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Junkyard Find?! 1956 Packard Caribbean

The merger of Studebaker and Packard in 1954 came with a lot of fanfare and hope. It was supposed to be the partnership that enabled both brands to survive and thrive. And – yet – the Packard nameplate would disappear after 1958. Though there were some Packard-badged Studebakers in 1957-58, the 1956 model year marked the last of the true Packards. Like this 1956 Caribbean convertible that’s languishing in a Packard graveyard. It and other rusting hulks are located in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, and are available here on Facebook Marketplace. Our thanks to Barn Finder “Roger” for this Packard fan’s dream tip!

Born in 1953, the Caribbean was to be Packard’s halo car. Packards were already luxurious automobiles and the Caribbean put the point on the exclamation mark. They were low-volume cars and – in 1956 – just 539 were produced (263 hardtops and 276 drop-tops like the seller’s car). They were expensive vehicles, going for $6,000 and up (which was a pretty penny in the 1950s). These grand machines were powered by a 374 cubic inch V8, which was also in its last year as Studebaker-Packard would sell off that manufacturing plant.

This ’56 Caribbean is offered for parts or restoration but – given its current state – we’re not sure what can be saved. The sheer rarity of the car offers reason to ponder the possibilities and it would take a lot to get it to look like this 1954 Caribbean we recently saw. The Packard is surrounded by lots of other 1950s Packards in the same situations, waiting to for picked for parts and maybe towed away for much more. There’s even a couple of Cadillac ambulances in the mix!

If you’re ever traveling between Philadelphia and Allentown and like Packards, you might want to take a short detour to this “Packer” heaven. We don’t know how they all came to be in this one spot, but perhaps the owner of the boneyard has a soft spot for the brand. Check out the pics and see if you can find any 1957-58 “Packardbakers” in the mix!

Comments

  1. RICK W

    Unfortunately it looks like LAST DAYS IN THE BUNKER ( a story of Packards no so grand finale) for this Caribbean 😢. Last of the GRAND Old Packards built at the GRAND Ave plant. Similar to the Packard name, there isn’t much chance of resurrection. But just a single piece of trim would be a great souvenir of the time when Packard was the pinnacle of OTT Luxury. Just Ask the MAN who Owned One! 😉

    Like 12
    • RICK W

      FYI, the beautiful Cathedral tail lights on 55 and 56 Packards were designed by Dick Teague in a single weekend when James Nance (head of Packard) told him to Do Something about those damn BULL BALL tail lights. Check out 54 tail lights to see! Also there was a Packard REQUEST based on 55 Packard with traditional Packard grille. For me these last Packards were the best looking of all Packards.

      Like 9
  2. Terrry

    “Packard heaven”? Looks more like Packard hell, they’re in such bad shape. A bit of history too, Packard was in much better shape than Studebaker at the time of the merger, but all Studebaker wanted were Packard’s assets, and so came the end of America’s last truly premier brand.

    Like 11
  3. Mike B

    More of a remembrance than a find.

    Like 6
  4. normadesmond

    Throw some tires on it, fill up the tank and GO!

    Like 9
    • John D Harlow

      Not how that works but ok…

      Like 0
    • RICK W

      NORMA, have MAX take it To Mr. DeMille for a close up. That could be of PARAMOUNT importance in giving this Packard a RETURN as the GREATEST STAR 🌟 of the Automotive industry. Second only to your Isotta Frascini. Speaking of throwing, have you seen Mr Gillis lately? Probably not, but thought I’d give it a 🔫 shot. 😉 LOL 💐 💐 💋 🏰 😎

      Like 2
  5. RICK W

    With all due respect, Packard was struggling. Yes it was better off than Studebaker, but all of the independents were struggling.

    Like 6
  6. Terry

    Gosh, time to reminisce. The 56 Carribean reminds me when my dad would go car shopping in the 50s. We had a 48 Desoto that experienced a good amount of “use”. After a couple of beers and confronted with an opportunity to attempt a trade-in negotiation he would attempt to convince the used car salesman that his good ole 48 Desoto “she looks a little rough but mechanically she’s in good shape”. Yep, that Packard does look “a little rough”. Thanks for the memory Roger.

    Like 3
  7. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    About the only thing salvageable on this car are the hubcaps.

    Like 8
    • King Creole

      I am amazed those are still there almost 70 years after its birth. How many people happenned by this car over the decades, didn’t one of them consider popping off a cap to hang in thier garage, I know I would have.

