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Gooding is going to auction off a really nice 53 Caribbean.   I'm a huge fan of the 53/54 and my dad has owned 4 of them over the years.

 

I prefer the styling of the 53,  but that year has the 5 main 327  while the 54 as the 9 main 359.   Both engines come with Packards version of a four barrel.

 

In the eighties I came very close to buying a couple different 53s before settling on a GT500 Shelby instead.

 

No description up yet.

 

https://www.goodingco.com/lot/1953-packard-caribbean-convertible

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1953_Packard_Caribbean_Convertible-26_JPEG_Press_qitjt3.jpg

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Wow, are there any others out there as pretty as this one? This is one of the most spectacular I've seen. Black suits the Caribbean very well.  Hard to understand why Packard couldn't last when they made cars this beautiful. There are elements of Bentley S1 and Facel Vega in that styling, and I'm sure many other neat things.

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This was Packard's "Halo" car for 1953.    Cadillac had the Eldo,  Olds had the Fiesta,  and Buick had the Skylark.   53 was a great year for cars.

 

To build the Caribbean,  Packard sent a standard convertible to Mitchell-Bentley Corporation to hand modify the body:

 

1.  Extend the rear fenders 6" and the continental kit

 

2.  Chop the hood and lead in the hood scoop

 

3.  Remove the side trim and cut the rear wheel aches out,  adding the wheel molding.

 

I think there were four factory colors:  Polaris Blue, Gulf Green, Matador Maroon, or Sahara Sand but I think you could get a custom color like this black.

 

I would say 1/2 of the cars are the gulf green like my dad's car.

 

 

 

 

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I think if I ever get one I'll get a 54 just for the bigger engine.   Although I prefer the styling of the 53.   The two cars look different but are practically identical,  upgraded engine,  different dash and the rear quarter treatment are the differences.

 

Typically the 54 is two tone which I'm not a fan of,  but Mecum actually sold a one tone black car a few years ago which gives you a good comparison between the years.

1953_Packard_Caribbean_Convertible-12_JPEG_Press_hxxjv6.jpg

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I hope they get a good result. I couldn't give mine away--the Caribbean market has tanked (they were 6-figure cars less than 10 years ago, mine sold in the $60s). The black is attractive and I believe it was a late addition to the color pallet, as was the Packard Cream on mine (introduced April 1953). Obviously far fewer were made in that color than the standard colors and most experts thought fewer than 10 cream ones were built. Black has to be just as rare. I can't recall ever seeing one before.

 

Personally, I much prefer the distinctiveness of the '53. The '54 just looks like a regular Packard with some extra trim, but the radiused rear wheel arch really makes the car. And while my expectations for the 327 were modest pulling that much heavy convertible, it was actually a wonderful performer with plenty of torque and very easy to drive like a modern car. I'm not sure I'd trade the good looks of the '53 for the marginal improvements in performance in a '54.

 

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

I hope they get a good result. I couldn't give mine away--the Caribbean market has tanked (they were 6-figure cars less than 10 years ago, mine sold in the $60s). The black is attractive and I believe it was a late addition to the color pallet, as was the Packard Cream on mine (introduced April 1953). Obviously far fewer were made in that color than the standard colors and most experts thought fewer than 10 cream ones were built. Black has to be just as rare. I can't recall ever seeing one before.

 

Personally, I much prefer the distinctiveness of the '53. The '54 just looks like a regular Packard with some extra trim, but the radiused rear wheel arch really makes the car. And while my expectations for the 327 were modest pulling that much heavy convertible, it was actually a wonderful performer with plenty of torque and very easy to drive like a modern car. I'm not sure I'd trade the good looks of the '53 for the marginal improvements in performance in a '54.

 

Since my adventures in the 1980s looking at these I have always followed the prices.   You are correct that 100k used to be the best on in the world and prices have settled back.   50k buys a nice car and 60k buys a really nice car.

 

The 54 has always brought more money with 1/2 the production and the bigger engine.

 

They do drive nice although the 2 speed slush box is a draw back.   I have a complete 3 speed stick with overdrive setup if I ever have had a lot of motivation.

 

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I hope they get a good result. I couldn't give mine away--the Caribbean market has tanked (they were 6-figure cars less than 10 years ago, mine sold in the $60s). The black is attractive and I believe it was a late addition to the color pallet, as was the Packard Cream on mine (introduced April 1953). Obviously far fewer were made in that color than the standard colors and most experts thought fewer than 10 cream ones were built. Black has to be just as rare. I can't recall ever seeing one before.

 

Personally, I much prefer the distinctiveness of the '53. The '54 just looks like a regular Packard with some extra trim, but the radiused rear wheel arch really makes the car. And while my expectations for the 327 were modest pulling that much heavy convertible, it was actually a wonderful performer with plenty of torque and very easy to drive like a modern car. I'm not sure I'd trade the good looks of the '53 for the marginal improvements in performance in a '54.

 

 

 

I'll find a decent 53 Skylark for sale somewhere and we can talk about that in another thread,  but what is the spread between the Packard and the Buick with like colors and condition?   Plus 50% on the Buick?

 

 

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As nice as the Packard is, it's not even a fair fight. The Buick isn't a lot more powerful on paper but on the road the Buick feels like it has 100 extra foot-pounds of torque and 50 horsepower. It just runs away from the Caribbean, even with the Dynaflow. Much of that might be weight--I suspect the Caribbean is considerably heavier than the Buick. Overhead valves probably help, although the Buick is actually 5 cubic inches smaller than the '53 Caribbean. But just using my butt dyno, the Buick is a lot more muscular.

 

As far as pricing, the Skylark currently brings a significant premium. When a Caribbean was bringing six figures, the Skylarks were a quarter-million. Those days are over for both of them, but it's probably due to familiarity and comfort with a known entity. It's why garden-variety Chevelles bring more than a comparable 442. People like what is familiar and that keeps prices up. To a lot of people, Packard is esoteric while Buick is known. Parts availability is probably about the same (mechanical parts easy, trim parts impossible) but that's not the general perception. That's just my theory, but I've seen it reflected in all areas of the market where better quality cars are overlooked just because the inferior car is more familiar.

 

Personally, much as I liked the Caribbean and drove it frequently, I'd take a Skylark 10 times out of 10.

 

 

 

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Since the CCCA has included some "Classic Brands" down to 1915 maybe its time to include some select 50's Classics like the Caribbean. Their may be other Packards to consider such as Panther ?  Certainly include 53 Eldo as well as 57 & 58 Brougham.  I'm not sure I would consider the Skylark & Fiesta as Classic but worth debate. The 50's Ghia (NOT the VW Karmann variety). Since they already include the immediate post war Lincoln Continental why not the Mark II.  The 50's Imperials are also worth consideration too.  These are all handcrafted custom or semi-custom bodied luxury cars with the best engines available at their time.  I can't think of anything built in the 60's that are worthy of "Classic Status".

 

It seems that car clubs want to expand membership by expanding car classes. I would rather see the CCCA extend into a very select group of 50's Classics than open a hot rod class of modified Classics and encourage more of that nonsense. 

47 minutes ago, alsancle said:

I see you posted a 54 Skylark. My dad and I have had some great battles as he had a 54 but doesn’t understand why the 53 is much better.

 

The 53 Skylark is one of many cars on my bucket list but the 54 just does not appeal to me.

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