Packard Gray Wolf

Designed and built in 1903 by a French engineer with a German name, Charles Schmidt, the Packard Gray Wolf was based on the Packard Motor Car Company's model K chassis, but stripped to minimize weight. The car was considered lightweight in the day at 1400 pounds. The Gray Wolf had wire spoke wheels instead of the typical wood artillery, and the chassis was made of lightweight compressed steel as opposed to the typical heavier steel and wood construction of the Model K. All of this reflected Schmidt's obsession with lightweight design, which was important as the engine produced only 24 horsepower.
 
Schmidt, the chief engineer for Packard at the time, was determined to drive the car himself. Packard President Henry Bourne Joy probably approved Schmidt's racing to keep him happy because he was a world class engineering talent. Schmidt plowed through a fence in the car's first outing at the Glenville horse track near Cleveland in September 1903. Schmidt spent the next couple of months nursing cracked ribs. Healed, he returned to Ormond - Daytona Beach on January 2 & 3, 1904 to set several world records for lightweight cars and even cranked out the American mile record for any type of car at some 77 miles per hour. The car's biggest hurrah - and Schmidt's final race as a driver - came October 8, 1904 in the first running of the Vanderbilt Cup on Long Island, New York. The Gray Wolf was in a surprising fourth place when the race was stopped.
 
A reproduction of the Gray Wolf constructed to the original plans exists today. Click throught the link to see some terrific photos. I give the information associated with it a "C," but the photos are outstanding, "A+."

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