1953 Packard Caribbean Convertible

1953 Packard Caribbean

Make: Packard
Model: Caribbean
Type: Convertible
Year: 1953
Mileage: 7,000
VIN: 26782130
Color: polaris blue
Engine: 327 thunderbolt
Cylinders: 8
Transmission: Automatic
Interior color: Blue/white
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Denver, Colorado, United States
Extras
power top, Power Windows, Power Seats
Convertible, Leather Seats
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Description for Packard Caribbean 1953

Packard introduced the Caribbean in 1953. Based on Packard’s non-production 1952 show car, the Pan American convertible, the Caribbean utilized a Cavalier body that was heavily modified by the Mitchell-Bentley Corporation of Ionia, Michigan. The hood featured a full-width scoop, the taillights were horizontal in “fishtail” rear fenders, and the cars were fitted with chrome wire wheels, including a continental spare tire. All side trim was removed, and full rear wheel cutouts further differentiated the car from the rest of the Packard line, and the end result was a truly elegant and striking automobile.

The Caribbean was only available as a convertible, and could be ordered in four colors: Polaris Blue, Gulf Green metallic, Matador Red metallic and Sahara Sand. It was powered by the 180-hp, 327-cid straight-eight motor and at $5,210 was almost $2,000 more than the Cavalier convertible and $1,400 more than a Cadillac convertible. A total of 750 1953 Packard Caribbean convertibles were built.

I bought this car at auction in the fall of 2014. There was no description, no history, no bumpers, no grill, and nobody knew if it ran. I bought it. The transporter thought it was just an old car, so he didn't pay any mind, when he bounced it along the trailer rails. Before that time, there was not a single dent in the car. Now the driver fender is damaged, a small dent in the left quarter, and a few very small dents on the passenger side. While the car does have a lot of surface rust (from storage in a moist building) there is no rust through or holes ANYWHERE in the car!

Fluids changed, the car quickly came to life. It ran great, but one lifter rattled. We replaced it but then another did the same thing. Maybe all lifters need some renewing or resurrection to overcome the sitting time. The leather seats, door panels, carpet, steering wheel and dash are all original and very nice for the age. Even the top is original, the snaps are rusted, but the canvas is without rip or tear. The car shifts and drives, and the brakes work. The fluid was nasty in the hydraulic reservoir, but the top, seat and windows all work under power! All glass is original with no cracks. The steering wheel is smooth to the touch as a new car. The dash is as new with original key instruction stickers in place. Five original spoke wheels and wide whitewall tires.

The auction company took title of the car to preserve anonymity of the owners, so it came with virtually no history. There was an old political poster in the trunk on "period" canvas type paper. There was also a wrought iron umbrella stand, still wrapped for mailing in brown paper tied with string, mailing labels in tact. Also new-in-box bumper jack. There is a NYS inspection sticker in the windshield, and an inspection receipt from 1996 in the glove drawer, showing 6661 miles. I think the auction co would have removed if they could figure out that glove drawer slides, as opposed to a hinged door.The bumpers and grill were removed for replating, bolts stored in a coffee can, and the bumpers and grille became separated from the car. The car now has 6923 miles.

I bought a really nice 53 Clipper, and have the show quality chrome bumpers and grill from that car that can be available separately.They are NOT included in this auction. They don't have the ribbed attachments on the grill bar, or the bumper rails of the senior cars, so they would not be considered 100% correct. I have also located the original bumpers, grille, bumper rails, guards, etc, which can be purchased for a reasonable additional price.

The car is super solid, door slams and alignment are superb. There is a guy who made dies and is reproducing the front wheel opening moldings. They are chrome plated steel, so not really straightenable. I’ve included a pic of the repro, but I don not have them. I will direct you to the manufacturer. I did purchase a set of NOS chrome rocker moldings that do go with the car.

I ran an ebay ad some time ago, knowing nothing about the history of the car. Within a day of posting, I started getting messages from people who knew the car. I spoke with the Packard club magazine editor, Packard club blog moderator, the car’s long time mechanic, and the guy who actually removed the bumpers and grille for plating. All of these guys knew the car and the prior owner. They all verified the condition, history and mileage, even providing pictures of the car when NEW, and when looking new in the 80’s, before the surface rust occurred! To the dismay of more than a few interested buyers, I pulled the ad, so I could reflect on how this new information might affect the value of the car.

Provenance: The first owner of the car was Marguerite Macentee of Bronx, New York. The second owner was her daughter, Melva Macentee, former President of the Eastern Packard Club. The car appeared with Melva’s picture and story in the Autumn 2004 edition of The Packard Cormorant in the feature article “Asking the Woman Who Owns One.

If you bid on this car, be sure that you are serious. Please do not waste my time or yours. You will be required to wire an immediate non-refundable deposit within 3 days of close to demonstrate your sincerity. You will then have one week to deliver funds in full to me or my account. The decision to buy this car is an important one. I may not be able to fully describe or photo-document the condition of the car to your satisfaction. I encourage you to visit Denver to look at the car in person. Flights are generally cheap to Denver. This is a true opportunity to acquire are rare piece of automotive history.

Update: the car has been in storage now and has not run in a few years. A little tinkering will get it going again, I’m sure.

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