A Dream Discovery – An Untouched 1912 Mercer Raceabout
This 1912 Mercer Raceabout, serial number 623, was found during the summer of 1941. The location was in Brightwaters, New York, about six miles due east of Lindenhurst on the south shore of Long Island.
Alex Ulmann, an early collector who was very active in the Veteran Motor Car Club of America in the pre and post World War II days, added this gem to his collection. The club was founded in 1938 during the dawn of antique automobile collecting, and the early activities were centered in Boston, MA. and later the New York City area.
The lead photo shows Charlie Stich hooking a tow bar onto the 1912 Mercer after changing the tires and rims and preparing the car either for the trip back to his garage or Alex Ulmann’s residence.
Charlie hard at work changing the rear tires on the machine after pulling it out into the daylight.
At the time, all of the serious collectors were on the lookout for either a Mercer Raceabout, Stutz Bearcat, chain-drive Simplex, Lozier, and other high-quality early cars. A number of great cars were uncovered during this period and saved before the WWII scrap drives.
This set of images was taken by Smith Hempstone Oliver, another early collector who had his own Stutz Bearcat as early as 1933. He was a racing and antique car enthusiast and after the war became the first Transportation Curator at the Smithsonian Institution and worked in that position from 1946-1956. He also had an interest in photography and took photos at early club activities.
This shot shows Charlie removing the rear axles from the full floating hubs before the journey.
Charlie Stich ran a highly regarded repair garage in NYC at the time, and was also an antique Mercedes enthusiast. He went out to Long Island to collect the Mercer for Ulmann, and Smith Hempstone Oliver went along to record the occasion on film.
Ulmann had the Mercer restored, and it was actively used in post-war old car activities. He later went on to establish the sportscar races at Sebring, Florida. The Mercer was eventually sold to current HCCA Club President Karl Darby’s Father and has since been owned by three other collectors including the present owner Stan Lucas.
This car and over a dozen other Mercers were on display at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2012.
The Mercer turned around in the driveway and ready to leave to be reawakened and treasured.
The Mercer on the 2012 Pebble Beach tour with Stan Lucas behind the wheel.
The photos are courtesy of The Revs Institute Research Library, one of the foremost facilities in the world to contact, and visit if you need to conduct vintage car research. If you are heading to Florida this fall, winter or spring, be sure to make reservations to visit the museum and view the Collier Collection.