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1 of 276 1956 Packard Carribeans Found

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  • 1 of 276 1956 Packard Carribeans Found

    (snippet copy, see link for complete article with pic's)

    AUG 14, 2020 • FOR SALE • 24 COMMENTS
    1 of 276: 1956 Packard Caribbean Garage Find!
    Russ Dixon
    For 1956, the Caribbean was the top-of-the-line Packard. And the last built in Detroit. For 1957, production was consolidated with Studebaker in South Bend and the 58-year-old marque would begin to fade away. The 1957-58 Packards were simply redressed Stubebakers. This 1956 Caribbean convertible is said to be a garage find where it looks to have been sitting under a tarp. The seller suggests it might not take a lot to get it running again. Located in Cicero, Indiana, the car is available here on eBay where it’s listed with no reserve!
    Both Packard and Studebaker were having their own financial woes at the mid-point of the 20th Century and joined forces in 1953 to become Studebaker-Packard Corporation. At least for the Packard camp, this move only postponed the inevitable and the brand disappeared altogether in 1958 after masquerading as Studebakers for the past two years. The 1956 Packards were the last of the real deal.
    The Caribbean was a personal luxury car produced by Packard from 1953-56 and got some of its styling cues from the Pan American Packard show car in 1952. At first, it was only available as a convertible, but a hardtop was added for the final year of production. Interiors of the Caribbean were upholstered in leather and the cars were loaded with goodies, like the push-button Ultramatic transmission and power windows. For the final year of the Caribbean, it saw just 263 hardtops and 276 convertibles built.
    We’re only treated to one photo of the exterior of the seller’s car, so the paint looks pretty tired, but the ginormous chrome bumper and glass may be okay. The Caribbean appears to have been finished in a trio combination of Dover White/Scottish Heather/Adriatic Blue Metallic. We only see a portion of the convertible top and it doesn’t appear to have any issues, but the tarp covers much of it.
    The engine under the hood should be Packard’s 374 cubic inch with dual 4-barrel carb that put out 310 hp. This configuration was only available in the Caribbean for 1956. The seller may have tried to get it going as we’re told that rust in the fuel lines is the only known problem. But if it’s not running, how do we know what other issues there are from sitting? We’re told the odometer reading is about 73,000 miles.
    What we can see of the interior seems to have held up. We don’t get to see much of the front seat, but the leather in the back looks fairly good. And one door panel, steering wheel and dashboard seem okay. We’re not sure about the floor coverings and the condition of the trunk floor. Lots of badly worn boxes and parts as well as a second spare tire tend to cover things up.
    Any way you cut it, this car will require a restoration, but it’s hard to tell how far that has to go with the lack of good visuals. For the four-year run of the Caribbean, the 1953 (first year) model seems to generate the most collector interest and six-figures for a spotless copy is not unheard of. Hagerty says a Concours 1956 hardtop should be worth $40,000, so the ragtop would be higher.

    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

  • #2
    The merger year is incorrect.
    The eBay auction is at $13,300 with two days left.

    EDIT: I know two people that own these. I have ridden in one. They are a nice car. Have at it, I am not about to take this one on.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer


    • #3
      I feel most privileged to have actually driven one of these incredible luxury machines. The torsion bar suspension leveling system was, I believe, a first and to this day not copied. What the advertisement is not telling is that the seat cushions were totally removable with a rich brocade fabric on one side for warm winter driving and supple leather on the reverse side for cool summer comfort. What innovation. The steering column had a pod extending from it on the right and contained push buttons for the transmission selection. I don't believe this configuration was used by any other manufacturer besides Chrysler. The owner was a Russian immigrant circa 1971 in Greater Vancouver, BC and owned approximately 12 of these unique Packards strewn between Canada and Nevada/California. (I saw some of his pics). He died and I lost track of George and his superb collection. Does anyone have any information on the disposition of his cars? If I remember correctly, I believe they were all Caribbeans. I hope they found appreciative homes. He addressed the transmission issues himself and always described to me the torque multiplication of this unique transmission. Undoubtedly he was a very intelligent gentleman.
      Perhaps this unit has Jack's name on it.


