1953 Packard Caribbean
The Packard Caribbean was a personal luxury car produced by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, during model years 1953 through 1956. Some of the Caribbean’s styling was derived from the Pan American Packard show car of the previous year. It was produced only as a convertible from 1953 to 1955, but a hardtop model was added in its final year of 1956.
The 1953 Caribbean was perhaps Packard’s most easily identified car because of its full cutout rear wheel housing and side trim, limited to a chrome band outline that stretched the entire length of the car. The band also helped to further delineate the car’s wheel openings. A steel continental spare tire was also standard. The hood featured a broad, low leaded-in hood scoop. Bodies for the Caribbean were modified by Mitchell-Bentley Corporation of Ionia, Michigan. Available “advertised” colors for the car were limited to Polaris Blue, Gulf Green Metallic, Maroon Metallic or Sahara Sand. However, a mere handful of special-ordered cars were built in Ivory or Black.
Interiors of the Caribbean were richly upholstered in leather. Most Caribbeans were also generously optioned, although the Ultramatic transmission and power windows were optional cost items on the first year model. A total of 750 Caribbeans were built for the first model year, and these cars are highly sought after as collectible cars in the current collectible automobile market.
This 1953 Packard Caribbean, shown in beautiful Gulf Green Metallic, was restored in the late seventies by its current owner. It was discovered that the original 327 cu.in. 5-main bearing engine had a cracked block. It was replaced by a brand new 1954 359 cu.in. 9 main bearing short block still in the original PMCC crate. All other engine components are original to the car. The original Ultramatic transmission was replaced by a 1953 manual transmission with overdrive. (A relatively small number of 1953 Caribbeans left the factory so equipped). These changes have made the car into a real driver capable of serious cruising at 70 mph all day long. The car won a first at the Packard Centennial Meet in Warren, Ohio, in 1999.
My test drive was extremely joyful and quite impressive. It is very powerful, fast and smoother than any other Packard of this vintage I have ever driven. Steering and brakes are effortless and the torque is amazing. Super smooth with the radial tires and highway cruising is welcomed. All the power windows work well (one quarter window needed a help going down), power antenna working well, as well as the power top. Idiot lights and gauges working just fine.
Look no further, you found your Packard Caribbean.
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