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One-off Sixties Roadster restored

Unless you’re a gentleman of a certain age, you won’t know about Mercer Automobiles.

In fact, scratch that — only the grandfather of a gentleman of a certain age is likely to have a chance of recalling this company.

Assuming you don’t fall into that category, allow us to fill you in. The US car manufacturer enjoyed a brief, but productive, existence between 1909 and 1925. During that time, it created one of the most popular cars of the era, the Mercer 35 Raceabout, which was capable of hitting speeds of 90mph. Back then, that was really fast.

Such was the enduring compassion for the Raceabout during the decades that followed, a one-off updated version was commissioned in 1965. In the years since, it’s appeared around the world at car enthusiast gatherings. And it’s that very vehicle, the Mercer-Cobra Roadster, that you see before you.

Designed by the superbly-named Virgil Exner, who’d previously conjured concepts for Chrysler and General Motors, the car was built on a Cobra chassis (hence Mercer-Cobra), with funding from the Copper Development Association (hence the intricate copper detail on everything from the grille to the dashboard).

Now, 46 years after it was first constructed, the Roadster has just been auctioned. Reports suggest it sold for somewhere in the region of $1.2m (£728k).

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