In 1910 and 1911 the Mercer Automobile Company of Trenton, New Jersey made entries in the Great Savannah races. Washington Roebling II, the only company owner who drove in the races, and driver Hughie Hughes led teams in several light car and grand prix events. Hughes won the 222.82 mile 1911 Savannah Challenge Race, running at an average speed of 70 mph. The camp,built on this site along the race course, provided housing for team members; garage space; and storage space for spare parts, fuel and other necessities. It was destroyed by Hurricane David in 1979.
Brings to mind an old saying between two car lovers of different manufacturers.
People who drive Mercer would say, "Stutz is nuts".
And of course, people who drove Stutz would say,
"Mercer is worser."
Average speed of 70mph in 1911???
Strong tailwinds ....
Google says this is the camp in 1911.
I don't think 70 MPH average on an oval track with long straightaways is out of the question for 1911. The Mercer raceabouts were really impressive.
Here is Mercer House back then:
Great automobile, even better city.
I don't recall exactly which year it was, but early in the Mercer legacy, I believe it was Barney Oldfield that drove a modified Mercer to a certified 90 mph. It was in an article I read on Mercer history about 45 years ago. Of course, as Rob H and most of us know, a lot of that history is bunk.
The Stutz Mercer rivalry is very interesting. Although the cars look so much alike in photographs, they are actually very different. The Stutz weighs about half again as much as the Mercer. But the Stutz also has about half again as much power. The Mercer relies on power to weight ratio and better handling on corners. The Stutz relies more on raw power.
The few early Mercers I have been around, in person, are smaller, only somewhat bigger than a model T (but incredible none the less. The later ones got heavier. An early Stutz Bearcat is impressive to sit in and hold the steering wheel! I did turn down an opportunity to drive an early Bearcat once, only because I have never really liked to drive other people's cars. Sometimes I wish I had done it.
Great cars, both of them.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
301 cubic inch T-Head in-line 4 cylinder! Loads of power and very fast. Had the opportunity to be a passenger in one on Highway101 from Santa Margarita to Atascadero with Doc Beaumont at the wheel. We jumped out onto the freeway and hit the #1 lane at 75mph and were passing a lot of traffic beating a rain storm. Lots of fun and lots of puzzled looks as we had the front fenders off at the time.
A few years back there was a Mercer website that I visited often. But now it is gone. Was really great.
Mercer would be my car of choice if I could have one of about 1920.
Craig Sutton & Freighter Jim, it must be true, because I read it on the internet, just saying.
ps: Freighter Jim, I had a guy from Australia who said he was interested in buying my '57 Buick and needed a price for shipping to LA and I gave him your web site.
Here is a 1912 Mercer Raceabout next to a 1915 Sutz Bearcat for comparison of the size.
(Message edited by royce on November 04, 2016)
Jay Leno and his Mercer. Always fun to watch this: