BF Auction: 1955 Packard Caribbean

Sold for $23,500View Result

UPDATE – The seller sent us a photo of this Packard loaded up in a trailer and it should already be with its new owner!

To have a restoration stall because an owner passes away is always tragic, but to have it happen twice is almost unthinkable. That is the story behind this 1955 Packard Caribbean. It needs work to recapture its original glory, but the enormous parts inventory includes virtually everything required to achieve that goal. With values climbing steadily, it is a worthy candidate for a high-end restoration. The current owner feels it needs a dedicated enthusiast to achieve what their family hasn’t, so they have listed it exclusively with us at Barn Finds Auctions.

The production life of the Caribbean was short but sweet. The first car emerged from the factory in 1953, with the final vehicle finding a home in 1956. The company initially offered it exclusively as a Convertible, with a Hardtop joining the range in 1956. Only 400 Caribbeans found buyers in 1955, and the VIN confirms that our feature car is the third to roll off the line. Its original owner ordered it in a stunning combination of White Jade, Zircon, and Sapphire. It appears to wear most of its original paint, and although it isn’t perfect, its presentation could be acceptable following a wash and polish. That leaves potential bidders with the option of preservation, but the car’s potential value justifies a meticulous restoration. The deceased former owners commenced repairs on the lower rear quarter panels, which would need little further work before being ready for a fresh coat of paint. Apart from the enormous parts cache, the best news for the winning bidder is that this classic is rock-solid and rust-free. A recent appraisal confirmed this, and I have included a copy of the appraisal in the gallery at the bottom of this article as well as all the photos the appraiser took while reviewing the car. The soft top might respond positively to careful cleaning, although the buyer may choose to replace it if they seek perfection. The owner includes a significant collection of exterior hardware and trim. This comprises many freshly replated parts like bumpers and a grille, as well as dress strips, a selection of wheels, and a new windshield still in its box. Many parts are not only new but are genuine Packard components. I have included a comprehensive set of parts photos in the gallery below.

Caribbean buyers didn’t become confused by mechanical choices in 1955, with a single configuration offered by Packard. They received the company’s newly-introduced 352ci dual-quad V8 that sent 275hp and 355 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a Twin-Ultramatic transmission. These gems tipped the scales at a hefty 4,930 lbs, and while Packard focused on luxury, the fact the Caribbean could storm the ¼-mile in 18.1 seconds confirms it could hold its own when push came to shove. The car’s mechanical state is unknown, although the appraisal confirms it is no longer numbers-matching. However, the engineering of a Packard drivetrain is no more complex than any other vehicle from this era, meaning any potential rebuild tasks should be straightforward. The appraiser believes the odometer reading of 87,917 miles could be original, and considering the car has sat for decades, that sounds plausible. Once again, the included mechanical spare parts list is enormous, comprising items like brake components, seals, gaskets, filters, and a starter motor. To gain an insight into the extent of the collection, most of the larger items are loose, but the rest occupy an incredible five pallets!

The Packard’s interior is complete, and the front seat retains its original tri-tone leather upholstery under a protective plastic cover. The leather is dry and may not respond positively to even the best conditioning products. A retrim is required, but the existing items could serve as templates if the winning bidder wishes to hand that task to an upholsterer. The carpet is dirty, but a deep clean might be all that is required to recapture its former glory. Some plated pieces are bubbling, but they are prime candidates for restoration. Comfort and convenience items include power windows and a factory pushbutton radio. Extra components include a spare clock, radio, top boot, trim items, and a rear window defroster.

When this 1955 Packard Caribbean rolled off the production line, the brand was only a few years away from extinction. Only around 400 of these classics emerged during that model year, and this is a rare opportunity to own only the third one built. It is complete, and its restoration should be straightforward, courtesy of its rust-free state. Is it worth the time and effort? I have to say that it is because a high-end result will produce a car valued above $90,000. If you have craved a classic project from this era, bidding on this Packard could be an excellent start.

  • Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
  • Mileage: 87,917, TMU
  • Engine: 352ci V8
  • Transmission: Twin Ultra-Matic
  • VIN: 5588-1003
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Vehicle

Sold for: $23,500
Register To Bid
Ended: Jun 13, 2023 10:00am MDT
Winner: James
  • James bid $23,500.00  2023-06-13 09:57:52
  • BigT bid $23,000.00  2023-06-13 07:22:11
  • Seasoned bid $22,500.00  2023-06-13 06:49:54
  • BigT bid $19,000.00  2023-06-12 20:47:06
  • BigT bid $18,000.00  2023-06-12 17:31:54
  • Seasoned bid $17,000.00  2023-06-12 17:29:44
  • Iasked bid $12,600.00  2023-06-12 03:14:24
  • Iasked bid $10,100.00  2023-06-12 03:05:52
  • JG73 bid $10,000.00  2023-06-11 22:16:59
  • QCVLtd bid $9,000.00  2023-06-11 20:57:43
  • JG73 bid $8,300.00  2023-06-11 20:45:41
  • JG73 bid $8,000.00  2023-06-11 20:45:18
  • Les bid $7,500.00  2023-06-10 09:50:29
  • JG73 bid $6,900.00  2023-06-07 23:16:33
  • amqjr bid $6,800.00  2023-06-06 17:07:39
  • jal bid $6,100.00  2023-06-06 14:35:15
  • PMD1965 bid $5,800.00  2023-06-06 10:15:42
  • amqjr bid $4,000.00  2023-06-06 10:01:46
  • Randyo bid $3,500.00  2023-06-06 04:29:02
  • 2manyvettes bid $3,000.00  2023-06-05 16:03:34
  • JayPete bid $2,500.00  2023-06-05 15:37:02
  • 2manyvettes bid $1,500.00  2023-06-05 13:21:07


  1. Jim Sartor

    Find of the year!!

    Like 20
  2. TheOldRanger

    I love this car, and I hope someone buys it, takes care of it, and get it back to where it should be. I have a metal scale model 1:18 of this car, and remember seeing this car at various car shows over the years. Wish I had the time, money, and space for it, but I’m way too old to get started now…:-)

    Like 28
    • Davey Boy

      Speaking of model. This car reminds me of the amt models you could build yours any way you wanted. Stock, Street or drag. Well this one could be done at least three ways if not more and as for someone further into these posts suggesting an LS, Why? It’s not numbers matching so why not just adding maybe a cam and soe other parts to keep it looking stock but with adding a little more oomph. I mean this would look “amazing” as a resto-mod but with the rarity of it, It would be wrong to do to much to it. With that being said, being non numbers matching, it wouldn’t hurt just adding a little more horsepower. IMHO. Hope it goes to someone who will apperciate what it is and has the money and time to do it justice.

      Like 2
  3. Terrry

    Fun facts: Packard built their own automatic transmissions, and Packard had to close one of their factories because they were leasing the building from Chrysler, whom wanted it back.

    Like 8
  4. Maggy

    Beautiful car awesome colors and a convertible!. Jay Leno material here.He’s got the $ to make this one gem shine again. Wonder what is not matching #’s? I don’t see any info just pics and basic info.I’ d love to have this a Sunday summer cruiser.glwts.

    Like 11
  5. Kris

    Hi Maggy, Unfortunately, as one of the owners of this car I don’t really know anything, just the info given to us by the professional appraiser which is all included in this write up. This was my father’s and grandfather’s car; both have passed away. My brother and I did not inherit the love of classic cars that my father and grandfather had.
    Sorry I couldn’t be more specific on what numbers don’t match up.

    Like 16
    • maggy

      Hi Kris. I’m guessing you paid for an appraiser. They should have given you a full report especially what is not #’s as a lot of people especially who are going to pay and also put $ into the car want to know especially it being a rare beautiful vehicle that will be an enjoyment as well as an investment. Just saying as if you could advertise as #’s matching you’ll get more coin.glwts.

      Like 5
      • West Peterson

        The full report is included in the photos, which says that the engine was not original to the car.

        Like 0
    • Les

      Good day:
      as a bidder –this is the vehicle of my dreams, ask my wife of 50 years.
      My only concern not addressed is –does it start and drive?

      Like 1
  6. Diseasewithnocure

    I want to briefly jump in and just say that if any serious inquirers wish to see the car in person, it can be done so with a little bit of organizing. Please reach out to me direct, it is stored in my climate controlled garage and will continue to be so until it finds its proper forever home.

    Like 11
  7. tiger66

    BF: “…the fact the Caribbean could storm the ¼-mile in 18.1 seconds….”

    Not exactly a “fact” since it isn’t based on a road test. It’s a computer-generated “estimation” from “According to the ProfessCars™ estimation this Packard would accelerate 0-60 mph in 10.5 sec, 0-100 km/h in 11.1 sec and a quarter mile time is 18.1 sec.”

    However, a 1955 road test by Motor Trend of a 500-pound lighter Packard 400 hardtop coupe with 15 fewer horsepower showed 0-60 in 11.4 sec, quarter mile: 18.6 sec. Doubt the heavier Carib would best those figures even with the extra 15 hp. Beautiful car in any case.