      Like 9
  8. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    These were such beautiful Packards. Its truly such a shame that a once magnificent luxury car has fallen into this condition. It looks like its litterally returning to the earth at this point and if you move it, it will just collapse. I agree with Cadillac Diva, about the only thing left salvageable are the hub caps, and it doesnt seem to have all 4 of them. Unless I missed something.

    Like 3
  9. Big C

    These cars are so rare to begin with. But I’m too young to remember if Caribbeans were ever just beaters that you’d just drive into the ground.

    Like 1
    • Chris Cornetto

      Most cars were beaters. I used a 57 Eldorado Seville briefly until the tranny began to slip. Units that weren’t mint originals and showed signs of wear and road battles were cheap used cars.

      Like 1
      • Big C

        But when the tranny started slipping, did you park it in the side yard with the windows down, for a couple decades?

        Like 0
  10. Rick

    Needs to stay right where it’s at, in the junkyard

    Like 5
  11. Dave Brown

    The Packard Motor Car Company exists again in the form of a brand new ‘34 Packard twin six Victoria. It is beautiful, but I would rather they manufacture a new 1957 Packard Caribbean that was supposed to have been built, instead of a badge engineered Studebaker with Packard nameplates. To cruise the highways in a new ‘57 Caribbean would be wonderful. The future never happened for Packard and it makes me sad. Their demise was nothing more than bad management.

    The rust buckets in this article’s photos are possibly good for parts. Packard parts are difficult to come by today. Most are remanufactured. I saw some chrome, glass and maybe more that could be salvageable, but nothing major. It would be a loss not to strip these cars for parts.

    Would anyone else like to drive a new 1957 Packard Caribbean? It would have been the finest of all Packards!

    Like 3
    • scottymac

      Are you talking about a Caribbean based on the Predictor? That would be like resurrecting a bloated ’58 Lincoln Continental Mark III for today. I’d rather have a updated ’55 shell with a lowered beltline and roof. Loved the ’55-’56 hardtops, but sitting in one, you can FEEL it’s an old car with that A pillar almost in your lap.

      Like 1
  12. Stuart R. Blond

    These cars are located in the “Graveyard,” which for many years was owned and operated by the late Pete Grave (not the actor, Peter Graves). He started buying and selling Packards when he was in high school in the 1950s. He owned his first junkyard in the 1960s.
    There will be an article about Pete and his Packards, and the yard, in the upcoming 2nd Quarter 2024 issue of The Packard Cormorant, published by The Packard Club

    Like 7
  13. BlackTa

    r.i.p.

    Like 2
  14. Shuttle Guy Shuttle Guy Member

    No comment.

    Like 0
  15. Lance

    Those ambulances have a better chance of being restored than that sad old Packard.

    Like 1
  16. Howard Horton

    Long live PACKARD. Not Studebaker-Packard. The Real Thing. If only In memory,or better yet, imagination. I imagine a glamorous’ 57 tricolor Caribbean convertible purring down my street, with Marilyn Monroe at the helm, New York Dolls blasting from the radio.

    Like 4
    • RICK W

      Have seen the PREDICTOR? Had there been a real 57 Packard, it likely would have been much like it. There was some rumor of using 56 Lincoln body with Packard modifications. Once saw a rendering of it. Don’t know how far it ever advanced. As I recall it looked impressive.

      Like 2
    • Big C

      And she was just “Looking For A Kiss!”

      Like 0
  17. Karl

    By the looks of this pile it’s has already found it’s final resting place!

    Like 2
  18. "Edsel" Al leonard Member

    It’s in it’s right place…let it die in” piece”..along side the others..:>)

    Like 1
  19. Todd J. Member

    OMG, I know where this junkyard is, my buddy and I used to scrounge around in it 50 years ago. We even towed a few complete cars out of there. I’m surprised it hasn’t been cleaned up and is now the site of a bunch of McMansions!

    Like 2
  20. RICK W

    Just received April issue Hemmings Classic Car, featuring restoration of a 56 Packard Patrician. Maybe some enterprising Packard lover will face the challenge of resurrecting this Lonely Old Packard. Check out the article! Pages 8 and 9. Love ❤ can conquer all! 🙏 🤔

    Like 3
  21. Steve

    The asking price is 1 cent. I wouldn’t give 2 cents for it.

    Like 0
  22. Stuart R. Blond

    One dollar, not one cent.

    Like 1

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