Amelia Island | Lot 184

1954 Packard Caribbean Convertible

$104,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

9 March 2013

  • Offered from the collection of Eugene Beardslee
  • Packard’s limited edition 1950s custom cruiser
  • Well-restored in beautiful colors and fully optioned

212 bhp, 359 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder engine, two-speed Ultramatic Drive automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, semi-floating rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 122 in.

After surviving the Great Depression and World War II, the Packard Motor Car Company required an automobile that would reestablish its once-prestigious perch atop the American luxury car market. For 1953, Mitchell-Bentley, of Ionia, Michigan, was sent 750 standard Packard convertibles, which they customized into a new, limited edition ragtop, to be dubbed the Caribbean. With its highly distinguished design and luxurious appointments—standard power everything, full rich leather interior, three-way radio with power antenna, and five Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels—the Caribbean came to represent the penultimate expression of Packard quality, luxury, and style.

The model continued into 1954 with newly restyled headlamp rims, chrome trim added to the hood scoop, and lowered rear wheel housings, as well as two-tone paintwork, “Caribbean” script added to the rear fenders, and side moldings that swept off the beltline and slipped below the crest of the rear fenders into a distinctive taillight treatment. This was the final year for the original Caribbean design, and for the second time around, only 400 were made. As a result, the 1954 models are the hardest to find of the first generation Caribbeans.

The car offered here is fresh from the long-term collection of the late Eugene Beardslee. It was the subject of a frame-off restoration by the late Packard expert Robert Turnquist’s Hibernia Restorations to “like-new” condition, some documentation of which, including itemized bills and a step-by-step description of the work, will be included in the sale. Finished in Gulf Green and Sahara Sand, the Caribbean is equipped with both available options, power windows and seats, and it is further reported by the owner that not only does it run and drive well, but all equipment is properly functioning “as it should.” The car has been driven fewer than 50 miles since restoration; thus, it presents a beautiful chance for a new owner to enjoy a Hibernia-restored Caribbean that is still much as it was when it left the shop.

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