Mercury Sportsman

Summary

  • Chassis number 
    n/a
  • Engine number 
    to be advised
  • Lot number 
    374
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

c.1962/63 Mercury Sports Racer
Chassis no. n/a
Engine no. to be advised

The Mercury sports-racer was produced by D&A Shells of Stratford, East London, a firm that took its name from the initials of founders Dennis Pollard and Alan Fowler. D&A specialised in making body kits for the converting the open Lotus 23 sports-racer into a closed GT car, thus enabling owners to gain entry into the latter class. The firm also produced a tiny handful of complete cars built along Lotus 23 lines, that offered here being one of an estimated three survivors.

Catering for owners of the Lotus 23 was a shrewd move on D&A's part, as the Colin Chapman-designed sports-racer was one of the most popular and successful of its day. The Lotus 23 had debuted in 1962 using a widened version of the contemporary Type 20 Formula Junior chassis. The design had originally been intended for engines of up to 1,300cc but such was its popularity that a 23B version with stronger chassis was introduced to cater for the 1.5/1.6-litre Ford-Lotus Twin-Cam engine. Over 130 of all types were produced and today these versatile little cars are enormously popular in historic sports car racing worldwide.

This ultra-rare Mercury sports-racer was imported into Italy in 1992 and widely campaigned by Guido Caffi, a member of the same family as former Formula 1 driver Alex Caffi. He used the car mainly on Italian hill climbs until 2010 when it was sold to a Mr Zavarini, who continued to compete with the Mercury in similar events until 2011. Highly competitive and without doubt great fun on either hill climbs or the racetrack, the car comes with a HSCC Vehicle Identity Form dated 1990 and an FIA Historical Technical Passport from 2010 for Period F (1962 to 1965, FIA class: BC 1600) as well as two Italian CSAI Technical Passports. The 1,600cc Lotus Twin Cam engine is believed to produce some 190bhp, which, in conjunction with the light weight and low centre of gravity, should provide ample thrust.