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‘Austie’ Clark 1911 Mercer Type 35R up for auction debut

18 June, 2014


Darin Schnabel © 2014 courtesy RM Auctions

Darin Schnabel © 2014 courtesy RM Auctions

It will be the auction debut of the ‘Austie’ Clark 1911 Mercer Type 35R Raceabout when it goes under the hammer at the RM Auction’s RM Monterey sale.

It has been owned for 65 years by the family of purchaser Henry Austin ‘Austie’ Clark Jr, who bought the vehicle in 1949. He was a pioneering researcher, noted collector, and proprietor of the Long Island Automotive Museum.

Austie Clark accumulated such a large and diverse range of vehicles that when it was packed and shipped off to The Henry Ford Museum it involved an entire month of packing, three moving trucks and over two decades to sort through and file the 54,000 pounds of material that had been collected.

The particular vehicle going up for sale is one of Clark’s earliest additions to his collection. It was a fixture at his Long Island Automotive Museum and it took part in exhibition runs in conjunction with the Bridgehampton races. Clark had a hand in organizing and funding these races.

Darin Schnabel © 2014 courtesy RM Auctions

Darin Schnabel © 2014 courtesy RM Auctions

The museum closed in 1980 and the Mercer has been driven mainly on windy stonewall-lined roads by two further generations of the Clark family. It’s now the right time to pass it on to a new generation of owners and this will be the first time it is presented for public auction. The Mercer is expected to bring in a huge level of interest with estimates of $2.5 million to $3.5 million (US dollars) expected to be achieved for this historic vehicle.

“Austie Clark was a connoisseur who knew great automobiles and made extraordinary efforts to preserve as many as possible and ensure they resided in good homes. As a result, even a quarter century after his death, knowing that a car was part of the Henry Austin Clark Jr. Collection is a stamp of approval, and the name is an integral part of its provenance,” says Shelby Myers, Car Specialist for RM Auctions.

The sale will be held on August 15–16 in Monterey, California — so if anyone’s planning a trip over there during that time it may be worth heading along to a preview day. Otherwise you can check out the lots from your living room at

Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.