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5 pre-war classics that will always be collectible

Scattered among a plethora of Porsches, multitude of Mercedes, and flotilla of Ferraris at the Amelia Island auctions March 7–10, you’ll find a remarkable assortment of pre-war cars that date to the dawn of the automotive age.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/01/5-prewar-cars-to-buy-at-amelia-island-2019

In 1972 my wife & I resided in my home town near the San Francisco bay area where we were involved in building and driving hotrods. We were regulars at Andy Brizio’s shop as they did work for the Datsun dealer where I was the parts manager. On one particular Sunday we attended the Hillsboro Concours De’Elegance near Burlingame. I distinctly remember one fellow displaying a Model “J” Duesenberg dual cowl phaeton in two tone blue. The first thing that I noticed were the huge wheels and tires which seemed 36" tall. After a brief discussion with the owner he mentioned to us he had just turned down an offer to sell the vehicle for 50,000! At a time when my house near the beach, with three lots, cost 22,750, we thought he was crazy for not selling. Nice return on your money especially when all the pleasures of ownership and driving the beauty are considered.

. . . and for those of us too poor or tight to afford these, there are always Model T and Model A Fords. Very nice examples of either can be bought for under $20,000 (an in some cases under $10,000).
They’re still great fun despite being “a dime a dozen”.

You might want to fix the typo on the Mercer Raceabout description. There weren’t any 301-horsepower, four cylinder production cars in 1913. I’m thinking the five liter Mercer engine was making more like 60 horsepower in 1913.

My grandfather bought a Mercer Racer new around 1915 in northern Ohio. Sadly only photos and family stories remain. This was a time when horses were still the primary form of transportation. I guess his bright yellow Mercer really set the town on edge when he was in town. I would love to know what happened to that car !

This is nice and all but how about you do it again on models more than the 1% crowd can afford. I am seriously considering a model T next. Oh yeah and I’m a working stiff under 40 with student loans so bet your tushy it will have to be on budget. Unfortunately that budget can touch a survivor.

As to the twin six it doesn’t look like it would take more than a solid clean of everything and some new fluids and a little rubber. There only original once.

I think I’ll stick with my 1913 Metz Model 22. Looks like a Mercer - but much more affordable.
You can’t go wrong with a Ford Model T. Fun to drive. 1917 thru 1927 versions are very affordable. And there is a strong (even better than the '28-'31 Ford Model A) affordable parts supply to keep them going. Be sure to join one of the national clubs (advertisement - I prefer Model T Ford Club of America) and its local chapter for your area.

This is totally off-the-wall, and more hot-rodding than collector car, but…
Take one of the 80s mini trucks, strip the body off, move the engine back in the frame, and build a Mercer-esque “body” for it. Now does that sound like a fun drive or what? A Regular cab long bed 83-97 Toyota Hilux pickup has a 112" wheelbase, not far from the Mercers 115". An 82-93 S-10 (they sit lower than Rangers, drive more car like) regular cab long bed has a 118" wheelbase, also a good candidate. Mercer-like fun, old style hot-rod price!

I’m sure a Metz would be fun, but it sits up too high and looks too much “horseless carriage” when compared to the low slung (for it’s day) Mercer. A Model A stripped down and bodied in a similar fashion would be better, but still a bit short, I think, to really compare the lines of the Mercer. A short bed mini truck would be the same… need some length!! I’ve never seen a Model A with an open Mercer style body, Google didn’t come up with any either…

Puzzling that certain models, like the 57sc , are so expensive with lame coachwork. The formula of haute couture design should raise the bar, while mishaps in coach building should be in fractions of the value asked for the latest 57sc.

I believe the Mercer had 60 hp and 301 cubic inches not 300 hp.