    Like 6
    • TheOldRanger

      In my lifetime (so far 81 years) I have never purchased a car based on what it could do in a quarter mile run (but the first 18 don’t count because I couldn’t afford to buy a car)…. LOL.

      Like 9

    I used to own a 1955 Packard 400 and this brings back a lot of memories. The 55 Packard was a very eclectic car, built with parts acquired from other car manufacturers (Autolite distributor and Delco generator). It was 12-volt positive ground, which led to some creative engineering when I wanted to add an 8-track tape deck. The unique piece of engineering was the torsion bar suspension connected to an automatic leveling system. It was meant to compensate for a heavy load in the trunk, but also did strange things when ascending or descending a hill. It was the smoothest riding car I was ever in, and superbly tamed the somewhat famous potholes of my home town. I wish I was young enough to take on another project car because this would be it!

    Like 7
  9. Terry Earwood Member

    My Dad had this exact car. color, etc..He used it to haul the Homecoming Queen in Opelika, Alabama Christmas parade, 1956.. He had to take a small house, this is real, in trade to get rid of it, in Jacksonville, FL
    I have 1/64, 1/24 and 1/18 die cast!!

    Like 10
  10. Tommy C

    I hope Danny Kanter sees this (Packard Industries) Boonton NJ.

    Like 5
  11. HC Member

    Wow, she’s a beauty with tons of extra Packard parts. Bill will have field day with some input on this one. The engine bay looks like all is there, and would be nice to know it’s starting, and running condition.

    Like 5
    • CVPanther Member

      I agree, HC. I was fully expecting to see some (ever-useful) commentary from Bill as well.

      Like 2
  12. Tom m

    Back in the early 1960s my elementary school in Santa Monica, CA was 4 blocks from home. I walked to school and back every day There was a Packard Caribbean just like this one parked in front of a home I use to always pass by. It was a sea foam green and white model. As I remember it was In perfect condition. Many times I saw the elderly owner dusting it in the afternoons as I walked home from school. I struck up a conversation with him and we became friends. He many times told me that it was the best car he had ever owned and how fun it was to drive. Once when walking home he took me for a drive around the block and then dropped me off at my house. I could see why he loved the car. He passed away in November 1963 and his wife sold it. That was the only Packard I ever got to ride in. Left me with great memories.

    Like 11
  13. Pete

    Amazing car, Doubling amazing is the 5 pallets worth of spare parts. I need to sell my house and just buy a garage with some living space out in the country. Then I can do what I want. LMAO

    Like 10
  14. Marcie

    Where is it located at ?

    Like 3
  15. John E. Klintz

    Gorgeous car; I, too love Packards, but only REAL Packards, not the “Packardbakers.” Some of you mentioned models; I would LOVE to have a model of this car or any ’55 or ’56 Packard. Where would you all suggest that I look for one?

    Like 3
    • Yblocker

      Google 55-56 Packard diecast cars. Or plastic models, whichever you’re looking for

      Like 4
      • John E. Klintz

        Thanks Yblocker; will do!

        Like 2
  16. Kris

    Car and parts are located in Middleton, WI
    Which is a suburb of Madison

    Like 4
  17. Yblocker

    Install the LS where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Like 9
  18. Malcolm Greer

    Am I the only one who noticed the front bumper is NOT for this car? The grille had “Dagmar”s and so they were incorporated into the front bumper. Surprised the appraiser didn’t catch it.

    Like 2
    • Kris

      There are 2 bumpers still wrapped in factory paper for this car. Photos of these are attached in the listing.

      Like 3
    • egads

      Malcom Greer. Im suprised you dont realize that the ” Dagmars ” bolt to the bumper, this car is wearing the correct bumper.

      Like 5
  19. Yblocker

    So, apparently a warehouse full of parts is included in the purchase, lotta good stuff there. Very nice car, and quite rare.

    Like 6
    • Kris

      There are 5 pallets full of car parts and larger parts like bumpers, windshield and more loose.
      There are SO many car parts, more than are actually pictured here. There are just too many to take photos of every part. Lots of these parts have ever been opened and still in the original packaging direct from Packard.

      Like 7
  20. Kurt Member

    Oh my. What a beauty even as pictured. Imagine it restored from the ground up.

    Like 5
  21. Alan Henry

    I’ve got the Road Signature 1:18 of this, black with a turquoise center section, white, black and turquoise inside. The only other Packard I remember being near was a mint, black ’55 Patrician, in Hobe Sound, FL, at a dealer. Here’s hoping this one goes to someone who’ll give it the total do over it deserves.

    Like 1
    • Malcolm Greer

      I worked with an Al Henry at North Chemical in Atlanta in 1986. Can’t be you, right?

