Today’s story begins with John A. Roebling who designed the Brooklyn Bridge amongst many others. John had a son Ferdinand Roebling who together with his cousin John’s nephew Washington A. Roebling II and Kuser Borthers John L, Frederick and Antony, tycoons from the world of banking, bottling and brewing bought out a vehicle manufacturing business from Washington’s friend William Walter in a foreclosure sale in 1909.
The new investors renamed the company Mercer after Mercer County, New Jersey where the factory had been located since 1906 in a former brewery owned by the Kusers. They set about building a vehicle which would establish the brand in competition and the result was the 1910 Type 35 J Raceabout.
Powered by a 4 cylinder 4.8 litre / 293 cui motor producing 55 hp at 1,650 rpm the Type 35 Series J was designed to safely and consistently be driven at over 70 mph. With a top speed of over 90 mph a Type 53 Series J won five out of the six events into which it was entered in 1911, only missing out to the Marmon Wasp in the inaugural Indy 500.
The history of today’s featured 1913 Type 35 Series J chassis #996 goes back to 1935 when founder of the VMCCA and founder director of the Wolfden Antique Auto Museum of Southborough, MA, Mr. Cameron Bradley, bought the car from a used car dealer for $100.
In 1977 Mr Bradley sold 996 on to present owners Ken and Sharon Gooding, parents of the Gooding and Co Auction House President David Gooding.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who took these photographs a couple of years ago at the Palo Verdes Concours d’Elegance.
Thanks for joining me on this “55 hp at 1,650 rpm” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !