Packard called it their “Halo” car, the flagship model that represented everything Packard stood for during the classic ’50s era. The 1955 Packard Carribean Convertible was a benchmark design for Packard. With its dual hood scoops, dual synchronized power antennas, cut away wheel wells and all that gorgeous chrome … man, that’s when a car was a car. And the Packard Caribbean was the one that even Cadillac envied.
A fine example of a 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible was listed in the Cars On Line.com Packard Section this week. The seller from Hamburg, New York told us he found this treasure in San Antonio several years ago. Finished in desirable Packard Ivory over Matador Red and black tri-color exterior with matching leather interior, this Caribbean convertible came with all options standard except air conditioning. The seller told us he had done a detailed frame-on restoration. The car was very nice when he found it in Texas. But he said he got carried away replacing all the chrome, new tri-color paint, new top, new leather interior and more. “Once you get started you know it’s hard to stop,” he said. The 352 Packard motor was rebuilt.
The 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible brought great changes to the automotive world. A new skin gave the bodies a distinctly different appearance, and the distinctive rear fender treatment applied above the taillights made it different than any Packard before it. The larger 352 ci 5.8 Liter V8 was fed by dual 4-barrel carburetors housed in the iconic Batwing air cleaner, and the new electrically-operated Torsion Level suspension was standard.
All Packard models featured this new innovative front and rear torsion bar suspension system with automatic leveling. It also had a live rear axle, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. One has to notice the deluxe “space age” dashboard, way ahead of its time.
Only 500 Caribbeans were produced by Packard in 1955, the lowest number during its short production life cycle from 1953 until 1956. It was the flagship of the Packard lineup with a cost of $6,000 new. When the cars were bodied at the Packard plant in 1955, they were then taken to Mitchell-Bentley Corporation for finishing. From 1953 through 1955, the Caribbean model was available only as a convertible. In 1956 Packard added a hardtop version of the Caribbean.
The 1955 Packard was one of the most technically advanced American automobiles of its day. The 1955 and 1956 Packard were the last proud lead cars produced by Packard, as the company ran into financial trouble and merged with Studebaker in its final days. Those last great Packards are highly sought after by collectors today. It is considered to be one of the Top 10 Classic Cars of the ’50s era.
This 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible was featured in the Cars On Line.com newsletter this week. Click here to see a host of classic 1950’s era cars in the new listings. Or follow this link to the Cars On Line Packard Section online where you will find choice Packard motorcars for sale from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.