Packard of the mid 1950s was a rather different company than it was back in the heady pre-war classic era. Sales were slowing in the face of competition by the might of GM and Ford and a merger with Studebaker was in the works by 1954 in attempt to boost Packards market share and balance the books of both firms. Despite the looming trouble Packards new boss swept in from GE and immediately began to emulate what Cadillac was doing across town. For 1953 Packard tossed their hat into the ring with an ultra-luxurious personal car; the new Caribbean was a direct answer to the Cadillac Eldorado as well as a halo model intended to restore shine to the tarnished Packard brand.The Caribbean sat above the 300 and was loaded with leather trim and luxury equipment. The first cars wore standard bodies that were modified by Mitchell-Bentley Corporation of Michigan to feature a low wide hood scoop and fully rounded rear wheel arches. Each year the Caribbean evolved with freshened styling and updated power to keep it in lock-step with Cadillac though sales never topped the initial years 750 units. By 1956 Caribbean was its own separate line with both a coupe and convertible offered to clients and tweaked styling based on the 400. 1956 models were powered by the 375 cubic inch Packard V8 topped with dual four-barrel Rochester carburetors and producing 310 horsepower putting it at the top of its class. Packards merger with Studebaker was failing however and by the end of 1956 the famous Detroit plant would be shut down and production moved to South Bend. The 1956 Caribbean was the last true luxury Packard the final chapter of over a half-century of the brand.This 1956 Caribbean coupe is a fine example from the final year of true Packard production. It is one of just 263 coupes built in 1956 slightly fewer than the convertible. In classic mid-century style it is finished in a tri-tone combination with plenty of chrome and stainless jewelry. The main body is finished in Dover White over a Scottish Heather stripe and Maltese Gray rockers. The paint quality is good on this older restoration with a few minor flaws to be found on close inspection yet remaining quite attractive and shiny overall. A signature of the Caribbean coupe is the white vinyl-covered roof this car wearing very good correct grained material. Being a classic 50s luxury car there is lots of bright trim. The chrome plating is generally quite good showing a bit of pitting and age in a few places but remaining quite attractive overall. Polished stainless belt moldings separate the tri-tone paint scheme and present in good condition. A set of beautiful chrome wire wheels with Packard-logo centers look just fantastic wrapped in wide whitewall tires de rigueur for 50s flagship motoring.Inside this Packard has a rather unique party trick the front and rear seat cushions are reversible between leather and fabric surfaces. The cushions simply unsnap from the base are flipped over and snapped back in place. Its a delightful feature that harkens back to a day when designers were truly pushing the boundaries of creativity. Those reversible seats feature tri-tone leather on one side and two-tone metallic fabric on the other. Upholstery quality is excellent showing in very good order on both sides. The leather door panels are very good as is the extensive interior brightwork while carpets are fair. The dash is a magnificent display of mid-century modern design; its gold textured pattern interspersed with an array of chrome instruments and emblems. The padded dash top is covered in gray vinyl and in excellent condition with no signs of shrinking or cracking. The original radio remains in the dash and the switchgear is in good order with equipment including power windows brakes and steering. A lovely Packard crest ignition key adds a sense of occasion to every drive.Beneath the hood is Packards robust and powerful 375 cubic inch V8 which is topped with dual Rochester 4bbl carburetors and a distinctive batwing air cleaner. In this unique Caribbean spec the Packard V8 makes 310 horsepower delivering that power through a push-button Ultramatic transmission. The engine bay is very well detailed with excellent quality paint finishes and largely correct fittings such as the original glass washer bottle and accessories.This fine Caribbean coupe is a very usable and attractive example that has benefitted from regular maintenance and use. It ticks all the right boxes for fans of big American luxury cars of the 1950s; it is hugely stylish very rare and it represents the last of the legendary line of proper Detroit-built Packards.
This 1956 Packard Caribbean was listed for sale on 9-12-17 06:47:28. The vehicle color is not available and VIN is
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