1. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  2. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  3. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  4. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  5. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  6. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  7. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  8. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  9. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  10. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  11. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  12. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  13. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  14. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  15. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  16. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  17. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

  18. 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

Lot Number
80
1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible
Scottsdale Auction

ESTIMATE: $120,000 - $150,000
CHASSIS NO: L600204
• Only 578 miles since total body-off-frame restoration
• 1 of just 750 first-year examples produced in total
• Offered from an extremely fastidious collector
• Carefully maintained, serviced, and great to drive
• Outstanding colors and presentation
• An undisputed American landmark of the 1950s

327 cid L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, Carter four-barrel carburetor, 180 HP at 4,000 RPM, Ultramatic automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle, four-wheel hydraulic brakes; wheelbase: 122"


Heavily influenced by Jaguar’s rakish XK120 sports roadster and the succession of exciting “dream cars” created and shown by most American auto manufacturers during the early 1950s, Packard commissioned several interesting concept cars of its own with an eye to possible series-production. Beginning in 1949 and 1952 with the sporty Monte Carlo hardtop designs by the Henney Body Company, which was Packard’s supplier of professional-car bodies, Henney designer Richard Arbib penned the Pan American concept which debuted at New York in 1952. Based on a stock 1951 Packard Series 250 convertible and featuring a stylish channelled and sectioned body, the Pan American cast an elegant yet sporting profile and featured top-quality passenger appointments. Despite its many stylistic advantages, however, the Pan American’s stance was deemed too low and given its lack of a functional top mechanism, rendered it unsuited for production. Additionally, high projected pricing halted the exciting project after some six Pan Americans were built.

Encouraged by the positive public reaction to the Pan American, Packard CEO James J. Nance gave the go-ahead for development and production of a highly stylish, yet slightly less radical version of the Pan American. Design talent Dick Teague was selected to work his magic with detail work on the Series 250 convertible. For his part, Teague produced exceptional results with fully radiused rear-wheel cutouts, faired-in tail lamps, tasteful and effective brightwork on the car’s beltline and wheel openings, a “Continental” external spare tire, spoked wire wheels, and a low, broad hood scoop derived from the Pan American show car. The Mitchell-Bentley Corporation of Ionia, Michigan performed the Caribbean’s body modifications for Packard. Befitting its top-of-the-line market positioning, the Caribbean featured rich leather upholstery and power was provided by Packard’s big 327 cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder engine, with Packard’s Ultramatic automatic transmission optional. Priced from $5,210 – a considerable sum for the era, the Caribbean was announced in January 1953 and deliveries began two months later, with total production limited to 750 examples. Aimed at the new personal-luxury market ushered in by the Buick Skylark, the Caribbean was a strong contender with a price tag $400 lower than the Buick. Most importantly, the Caribbean formed a key part of Nance’s strategy to revitalize Packard in the luxury market with more diversified model offerings.

Offered from a top-quality private collection, this 1953 Packard Caribbean was purchased by the consignor as a good and solid original car and given a complete, body-off-frame restoration addressing both the cosmetics and all mechanical systems. Thereafter, this Caribbean has received proper and comprehensive servicing and maintenance, ensuring it is ready to drive with confidence and enjoy on demand. Post-restoration use is sparing to say the least, with just 578 miles at the time of cataloguing, and all systems and components are in proper working order, with the Caribbean delivering a tight feeling on the road, thanks to a freshly completed front-end alignment, replaced suspension bushings during the restoration, and replacement of the factory rear sway bar with an upgraded solid unit. Featuring an exciting color combination, the Caribbean is striking with its quality paint finish, white convertible top with scratch-free backlight, two-tone leather upholstery, and very well-fitted top boot cover. As related by the consignor following a recent and very enjoyable 20-mile drive, the Caribbean benefits from a resealing of the Ultramatic transmission (performed 2015), and the heater and AM radio work as they should. The engine delivers strong and uniform compression, and runs great with fresh spark plugs, correct plug wires, and a restored and correct generator. Show quality, but not yet publicly displayed, this first-year Caribbean is “on the button” and ready to show and enjoy.

1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible
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