Lot 232

Hershey 2023

1953 Packard Caribbean


$63,250 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Vehicle No.
US Title
  • The “last great Packard;” a dignified, exclusive, and sporting Packard ideal for club events
  • One of only 750 examples built during the model’s first year of availability, with styling and powertrain exclusive to 1953
  • Finished in the stunning color combination of Caribbean Cream over maroon and tan leather upholstery beneath a maroon cloth top
  • Wonderfully presented older restoration
  • Accompanied by invoices dating back to 2013

The Packard Motor Car Company was not known for sporty cars—indeed, its sterling reputation was built on machines of an entirely different nature. Yet by the early 1950s, it was experimenting with the very of-the-moment sportscar concept, resulting in the striking Pan American show car of 1952. Packard eventually commissioned Henney Motor Co. to build six Pan Americans, but the long, low, and lean show-stand stunner, which lacked practicalities such as a rear seat and featured costly “sectioned” bodywork, was deemed a bit too far afield for the automaker and was never greenlit for full production.

The Pan American did, however, lead directly to the Packard Caribbean, which worked many of the show car’s distinctive styling cues into a more practical package. Mitchell-Bentley of Ionia, Michigan was tasked with building these “factory custom” cars, which received special flared wheel openings, “senior” horizontal taillamps, a marked lack of side chrome, and a hood with a prominent, full-width scoop.

Beneath that hood was Packard’s 327-cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder engine, producing 180 horsepower and plenty of torque thanks to a four-barrel carburetor. Paired with Packard’s three-speed column-shift manual transmission, this powertrain afforded respectable performance smoothly delivered. Power brakes helped bring the substantial car to a sure stop. Further power features included the hydraulically actuated convertible top and windows.

The Caribbean’s substantial $5,210 price tag and limited run of just 750 examples for its 1953 debut ensured that it was, and would remain, a highly exclusive automobile. While production continued in 1954 with an all-new model arriving for 1955, the 1953 Caribbean received special, one-year-only styling touches; most notable were radiused, skirt-less rear wheel arches highlighted with subtle brightwork. Whitewall-wrapped wire wheels and a standard rear continental kit completed the car’s look, while an additional spare was in the trunk.

This stunning 1953 Caribbean benefits from a comprehensive restoration completed in 2005 to concours standards. Offered today in the stellar color combination of Caribbean Cream over maroon and tan leather upholstery beneath a matching maroon cloth top, this Packard still presents incredibly well with bright chrome trim and a plush and rich interior. Appealing period details like twin spotlights mounted at the A-pillars complement the look. The current owner acquired this convertible in 2013. Invoices on file show the car received exhaust repairs and a gas tank cleaning in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

An iconic and exclusive automobile, the Packard Caribbean was a rare sight in the 1950s and is even more uncommon today. Like all Packards, this example exhibits the brand’s finest attributes of elegance, refinement, and quality in great measure.