Presenting Packard’s premium luxury convertible for 1953, the Caribbean. This original Packard commercial spot shows off all the exclusive features.
Gearheads of today will get a grin out of the introduction to this original 1953 Packard clip, in which the new Packard Caribbean is introduced as a “sports car.” Go ahead and laugh, but by Packard standards the Caribbean was a sports car of sorts, with a racy full-width hood scoop, wire wheels, continental kit, leather interior, and flashy cutout wheel openings accentuated with thick chrome moldings. However, mechanically the Caribbean was a standard production Packard, with a 327 CID Thunderbolt L-head straight eight under the hood sporting a Carter four-barrel carb and 180 hp.
Based on Packard’s popular 1952 show car, the Pan American convertible designed by Richard Arbib, the Caribbean was intended to compete against other limited-edition luxury convertibles including the Buick Skylark, Olds Fiesta, and Cadillac Eldorado. Finished Packard Cavalier convertibles were taken from the assembly line on East Grand Boulevard in Detroit and shipped to the Mitchell-Bentley Corp. in Ionia, Michigan, where the extensive sheet metal and interior modifications were performed.
Launched as a mid-year model in January of 1953 with a list price $5,210, the Caribbean cost nearly $2,000 more than a standard Packard ragtop, but dropped comfortably into the same price bracket as the Fiesta and Skylark. Sales were fairly respectable, too, at 750 units the first year. Video below.