      Like 0
      • Alan Henry

        No, not the same Al Henry, sorry. I’ve never worked in chemicals, and have been a resident of Florida for nearly 62 years.

        Like 0
  22. Doremonger Member

    Could we get some clarification on the parts that are included with the car, please. Is it everything included in the photos? For example, there are four whitewall tires against the wall. Is everything on the shelves and in boxes included? Also, did not see parts already on pallets so I assume the five pallets of parts is an estimate? Thanks.

    Like 0
    • Kris

      Hello Doremonger,

      There are 2 photos included of parts on the pallets, I think that is what you are referring to when you say ” everything on the shelves and in boxes”
      The only thing not included are those tires, sorry forgot to take those photos out. But all other parts besides the tires are included. There are actually more parts than what are show. There are just WAY to many for me to take a photo of each and every part. Hope this helps.

      Like 2
  23. HC Member

    Where is Bill the Packard guy, with this 55 Packard Caribbean and all these pallets of Packard parts for sale on BF? I’m impressed with all this volume of valuable Packard parts that go with this car. Incredible. Makes the deal much sweeter. But you’ll need a forklift and extra truck or trailer to haul it all back home.

    Like 2
    • Kris

      Just to give you an idea of the volume of car parts we have:
      We moved the car and all the parts from Illinois (were my dad lived) to Wisconsin (where I live), we had a enclosed trailer for the car and packed it with as many parts as we could, 3 SUV’s with 2nd row seats folded down packed full and the bed of a truck full.
      It is something to see!!! Like I said in an earlier post, a lot of these parts are factory direct from Packard in the original boxes. It is literally 1000’s of parts.
      Hope this helps.

      Like 5
  24. Bama

    Beautiful car, will be even better when finished. I’m not against resto modding most cars, but this one deserves to be restored to its former glory. It’s really too bad Packard and Studebaker each tried to fool the other into their merger which probably hastened the death of both makes. Packard really made some beautiful cars. Hope someone gets it that will do it justice.

    Like 4
  25. Todd J. Member

    At the current bid, I want to buy the car just for the parts!

    Like 1
  26. scottymac

    In the second photo of this story, between the left front tire of the car and what appears to be grill pieces on the floor is what could be a standard transmission for a Packard/Clipper, wrapped up. Did your father ever mention an intent to install a standard transmission?

    Like 0
    • Kris

      Hi Scottymac,
      Unfortunately, I do not know the answer to that.
      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

      Like 0
      • Doremonger Member

        Kris- Has anyone attempted to put together a parts list? Thanks.

        Like 0
    • egads

      Photo 88 shows a clutch pedal already installed??? Interesting.

      Like 1
  27. DiseaseWithNoCure

    As we narrow into the final hours of the auction, I want to comment that I am the family friend who is storing the Packard until it finds its next steward to continue onward where Kris’s father left things off of. While I’m not a Packard guy, I am a car guy and having my own obsessions and spent far too many days (and nights) hunting for that exactly right piece, and/or factory original replacement — I can say this is that to the n’th degree.

    The sheer volume and originality of the parts is uncanny. I was blown away by the packaging and even in most cases the paperwork still included dating back to when Eisenhower was in office…Kris’s comments around 5 pallets is no exaggeration; picture 52 (top left) you can see the stacked racking put together just to efficiently accommodate everything until it was sorted. Whoever purchases this car and the accommodating parts has a mandatory obligation to scrapbook even the packaging as I’m not even sure where you’d have so much in one place without hunting the globe.

    Admittedly without even knowing much about Packard parts or cars, but having spent much time myself with other makes/models, I can say there are hundreds of hours and probably tens of thousands of dollars worth of just parts here for someone searching; nevermind the shipping costs involved to source these from so many places. I won’t comment out of place here, but I would guess there’s enough to do a few Packard cars with.

    Moving on to the car, the Packard itself hasn’t been touched in 20+ years but turns over freely and shows good vitals. The vinyl covered seats, insanely intact door cards, clean dash and more are really time capsuled. I spent a few times these past weeks just occasionally sitting in it just to get a “feel” for what it might have been like on the road. There is a lot that could be done here in short time and efforts, with some love and attention given. This is a special car which someone is poised to likely take and bring back to the road hopefully soon as it deserves to be.

    Finally – lesser romantic and more practical parts…I have a winch, hand operated fork lift, and other tools/essentials to help load the car and parts to whomever comes to take it to the next stage of its life.

    Happy Bidding.

    Like 5
  28. Joshua Mortensen Staff

    The reserve is off!

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.