Lot Number

1922 Mercer Series 5 Sporting

Sold For $88,000

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 8 - 9 OCTOBER 2015 - The Richard Roy Estate

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Offered from the Richard Roy Estate
  • An exceptionally honest, original, and well-documented L-head Mercer
  • Formerly owned by Frederick Crawford
  • Originally delivered in Pennsylvania
  • CCCA Full Classic

70 bhp, 298 cu. in. L-head inline four-cylinder engine with single updraft carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, live-axle suspension with semi-elliptical leaf springs and shock absorbers, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

For 1915, Mercer, the most famous American performance name of the decade, introduced its first all-new model since its founding five years prior. The Series 5, as it was aptly named, would remain in production for nearly a decade and would establish itself as the foremost American speed machine of the Nickel Era. It was one of the fastest and most powerful automobiles on the American road, incorporating a brilliant Eric Delling-designed L-head four with abundant power and flexibility on an advanced chassis with live-axle suspension and (eventually) four-wheel braking.


The four-passenger Series 5 Sporting offered here is a study in the kind of automobile that Richard Roy loved. It is beautifully worn-in, very original, and well connected to the New Jersey heritage of which he was so proud. It also reflects his sentimental tendency toward his automobiles, proving that a car like this can be well loved for both its appearance and its operating ability.

The Sporting’s original owner was Jay Smith, of Warren, Pennsylvania, as an original 1922 registration card on file indicates. The car was later acquired at some point by well-known Cleveland, Ohio, businessman Frederick Crawford for the Thompson Auto Album, a collection which eventually became today’s respected Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.

The Mercer remained in this collection until some point in the 1950s, when it was sold to the late, well-known enthusiast Carl Amsley, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. It was from Mr. Amsley that Mr. Roy acquired the car out of the car corral here at Hershey in 1971. Mr. Roy held on to the Mercer until 2001, when he sold it to a longtime acquaintance in Connecticut, who quickly passed it to John Fundukian, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

However, perhaps because of his 30 years of ownership, Mr. Roy almost immediately regretted the sale. In 2004, he was finally able to buy the Mercer back from Mr. Fundukian and decided to “reward” the car with a little love, namely new upholstery to the front seat and replacement of the studs holding on the top water jacket of the engine, performed by restorer Jerry Ambrosi. Further mechanical re-commissioning awaits prior to resumed use. Afterward, the Mercer remained in Mr. Roy’s collection until the time of his passing earlier this year, and it is now part of his estate offered here at Hershey, with 41,594 miles recorded on the odometer, a figure that Mr. Fundukian believed was original.

The light restoration work mentioned above is indicative of the work that the car has received over the years; never restored, it has just been “kept up” by enthusiasts as necessary. The majority of the deep blue and black finish was redone decades ago, with the fenders carrying several coats of paint. The rear seat upholstery, top, door saddles, and inner door panels are original, while the front floorboard is covered in 1930s linoleum!

The Mercer has a wonderfully honest appearance about it that is deeply appealing, and it would almost be a shame to refinish any part of it. The car is offered with a collection of documentation, including of Mr. Smith’s original ownership, as well as original 1916 and 1921 Mercer catalogues, two reproduction 1920 catalogues (one of which is missing its cover), original Series 4 and 5 parts lists, and an original Series 5 Care and Operation manual, which will be of use in “keeping it going” for further generations to enjoy.

This Mercer was one of Mr. Roy's favorites and the only one of the dozens of outstanding cars he owned during his lifetime that he ever sought to reclaim. We are proud to offer this Mercer, a gem of Mr. Roy's collection, in the state where it was originally delivered and near the state where it was built. It is an East Coast beauty, through and through, and wears its years of enthusiast enjoyment with grace and gumption.

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