
In 1969 Fred Hiscock passed away and his son John inherited the car. Sadly, he lost it in a divorce proceeding in 1981. The fortunate purchaser was William B. Ruger, who leapt at the opportunity to acquire one of the great original Raceabouts.
There are approximately 17 genuine T-head Raceabouts in existence. Chassis number 1281 must rank among the handful of truly great Raceabouts with an almost completely known history from new.

{analysis}{auto}238{/auto} This car sold for $865,500, including buyer's premium, at Christie's Pebble Beach auction held August 18, 2002.
Not only did it sell for $865,500, but it returned to the family from whom Bill Ruger had bought it in 1981, making a neat full circle on its history, albeit at a price. But that's the way people feel about T-head Mercer Raceabouts. Back in April 1999 Christie's auctioned another authentic 1913 Type 35J Raceabout for $926,500. It is now a centerpiece car in the Petersen Automotive Museum. Between these two auction sales, private transactions involving T-head Raceabouts have also climbed well past the half-million mark. The cars are so desirable and scarce that some collectors have ordered "new old" examples built from the ground up by Mercer specialists.
Besides simply being a correct, unmolested T-head Raceabout-with the exception of the addition of a period self-starting system-this car had a well-known history and an owner known for his taste in collecting great cars. Bill Ruger painted this car an incorrect color (it was originally yellow), but otherwise the car was restored exactly right.
The way these cars perform is a large part of their allure. Although rated at just 30.5 hp by formula, it's reckoned the engine actually produced more like 100 ponies. Torque at the rear wheels make throwing a Raceabout into drifts as easy as a quick poke at the outside-mounted throttle. The transmission is a revelation compared to the balky gearshifts of contemporary rivals. You can snap the gear lever up and down like a modern sports car, speed-shifting at will. Steering is direct and arrow-accurate.
Worth the money? If any brass era car is, it's the T-head Mercer Raceabout. It tells you volumes about the esteem in which they're held by collectors when this car brought nearly five times the amount of an equally authentic 1916 Stutz Bearcat at the RM Monterey auction the night before.-Dave Brownell{/analysis}

Recent Profiles

load more / hold SHIFT key to load all load all