1955 Packard Caribbean

For more than five decades, Packard established a reputation as being one of America's top luxury car manufacturers, endured the devastating years of the Great Depression, and World War II, but would not make it through the 1950s. The Caribbean Convertible of 1955 and 1956 would be the company's last low-production, prestigious model. For 1955, the model was completely redesigned and equipped with a high-output overhead-valve V-8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors delivering 310 horsepower, put to the rear wheels via a new pushbutton Twin Ultramatic transmission. The engine did not utilize an abundance of cutting-edge technology, but it was very well-engineered and had one of the largest displacement sizes on the market. Another new and innovative feature was the torsion-bar suspension on the chassis that had automatic leveling to suit the road surface, making the Packard Caribbean the smoothest-riding and best-handling full-size car of its era.

The Packard Caribbean Convertible was a luxurious and sporting model introduced for the 1953 season and was inspired by the 'Pan American' show cars of 1952 and built to rival the Cadillac Eldorado. Packard CEO James J. Nance had been encouraged by the positive public reaction to the Pan American and gave approval for the development and production of a slightly less radical version of the Pan Americana. It was called the 'Caribbean' and came with three-tone paint schemes, an aircraft-style dash layout, power-assisted passenger amenities, and full leather interiors. The wheelbase measured 122 inches and initially boasted an independent front suspension, 327 CID V8 engine with 180 horsepower, and a three-speed manual transmission. Packard built 750 of these exclusive models in 1953 and 400 the following year. For 1955 it was extensively restyled on a new chassis and 499 examples were built, accounting for less than one percent of Packard's total production of 55,517 cars for the model year.

1955 was the first year Packard automobiles wore styling heavily influenced by automotive designer Richard A. Teague. Teague had previously worked on two Packard show cars and had influenced some of the designs on 1953 and 1954 models, but the 1955 cars would be a departure from the conservative norm due to Teague's influence. The Packard's received taillights dubbed 'Cathedral' lamps, and tri-color exterior paint.

Caribbeans came with power steering, power windows, power brakes, a power seat, and power top.

The Packard models were restyled for 1956, but by this point in history, the company was in trouble. Sales were sluggish, and a two-year-old merger with Studebaker had both companies struggling with debt. At the close of the 1956 model year, Packard's Detroit assembly and engineering operations were shut down. The company was effectively finished, although slightly disguised Indiana-built Studebakers would carry the Packard marque forward for two more years.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2020

Related Reading : Packard Caribbean History

The Packard Caribbean was a limited-production automobile produced from 1953 through 1956. It was inspired by the Pan American concept car that Packard had displayed at the 1952 New York Auto Show. It was available in convertible and hardtop form. Originally, only the convertible was offered but in 1956 the hardtop was introduced. The vehicle was outfitted with as many amenities available at the time....
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Related Reading : Packard Caribbean History

One of the signature cars of the 1950s, the Caribbean was built on the Packard 400 chassis. It featured Packards own overhead valve V8 engine with a displacement of 375 cubic inches producing 310 horsepower. An exclusive limited-production automobile, the regal Packard Caribbean was manufactured from 1953 until 1956. Offered in either convertible or hardtop form, the sleek Caribbean came with many....
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1955 Vehicle Profiles

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

The Detroit-built Packard was completely restyled for 1955, and prestige was still found in the glamorous and exclusive Caribbean models. As it went head-to-head with Cadillac one last time, the boldly designed Packard offered a wraparound windshield....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 55881335

By 1955, all Packard models featured an innovative front and rear torsion bar suspension system with automatic leveling. A pair of modern overhead-valve V-8 engines were introduced, displacing 320 and 352 cubic-inches with 225 and 275 horsepower, res....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 55881163

Of the 'Three Ps', consisting of Packard, Peerless and Pierce-Arrow, only Packard emerged from the Great Depression. Part of their survival was due to the strength of a line of medium-priced cars introduced in 1935. The new 'Clipper' styling in 194....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 5588-1220

This 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $80,000-$100,000. It is powered by a 352 cubic-inch overhead valve V8 engine capable of producing 275 ho....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 55881258

This Caribbean Convertible has a tri-tone exterior finish and powered by a 352 cubic-inch V8 engine offering 275 horsepower and breathing through a dual Rochester carburetor and the iconic 'batwing' air cleaner. There is a Twin-Ultramatic automatic ....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

This car is one of only 500 Caribbean's produced in 1955. It was the flag-shift of the Packard line, costing $6,000. Standard equipment includes power steering, brakes, seats, windows, antennas and two 4-barrel carburetors. The engine is rated at ....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 5588-1341

This Packard Caribbean Convertible is finished in the colors of Dover White, Zircon Blue, and Grey Pearl. It was acquired by the late Jack Nichols while he was attending a show in New Jersey. ....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 55881437

There were only 500 examples of the Packard Caribbean created and this example has less than 60,000 original miles. It was treated to a complete frame up restoration and finished in a three-tone White Jade, Turquoise, and Pearl Grey exterior. It ha....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 5588-1269

By 1955, all Packard models now featured a front and rear Torsion-Level suspension system, which automatically leveled the car to suit the road surfaces, offering a smooth ride and better-handling than many other full-size automobiles of that era. Po....[continue reading]

1955 Packard Caribbean vehicle information

Custom Convertible

Chassis Num: 5588-1033

This 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible is believed to be the 33rd built that year and left the factory finished in triple Onyx with a white convertible top and boot cover. The car was sold new through James L. Cooke Motors Limited of Toronto, Ontari....[continue reading]

Custom Convertible
 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 55881335 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 55881163 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 5588-1220 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 55881258 
 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 5588-1341 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 55881437 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 5588-1269 
Custom Convertible
Chassis #: 5588-1033 


1955 Packard Concepts

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Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$1,070-$5,930
1955 Caribbean
$5,930-$18,050
1955 Packard Caribbean Base Price : $5,930

$2,585 - $3,075

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Packard
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)2,622
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)4,809
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)10,353
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)55,247
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)31,291
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)90,252
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)69,988
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)100,713
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)42,627

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