1922 Mercer Series 5 Sporting
Sold For $66,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
- The foremost American speed machine of the Nickel Era
- Formerly of the Edwin Griffin and Dr. John Fleming collections
- Wonderfully evocative, largely original condition
- Well-maintained mechanically; a fine driver
- Classic Car Club of America (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 dramatic Series 5 Sporting offered here has a known ownership history back to the 1950s, when it was owned by well-known Pacific Northwest collector Edwin Griffin, whose stable it shared with such prestigious vehicles as a Model J Duesenberg. Mr. Griffin’s ownership of the car is recorded as late as 1961, when it was listed under his name in the Antique Automobile Club of America’s roster. By 1968, the car was listed with a G.F. Hill. Later that same year, it was acquired by the renowned California enthusiast Dr. John Fleming, with whom it would remain for 45 years. Shortly before the current owner acquired the car from Dr. Fleming, it was featured with its longtime owner in an episode of the hit television series Chasing Classic Cars.
The current owner reports that he has reconditioned the car mechanically and that, with its four-passenger aluminum coachwork, it enjoys excellent performance, nearly equal to the more famous two-passenger Raceabout. While it received what he describes as a “light blow-over” in pale yellow on the main part of the body, he believes that this portion of the paint could easily be removed, revealing the original black finish beneath. The balance of the car remains wonderfully original and well-preserved, including delightfully patinaed upholstery, top fabric, and nickel trim, all of which would be a shame to restore. Such is the car’s well-preserved condition that the roughly 14,000 miles showing at the time of cataloguing are believed by the owner to be correct. He further notes that the car retains its factory tools in the front door pockets.
A fine driver to enjoy on VMCCA and AACA tours, as well as CCCA CARavans, this well-kept original Mercer would be an excellent addition to the collection of any enthusiast who values great American performance cars . . . from all eras.