A Car for the Gatsby Generation

1922 Mercer Series 5 Sporting

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 2, 2013

1922 Mercer Series 5 Sporting

I recently watched Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby and one thing I noticed was that nearly all of the cars were from the 1930s. The book (and the movie) both take place in 1922 – and are pretty explicit about it. But I guess pre-1923 cars are a lot harder to come by than using things that came later. Plus, to the casual viewer, the cars would pass as period-correct The car you see here wouldn’t have been driven by Gatsby himself, but it’s the type of car that some of his party-goers would have driven.

Mercer invented the sports car in 1911 with the Raceabout. In the mid-1910s, Mercer changed ownership and in 1921, it reverted back to the family of its founders. Along with their sporty raceabouts, Mercer built sporty touring convertibles like this. It uses a 4.9-liter straight-four making 70 horsepower at a rumbling 2,800 rpm. The engine was introduced in 1915 on the second generation Raceabout.

This 1922 Sporting model (“Sporting” referring to the touring car body) has Model 22-70 Raceabout underpinnings and it’s an original survivor (although it has been repainted at some point). This is the first time in the car’s known history that it is being offered for public sale. It should bring between $110,000-$130,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $121,000.