NEW PRICE! One of less than 10 built in Packard Ivory, which was a late addition. New paint, chrome, interior, and rebuilt engine 2012. New exhaust and tires. Power windows and top fully operational. Drives great and it’s gorgeous!
The Caribbean was built for four years, and each enthusiast has their own favorite style, but a great many believe that the 1953 Caribbean was the purest, most elegant design and the last of the truly great straight-8 Packards. The radiused rear wheel openings are the primary difference and it’s significant—the ’53 looks sporting and lithe, while later cars with skirts tended towards heavy and ponderous. Look at the difference and you’ll see it’s significant. Then there’s the color combination on this car, which is Packard Ivory over red leather, a late addition to the roster and available as special-order only. Some estimates suggest that fewer than 10 (out of 750 total 1953 Caribbeans) were painted this color, making it a highly desirable car among highly desirable cars. In 2012, the car was treated to a bare metal respray and the finish still shows extremely well, with a soft shine that’s entirely appropriate for a product of the 1950s. Gaps are very good, and yes, that hood scoop—which was hand-fashioned out of lead on the assembly line—looks better than ever. Most of the chrome was refinished at that same time and shows beautifully today, particularly the distinctive trim around the wheel arches and along the sills.
The red leather interior is exactly the right choice with the Ivory bodywork, creating a flashy yet sophisticated contrast that feels sporting not dated. The hides are in great condition with only minimal signs of use and no tears, splits, or scuffs on the seating surfaces. Matching red carpets are deep and plush, helping to keep the interior quiet and comfortable and the simple door panels are an exercise in good taste and restraint. The standard Packard dashboard puts a three-gauge pod ahead of the driver, and this car carries original, unrestored gauges that are the only part of the interior that hasn’t been freshened. Packard logo floor mats protect those plush carpets and this car is equipped with optional power windows that all go up and down easily. It's worth noting that the radio and power antenna are also fully operational. There’s also a black canvas power convertible top that folds easily and stows under a matching black boot. The trunk is positively massive with the spare in the continental kit, and it’s beautifully trimmed in matching red carpets.
The ultra-smooth and surprisingly powerful 327 cubic inch straight-8 used in 1953 is a great runner. With a 4-barrel carburetor and a rather 8.0:1 compression ratio, it makes 180 of the most creamy-smooth horsepower you’ve ever experienced. There’s nary a vibration or shudder and effortless torque at any speed. That’s what owning a Packard is all about. The engine was rebuilt to stock specifications in 2012 and has not been driven much since then so it’s still very fresh. It starts quickly and easily with the accelerator pedal-mounted starter switch and idles smoothly and almost silently after a few moments on the choke. Corporate gray engine enamel is a little industrial for the high-end Caribbean, but that’s how it was in 1953. There are new ignition components, fresh belts and hoses, and the hydraulic pump for the windows and top was rebuilt, and you’ll note power steering is part of the deal, making this Packard extremely easy to handle.
We don’t believe the body has ever been off the frame, but on a clean car it’s not really necessary. The chassis is coated in a layer of black undercoating, presumably to seal and protect rather than hide, and we can’t find any evidence of rot or previous damage. Packard’s “UltraMatic” 2-speed automatic transmission isn’t sophisticated but it’s durable and smooth, and the smooth straight-8 makes so much torque that it rarely needs a downshift. 3.54 gears in the rear axle make this car feel quick and lively around town and it’s a smooth, comfortable cruiser at 65 MPH. Gorgeous chrome wire wheels (not hubcaps) look properly upscale and carry recent 225/75/15 wide whitewall radials that really upgrade the ride and handling.
Beautiful to look at and delightful to drive, the Caribbean embodies all the traditional Packard values that make the marque so special. With a rare color combination and great road manners, this will quickly become one of your favorite cars to drive. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com