      • #4
        Now that's what you call a true survivor


        • #5
          Here's the ebay listing:

          A bit scant on underbody condition and photos. This is the kind of car the it would be real easy to get upside down real fast, but on the other hand it could be a great opportunity if you're into the last of the Detroit Packards.
          Dan Peterson
          Montpelier, VT
          1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
          1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)


          • #6
            My small hometown dealer sold one of these new--color pic in link below, on delivery day. It was serial 5699-1258 and survives in restored condition, on Packard wire wheels, in the Netherlands.

            Bill Pressler
            Kent, OH
            (formerly Greenville, PA)
            Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
            Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
            1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
            1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
            All are in Australia now


            • #7
              The location is given as Cicero IN....a northern Indianapolis suburb, so it's all but in my back yard and I'd never heard of it. You never know.

              I love those cars but someone with deep pockets had better undertake this one if they intend to restore it. It might be possible to make it a "surviving driver" without getting upside down, however, which would be cool. The push-button electric shift might need attention, but they can be repaired.

              'Neat car! Thanks for the post, Jeff. BP
              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

              Ayn Rand:
              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

              G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.


              • #8
                In the late 60's and early 70's I used to hang around the Avanti II plant in South Bend. Most times Nate Altman would politely (one time not so politely!) ask me to leave the cars alone. On my way out I always stopped to admire his beautiful daily driver, a Caribbean convertible in spectacular condition. Great memories.


                • #9
                  Before I went into the Navy I was driving a very nice '56 Packard Clipper. I really liked that car. When I came home 6 years later it was gone. I asked my dad where it went and he told me he sold it to a buddy who needed a car. When I asked how much he sold it for he said "$250.00". I nearly cried. I sure wish I had that car today.
                  Ed Sallia
                  Dundee, OR

                  Sol Lucet Omnibus


                  • #10
                    During the mid-50s, our next-door neighbor worked for the advertising agency that had the Packard account, and he occasionally drove one of these home after a photo-shoot somewhere. (Beside his daily-driver Packard, he owned a 33 Auburn V12.) I was at the right age to become a car nut when these were introduced, and remember the reversible seat cushions and that massive 374 ci V8. He gave me copies of all of the available Packard sales literature, and I memorized all of the vital statistics. Unfortunately, when I went away to college. all that stuff went into the trash.
                    Skip Lackie


                    • #11
                      Sold ! $22,200


                      • #12
                        About pushbuttons: Our second car that my folks bought used in 1963, was a 1959 Rambler Super that had a push button selector on the left side of the dash. It was different than the Packard in that it was direct linkage to the transmission. Dick Teague told me that on the Packard you had to make sure the Park setting was engaged before you shut off the car otherwise there were problems with the transmission selector. I think Chrysler used cables on their pushbuttons. Prior to 1956, the 1955 Mopars used a lever coming out of the dash. It was revived in the later 60's on Dodge trucks and vans and has been revived again on the late model Dodge Caravans.

                        I am full of useless knowledge or full of something else

                        Bob Miles


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Buzzard View Post
                          The steering column had a pod extending from it on the right and contained push buttons for the transmission selection. I don't believe this configuration was used by any other manufacturer besides Chrysler.
                          I believe that was exclusive to Packard with the automatic pushbutton selector pod mounted on the column. As others have stated, Chrysler vehicles had theirs on the dash.

                          The only other car I've seen with a column-mounted pushbutton gear pre-selector was a 1918 Premier in a museum. The unit was made by Cutler-Hammer, and one selected the gear in advance, and pushed in the clutch to change it.



                          • #14
                            IIRC, Edsel had the push buttons in the steering wheel.
                            78 Avanti RQB 2792
                            64 Avanti R1 R5408
                            63 Avanti R1 R4551
                            63 Avanti R1 R2281
                            62 GT Hawk V15949
                            56 GH 6032504
                            56 GH 6032588
                            55 Speedster 7160047
                            55 Speedster 7165279


                            • #15
                              You are correct Sir! Ford had trouble with that so they only were offered in 1958. I heard that people were used to that being the horn button and would possibly change gears when they meant to honk.

                              Bob Miles