Mr Blue Sky: 1955 Packard Caribbean

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One of the interesting aspects of growing up in Australia was the fact that we saw very few convertibles that hailed from the USA. We received some from the UK such as MGs and Triumphs, but the only US convertibles that I can recall were private imports. Considering our Summer climate and our strong automotive ties to the USA, I’ve always thought that this was strange. This particular convertible is a 1955 Packard Caribbean. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio this particular beauty possesses a clean title. With a BIN of $44,500 or the option to make an offer, you will find it for sale here on eBay.

When World War II drew to a close Packard was in a strong financial position. Sadly, as this particular Caribbean was rolling down the production line a decade later the company was in its death throes. Its ultimate demise was not the result of producing bad cars, but of bad decision-making by senior management. The Caribbean was by no means a bad car, and this one is a nice example. The paint finish exhibits a good shine, and there a is no visible evidence of rust. The seller states that he believes that the White Jade paint was resprayed some years ago, but the blue tones are original.

The interior looks really inviting and is in good condition. The seller has owned the Caribbean for a few years and is quite candid about the interior. He is of the opinion that given its condition it probably isn’t the original trim. He states that it is his belief that this has had a re-trim at some point. Regardless of whether it is original or not, that leather looks supple and rather comfortable. Looking at it, the only obvious deviation from original is the installation of seat-belts. The top is also in good condition and received a new hydraulic kit a few years ago.

Under the hood is the 352ci V8, which the seller states was given a freshen-up a few years ago. It looks nice and clean here, with no obvious issues. The car also features the innovative “Torsion-Level” suspension. This was the last major technological innovation introduced by Packard, and is designed to automatically balance the suspension height from front-to-back and side-to-side when carrying any sort of load. The seller also encourages potential buyers to inspect the car in person and test-drive it to confirm if the condition meets their requirements.

When researching and writing this article I chose not to delve into the usual resources to ascertain a valuation for the 1955 Caribbean. Rather, I went out to see what the pricing was like in the market in general. I looked at 10 cars at random, and pricing varied across the sample from a low of $40,000 to a high of $67,500. Condition across this sample was fairly consistent, although the most expensive one was an unfinished restoration.

So at $44,500 this Caribbean is not 100% original. It has been the subject of a partial, sympathetic restoration. It is 1 of only 500 Caribbeans built in 1955. Given the pricing examples that I have found, is this one a good buy? Whether it is or it isn’t, I wish that it was here in Australia.

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