<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551

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Lot 108
1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible

US$ 65,000 - 80,000
£ 53,000 - 65,000
1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible
Chassis no. L411551

327ci OHV "Thunderbolt" Inline 8 Cylinder Engine
Single 4 Barrel Carburetor
180bhp
2-Speed Automatic Gearbox
Independent Front with Live Rear Axle Transmission
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Wonderful Restoration
*Splendid Polaris Blue paint
*One of the most attractive American cars of the 1950s
*Formerly part of the Frank Cooke Collection


THE PACKARD CARIBBEAN

The 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible is such a handsome automobile, so in tune with its time, so tastefully turned out and elegantly configured that it is a tragedy that Packard management completely missed the chord this limited production model struck with the mid-Fifties automobile market when it was belatedly introduced in January 1953.

Taking its cues from the 1952 Pan American show car designed under Dick Teague's guidance by Richard Arbib, the Caribbean was primarily Teague's work. The design featured a lowered chassis, a low air scoop at the very front of the hood, full rear wheel well cutout, "fishtail" rear fender termination, chrome Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels, exclusive wheel arch and rocker panel chrome moldings, special window sill chrome trim that dipped down to accent the curve of the front of the rear fender and a rear mounted enclosed spare wheel and tire.

The Caribbean was powered by the 180 horsepower, 4-barrel carburetor, high compression cylinder head version of Packard's estimable 327 cubic inch straight eight engine with Ultramatic automatic transmission. Like the Pan American, the Caribbean eschewed chrome side trim and the rear fender "jet pods" that cluttered up other Packard's flanks.

It was clean, distinctive, sharp and elegant. It also was well received in the market but little preparation had been made for production and deliveries didn't start until March 1953. Despite its late introduction and shipping delays by the end of 1953 Packard production 750 had been built.

Production of the Caribbean began when standard Packard convertibles were shipped to the Mitchell-Bentley Corporation in Iona, Michigan where the standard convertibles were modified with their Caribbean elements. Included in the treatment was a full leather interior and paint in one of only four colors: Packard's famous Polaris Blue, Gulf Green, Matador Maroon or Sahara Sand. Hand assembled and carefully finished in a quality-oriented environment, the Packard Caribbean convertibles were the top of Packard's line in 1953, with a list price of $5,210 that was exceeded only by the semi-custom Patrician corporate/executive series sedans and limousines.

Packard, however, and its new management headed by former Hotpoint appliance executive James Nance, had its eye firmly fixed on the dual goals of cost reduction and reasserting Packard's leadership in the luxury sedan field. They had a winner on their hands in the Caribbean and it pointed right to the combination of high performance and comfort as being what the market wanted. Customers were writing checks, big checks, for Caribbeans while Nance and his colleagues were trying to figure out ways to build four-door sedans in larger numbers for less money. It was only one of several missteps which led to Packard's demise, but it was a crucial oversight that robbed Packard of the one key element for success in the automobile business: exciting product.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The 1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible offered here was restored a few years ago is finished in Packard Polaris Blue with Blue and Cream leather interior and a beautiful matching Blue Hartz cloth top. Previously purchased out of the Frank Cook collection, it is simply stunning, as beautiful an example of a limited production American convertible as was built anywhere in the mid-Fifties. The vehicle now resides under the care of a private lady enthusiast. It is every bit as desirable as its limited production convertible counterparts from GM, and it is rarer and more refined. Its refinement is particularly apparent in comparison with later Packard Caribbeans which depended upon flamboyant multi-color paint schemes for their impact. This 1953 Packard Caribbean relies instead on subtlety which emphasizes its lines, proportion and balance.

The paint, chrome, interior, chassis and engine compartment are nearly as fresh as when they were restored. The body panels are straight and flat. The panel gaps are tight and even. The chrome is brilliant, particularly when contrasted with the deep blue paint.

This was an outstanding automobile in 1953 and it is an even more outstanding automobile today, 67 years later.
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<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
<b>1953 Packard Caribbean Custom Convertible</b><br />Chassis no. L411551
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, number VI/1087220/1