Video: Introducing the 1953 Packard Caribbean

1953 Packard Caribbean 2 DCPresenting 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.

 

4 thoughts on “Video: Introducing the 1953 Packard Caribbean

  1. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a Packard man and took great pride in demonstrating how smooth and slowly the straight 8 engines idled. One was a convertible of about this year but I don’t know if it was a Caribbean. I need to go through the old family photos and see.

  2. Packard went from stately cars in the 30’s and 40’s to lumpy boats in the 50’s. No wonder they went under, they just didn’t have the styling the earlier cars had. Never seen any at shows now, either. I guess when the new wore off of them, they became used cars that got used up and thrown away.

  3. Just a note of correction, the Caribbeans were made from Standard Convertibles that were sent off to be converted to Caribbeans, and then they were based on the 250 chassis in 1953. The Cavaliers were sedans, and were built on the 300 chassis. No such thing as a Cavalier Convertible, the correct term would be “Standard Convertible”.

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