The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 190
1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible

Selling on Saturday

1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible

CHASSIS NO: 55881169

• 1 of only 500 examples produced for 1955
• Undisputed American landmark of the 1950s
• Handsome and well-maintained restoration
• Equipped with rare air-conditioning system
• One of America’s grandest and most stylish ‘50s icons

352 cid OHV V-8 engine, dual Carter four-barrel carburetors, 275 HP at 4,800 RPM, Ultramatic automatic transmission, independent front suspension and live rear axle with front and rear torsion bars, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 127"

Heavily influenced by European sports cars 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 production. Beginning in 1949 and 1952 with the sporty Monte Carlo hardtop designs by the Henney Body Company, 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 channeled and sectioned body, the Pan American cast an elegant yet sporting profile and sported top-quality passenger appointments. Despite its many stylistic advantages; however, the Pan American’s stance was deemed unsuitable 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. Dubbed “Caribbean,” it debuted for 1953 as Packard’s image leader. Featuring the fresh and modern design language of Dick Teague, the Caribbean offered bold three-tone paint schemes, full leather interiors, a striking aircraft-style dash layout, and a host of standard power-assisted passenger amenities. Power was delivered by the Packard’s state-of-the-art, 275-horsepower 352-cid V-8 engine, breathing through dual four-barrel carburetors topped by an iconic “batwing” air-cleaner assembly. Priced from $5,932, just 500 examples of these highly equipped and very stylish cars were produced for 1955.

Far more than a mere design statement, the 1955 Caribbean shared its highly sophisticated mechanical specifications with the rest of the Packard model range, for a premium driving experience to match. An innovative front and rear torsion-bar suspension system included automatic leveling, making the 1955 Packards some of the smoothest riding and best handling full-size cars of the era. In addition, Packard’s Ultramatic automatic transmission was updated with a locking torque converter, offering the economy and performance of a manual unit with the operating ease of an automatic.

Here is your opportunity to acquire an extremely rare mid-1950s American legend, and one of the last “true” Packards built before the Studebaker takeover and the demise of Packard as an independent luxury-market manufacturer. Powered by the 352 cubic-inch, 275-horsepower Packard V-8 engine fed by factory dual-quad carburetors, luxury truly meets performance with this 1955 Caribbean, which continues to benefit from a high-level restoration and careful preservation. In addition to the highly regarded torsion-bar, self-levelling suspension, plus power-assisted brakes, power steering, power windows, a power-operated convertible top, a pushbutton AM radio with twin radio antennae, and automatic transmission. Carrying a great presence with its tri-color livery, this iconic 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible presents bidders with an ideal opportunity to acquire a sophisticated and highly collectible, late-production example of the historic Packard marque.

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