Packard #16 (1904)
"Gray Wolf"- One of America's first lightweight racers
Make: Packard Odel K-S
Mechanician: William McIllrid
One of the five American entries in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race was the 30-HP lightweight dirt-track Packard Gray Wolf. Driven by its designer Charles Schmidt, the first Packard racer had previously set one-mile and five-mile records in January 1904.
The Gray Wolf at the Westbury starting line. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. can be seen at the far right in the fur coat.
Shown stopped at the Hempstead Control, the small Packard Gray Wolf proved surprisingly durable and was in fourth position when the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race ended.
The 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race was the last race for the Gray Wolf while owned by Packard. Once again, drivng by Schmidt, the Gray Wolf finished a respectable fourth, second among the American entries. In Henry Joy's scrapbook, there is a January 1905 clipping noting the Gray Wolf had been sold to a rich motorist at a great price. The last record of the Gray Wolf was a Chicago race with Jess Ellingsworth driving for E.R. Greene.
See the #16 Packard Gray Wolf taking the Massapequa Turn on to Hempstead Turnpike during the 1904 race at the 1:01 mark of this American Mutoscope & Biograph film:
In the May 1974 issue of Road and Track author Don Fostle wrote this comprehensive article on the Packard Gray Wolf.
Packard Gray Model K-S Gray Wolf Recreation by Daniel Vaughan March 2008
On January 2, 1904, Charles Schmidt drove the lightning-quick Packard Gray Wolf, at 1,430 pounds, to a new five-mile record of 4:21.6 minutes, in the medium weight category.
At the same time, the Stevens-Duryea Company brought its Spider to compete in the lightweight category. The Spider, with Otto Nestman at the wheel, set the five-mile record for his class at 4:47.8 minutes. Racer
The Packard Grey Wolf is one of the most famous cars of early racing history. In 1901, the Packard brothers went to Europe in search of an engineer to design their first four-cylinder automobile. Charles Schmidt agreed to accompany them if he was allowed to build a race car to demonstrate the performance of the new Packard Model K. Only one example was built, at a cost of $10,000, and in January of 1904, Mr. Schmidt set two land speed records at Ormond Beach, FL, in the Grey Wolf. The original car won several other races, was wrecked several times.
This example is a recreation of the Grey Wolf, from the original Packard plans. Every part was made exactly per the blueprints, 100 years later. The car returned to Ormond Beach in 2004 to re-enact the land speed record attempt.During the very early 1900s, racers took to the beaches to set time and speed records, along with an assortment of racing. Daytona Beach was a popular favorite, with many important milestones achieved on its smooth, hard sand. The Packard Motor Company got in on the action with their Gray Wolf racing special.
The car fell in the medium weight limit category which had a limit of 1,430 pounds. The car was shipped to Daytona from Ohio in a crate, which tragically got lost. It was later found in Tennessee. When it arrived at Daytona, it was joined by many other interesting types of vehicles. Many were in the shape of bullets or cigars; some were nothing more than a seat attached to a stiff frame with an engine mounted in the front. The Gray Wolf was a wedge-shaped vehicle that had a pointy front and rear end and bulged slightly in the middle to accommodate the driver.
The car had 24 horsepower, a two-speed transmission, pressed-steel frame, and tires that measured 34x3.5-inches. The total package weighed a mere 1,310 pounds.
The Gray Wolf showed little difficulty in displacing the Winton Special's five-mile record. A second run was attempted a short time later, on January 3rd. There was a strong breeze, suitable temperature, and well groomed sand which offered ideal conditions to shatter its prior record. It traversed the five-mile course in just 4:26.1 minutes.
Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com
May 1974 Issue of Road and Track Magazine "Packard Gray Wolf: One of America's first lightweight racers"