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Model Cars by Ken W. Purdy from Boy’s Life December 1968
….”and custom–built models are so good that photographs of them alone, showing no other objects with which they can be compared for size will deceive all but experts.
I have a model of a Mercer Raceabout that will pass this test. It was made for me about 15 years ago by a British master model builder, Harold Pratley, of London. It is 12 ½ inches long, 5 ½ inches wide, and five inches high. The model was made from scratch; there is not a commercial piece in it. Mr. Pratley started with the raw metal, wood, leather and rubber, and made everything. And he had never seen a real Mercer! There are only about 26 of them in existence all in this country. (They were made in Trenton, N.J.)
The car Mr. Pratley duplicated in miniature was my own Mercer, and he worked from hundreds of photographs and detailed measurements I sent to him. The car has working steering, adjustable suspension, moveable gearshift and brake levers, and each handmade bolt in the chassis has a handmade nut on the end of it. The word MERCER is engraved on each of the brass hubcaps and in proper scale: big on the big rear ones, proportionally smaller in front. There was one flaw in a light mounting on the car when I photographed it for Mr. Pratley, and of course he faithfully duplicated that, too. (No, I’m not going to tell what it was!)
The wood wheels intrigue me more than anything else on the car; each has its 12 hand-carved spokes flawlessly fitted into wooden rims. Even today, after more than a decade of steam-heated winters, wet springs and blistering-hot summers, the wheels show not a trace of warping or checking. They might as well have been made of cast iron. Harold Pratley, by the way, worked in a “shop” in his house smaller than a respectable closet, and used only the simplest of tools.
Two other great English makers are Rex Hays and Cyril Posthumous. Posthumous has built for Queen Elizabeth, and Montagu Museum has a collection of Rex Hays racecar models (One of the most important automobile museums in Europe, the Montagu Museum in Beaulieu Abbey, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, England.) Jacques Catti and Alain Petit of France, Manuel Olive Sans of Spain and Michel Conti of Italy are younger men of equal expertise.” …