1953 Packard Caribbean - $69,900
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  • Overview & History
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For many enthusiasts, the 1953 Caribbean is the most attractive of the bunch, featuring radiused wheel arches, a lot of extra chrome, and the continental kit out back—there’s no mistaking it for anything else.

Highly documented 3-owner car with known history from new. Repainted in the 1990s, still in fantastic condition. Well-preserved original interior. Recently rebuilt engine and transmission. Beautiful Caribbean in ready-to-use condition.

This lovely Caribbean has been a part of the car hobby in Pennsylvania for decades, so many viewers may recognize it right away. It has a known history from new, including extensive documentation from the original owner, and it’s one of those cars that has always been ready to enjoy. It was treated to a very high quality repaint in the mid-1990s, but don’t let its age fool you—this Packard is still in superb condition throughout. The Gulf Green finish has a brilliant shine, but that’s only part of the story. You’ll also find exceptionally straight original bodywork underneath, and as the last of the coachbuilt Packards, the quality is tangible throughout. For many enthusiasts, the 1953 Caribbean is the most attractive of the bunch, featuring radiused wheel arches, a lot of extra chrome, and the continental kit out back—there’s no mistaking it for anything else. And speaking of chrome, most of the brightwork on this car has been restored to show standards, giving it a sparkling, highly detailed look that suits the Packard flagship just fine. It’s a driver, yes, but it was restored like it was destined for the show field.

Remarkably enough, the two-tone green and white interior is almost entirely original and beautifully preserved. There are some who might think it’s not up to the standards of the bodywork, but for fans of preservation and authenticity, it’s hard to beat. The leather shows a few creases and other signs of use, but nothing major and after nearly 70 years, it’s in remarkable condition. The seats are still comfortable and you’ll feel important sliding behind that oversized white plastic steering wheel. The Caribbean used the standard Packard three-element instrument panel, which covers the basics and uses warning lights for oil pressure and generator. Sadly, the clock and radio are not operational, although the power antenna works as it should. We believe the carpets have been replaced at some point, but they did an excellent job of it using correct green leather for the binding. The power convertible top works as it should and we’re not sure if it’s the original top or simply an older replacement, but it’s in good condition with a clear plastic rear window, and it stows under a matching vinyl boot to give the car a clean top-down look. The trunk is spacious, particularly with the spare tire stowed on the rear bumper, and it comes with a neatly finished gray mat.

The only engine available in the Caribbean was Packard’s smooth and torquey 327 cubic inch straight-8. With a 4-barrel carburetor, it was rated at a rather stout 180 horsepower. Like all Packards, the real story is torque, and that makes the Caribbean accelerate effortlessly and cruise easily at today’s highway speeds. Thanks to a recent rebuild, it starts easily and runs beautifully, and there’s only the most hushed whisper from the single tailpipe out back. It’s finished in correct Packard Gray engine enamel with no notable modifications—original carburetor with oil bath air cleaner, accessory oil filter, and correct cast iron manifolds. The two-speed Ultra-matic automatic transmission was rebuilt at the same time and offers seamless shifts and a low-key demeanor that never gets in the way. There’s enough torque on tap that it doesn’t need many downshifts and it’ll pull the big ragtop to supra-legal speeds without breaking a sweat. If you want a tireless highway cruiser that’ll keep up with traffic, the Caribbean is a great choice. It also includes power steering and power brakes, so anyone can handle the big ragtop, and ride quality is fantastic. The power steering system has been recently serviced and there are recent shocks all around. You’ll note that the body has never been off the frame, but there’s zero rot and the floors are completely solid. Chrome wire wheels were standard equipment, with these carrying recent 235/75/15 wide whitewall radials for improved ride and handling.

Documentation is extensive. We have the original bill of sale, dealer correspondence from Reedman Motors in Trenton, NJ, and data card (yes, even in 1953 they were using those). We also have correspondence between the second and first owners, maintenance receipts, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, and much more. Both a factory service manual and a parts list are included as well.

This was Packard’s flagship in 1953, built to contend on equal footing with the Cadillac Eldorado and Buick Skylark. Dramatic styling, competent road manners, and limited edition cachet all helped make it one of the great cars of the 1950s. And there are many who would argue that this is the last great Packard, built without regard to cost for a shrinking clientele who insisted on only the very best. With a wonderful combination of authenticity and quality, this is the Caribbean to own if you love to drive. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1953 Packard Caribbean
Price: $69,900
Stock Number: 119070
Odometer Reading: 5435
VIN: 26782429
Engine: 327 cubic inch straight-8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 122 inches
Wheels: 15-inch chrome wire wheels
Tires: 235/75/15 wide whitewall radial
Exterior Color: Gulf Green
Interior Color: Green leather
Untitled Document

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