Auctions and Brokerage
From the Americana Collection
As competition for the car-buying dollar and driver’s priorities and tastes developed in postwar America, the otherwise staid Packard product line was given a boost with the announcement of the limited-production Caribbean Convertible in late 1952. 750 examples of the modern-styled Caribbean were built for the 1953 model year, featuring Packard bodies specially modified by the Mitchell-Bentley Corporation of Owosso, Michigan. The design drew heavily from Packard’s lauded Pan American concept cars of 1952 and had a decidedly European flair and sophistication. Round wheel well openings and rocker panels were traced by wide chrome trim. The Caribbean was powered by Packard’s proven 180 hp straight eight, and proprietary Ultramatic transmission.
According to the car’s history file, following its ownership by Packard specialist Tom Crook, in 2003, this Caribbean joined the hand-selected collection of Karl Blade, a Southern California businessman with a sharp eye for the most beautiful American convertibles. Mr. Blade entrusted the Caribbean to the respected Al Prueitt and Sons Automotive Restoration in 2006 for a major freshening of its restoration. The special-order black paint was expertly reapplied, and the accenting black and white leather interior was re-trimmed. Considerable mechanical and cosmetic work was finished in time for the Caribbean to take part in a Packards International National Meet, where it topped its class and also earned a special Best Paint award.
This elegant, open Packard joined the consignor’s collection of significant postwar automobiles in early 2012 and has since been given consistent care and exercise. Of the small number of remaining Caribbeans that are restored to show level, most are finished in standard colors, with a tiny fraction in the dramatic special-order black color scheme. This rare, desirable, and supremely attractive Packard Caribbean is deserving of a place in any collection dedicated to excellence.
*Please note that this vehicle is titled 2678PACKARD.