1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible

In 1953, Packard unveiled the ultra-luxurious Caribbean Convertible. Inspired by the “Pan American” show cars, it aimed to compete with the Cadillac Eldorado. Built on a long, independent-suspension chassis, it housed a powerful 327ci straight-eight engine. Only 1150 Caribbeans were built in 1953-54 before a dramatic redesign.

The 1955-56 models showcased Packard’s vision for a modern V8 competitor to Cadillac. The Caribbean boasted a massive V8, impressive horsepower (thanks to dual carburetors), and a novel Torsion-Level rear suspension.

Starting at nearly $6,000, it came loaded with luxuries like automatic transmission, power windows, and a radio. Design details like “vee” motifs and cathedral taillights emphasized the V8 power and luxurious touches.

However, with only 276 built in 1956, the Caribbean’s production ended that year. Packard’s Detroit operations shut down, marking the end of an era for the American luxury brand. While Studebakers would carry the Packard name for two more years, the true Packard story ended with the glamorous Caribbean Convertible.

Photos by Darin Schnabel courtesy of RM Sotheby’s