1956 Packard Caribbean: One Last Fling


If you are in the market for a Packard Caribbean, then this is the time to buy! When we found this 1956 example, there were two others listed on eBay. We have featured one in the past, but don’t come across these often, so it would seem that the market is currently flooded! We have all heard of Packard, but you might not have heard about this model. It was their top-of-the-line luxury offering in the fifties so it was priced accordingly and few ended up selling. That makes them very collectible today. This one is located in Mossleigh, Alberta, Canada and has been listed for sale here on eBay where bidding started at $2k with no reserve.


The first Caribbeans were influenced by the Pan American concept car that Packard had shipped around the show circuit. The Caribbean was a toned down version of that car with more luxury features than were normally found on the Packard lineup at the time. They ended up selling quite a few that first year so top brass decided to reignite the battle they had once waged against the world’s top luxury brands. They planned to establish Packard as a premium brand once again and they were bringing the fight right to Cadillac.


They made a good run at it too. With a powerful V8 out front and comfortable accommodations, these were great cars. They were also very expensive  and with Studebaker taking over, their days were numbered. 1956 may have been the best year for the car, but sales were down and it was the end of the line for poor Packard. Too bad because these were smooth riding machines that really could run with the best of them. Perhaps Packard had marred their image by focusing on more affordable models for too long or maybe their marketing team just wasn’t up to snuff, but whatever it was Packard just couldn’t topple the king who was Cadillac.


This particular Caribbean is claimed to be all original (apart from a transmission swap) with only 68k miles on the odometer. So, if you appreciate Packard history then this could be a good change to own their last attempt at luxury dominance. This car features some of Packard’s most innovative ideas including reversible seat upholstery with fabric on one side and vinyl on the other. It is also equipped with their Torsion Level which automatically adjusts depending on load and which reportedly provides a better ride than any Cadillac could muster. This car harkens back to brighter time for Packard – a time when an American automobile manufacturer could compete with the best in the world. It may have all ended badly for Packard, but I for one am glad they had one last fling!


  1. Mark E

    These are truly magnificent cars, way above the Caddy convertible IMO. I did not realize production was so low though. Apparently I’ve driven or ridden in nearly 10% of total production! Anyway, this is a good opportunity if someone has wanted one as they don’t come up like this any more in scruffy driver condition. Usually the seller will restore them and double the asking price. It will be interesting to see what it ends up going for. The current bid is nearly $36k and I’d bet it will get up to twice that before it’s over. Oh and to any future owner: there are ways to make the transmission more reliable AND fix the high compression V8’s tendency to swallow valves at maximum rpm.

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  2. Ed Blankenship

    55 Packard. is it sold.

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  3. Vince Habel

    great cars. This one has the bid over 35K now.

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  4. Dolphin Member

    These white / orange / black Packard convertibles have always been very appealing. They look like they belong in a parade or at the D-Queen no matter where they are going. And with only 276 of them being made in Packard’s last year you aren’t going to see them on the road too often. How many can be left?

    The valuation guides I have looked all have these well over $100K in really good to excellent condition, but I don’t think this one is in that class unfortunately, and not just because of the transmission change. The upholstery isn’t good—looks not very professional and in fair condition at best. There are lots of things that need attention under the hood, the door bottoms aren’t in the best shape, needs a new top, etc, etc.

    OTOH the photos are great and there a lot of them, and the seller seems to have been honest in his description and has drawn attention to the car’s problems. An honest Canadian I would say.

    If it runs OK and if the transplanted tranny works well this could be a good top-down sunny day driver without too much money being poured into it. No need to make it perfect if all you want to do is enjoy driving it. Let the next guy worry about what the high rollers might think about your car at the next B-J auction. I’d rather just enjoy it.

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  5. RickyM

    This is brilliant – that colour scheme is something else ! Love it……

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  6. John

    How in the world could the engine be more rusty than the undercarriage?

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  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    Nice car overall. It’s got a bit of underbody surface rust to look after in the near future but otherwise looks like a driver for many years. It comes from an area southeast of Calgary which, like Montana, is in the Chinook Belt and oftentimes has completely open winters so there wasn’t much salt used on the roads. Thus the tin worms tend to be somewhat anorexic.

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