One Of 400! 1954 Packard Caribbean

I have a weakness for 1950’s Packards, and I believe the Caribbean is my favorite of the bunch. This particular one has seen better days, but like all good finds, there is hope for better ones to come! Thanks to Barn Finds reader Greg F. for sending us this find! It’s located in Rochester, Minnesota and is listed for sale here on craigslist. The price (including a hardtop parts car) is a steep $8,000.

The seller only included two pictures with the ad, so it’s up to me to show you how beautiful these cars can be. The car above was sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2014 for $50,600, and happens to be in a very similar color scheme to the car for sale. With real wire wheels and a lot of chrome, the Caribbean wasn’t a car for introverts. Only 400 Caribbeans were produced in 1954, so even in its day there weren’t many to be seen.

Naturally, the Caribbean had an interior befitting it’s flagship status. We don’t have a picture of the interior of the car for sale, but it’s a pretty good guess that it will need pretty much everything. I don’t see any remnants of a convertible top either, so plan on that, too. All these things are going to cost, too. It’s not like you’re going to find a choice of reproduction parts like you would for a 1955 Thunderbird.

Sweet profile, isn’t it? Yup, I wouldn’t mind one like this in my garage at all. However, back to our subject car.

If you aren’t familiar with Packards, you were probably expecting a V8 under the hood. Packard hung on to its inline 8 cylinder engines a lot longer than most manufacturers, mainly because they couldn’t afford to replace them until it was really too late. We don’t know if the engine turns freely or anything else about the car apart from that it is has an automatic transmission. Oh, one more thing–neither the convertible or the hardtop has a title. I know that’s less of a problem for some of you than others. Since only one of you can ultimately buy this car, what I want to know is what would the rest of you be willing to pay for it if it were only one town over from you?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    To be clear, Packard missed the deadline for their new V8 for the ’54 models, so went with the 359, 212 hp straight 8, shown here, which, I think was a bored out 327 ( not THAT 327) It was the most powerful straight 8 made at the time, but a new OHV V8 could still out power this, no problem. And while this was a nice design, it still had roots from pre-war cars. Packard was treading water up to it’s neck, by now, and never recovered, even though, the new ’55’s were beautiful automobiles. However, at that point, I don’t think it would have mattered what Packard offered, it was too late. This would be one car, if it were mine ( and had the money) would do this car up to the nines, it’s that important of a car.

    Like 1
    • A.J.

      The 359 was the Super Eight and 9 Mains. The 327 is a different engine with 5 mains. There is a big difference.

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, A.J. Our ’50 Packard had the 288, and was still a heck of a motor.

  2. Rod

    Definitely needs to be restored. This one is part of our history and needs the full treatment. It’s not one for the faint of heart as it needs lotd of work and it will be difficult getting parts. Once done it would be something that you can be proud of.

  3. doug6423

    Customize it… Nice big chrome wheels, custom pearl two tone paint. Custom leather interior, use a different animal for the leather rather than the standard cowhide. Modern engine, chassis and interior. Make it a nice modern day cruiser to enjoy for many more years.

    Not restored where it sits hidden for decades until the owner dies and sees the light of day again…

    • Andy

      Maybe if it weren’t a Caribbean.

  4. Fred W.

    Lots of parts have been squirreled away by club members- join the club and start networking. This will be one fine car when restored.

  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Business in the front; party in the back!

    Look at that nose!

  6. A.J.

    Btw, assuming not a complete rot box this is not a bad deal a all. I prefer the styling of the 53, but the 54 has the big engine and lower production numbers. You almost never see a 54.

  7. Ed P

    With a 4 year old body and durable but dated straight 8, Packard sales were miserable. Almost any ’54 from them would be rare. As Howard said, by ’54 Packard’s chances of survival were slim. Their finances were still good but the acquisition of Studebaker, and the cost and problems of setting up a new factory to build a new model drained their cash reserves quickly. The rest is history.

  8. glenn

    it looks like a sad chrome fish. that will take a ton of money you wont get back

    • Howard A Member

      Hi glenn, are you sure about that? I agree on the sad chrome fish, tho. Packard tried to remain true to it’s “tombstone” grill, even to the end. https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/packard/caribbean/1827720.html

      • A.J.

        You need to be able to do a lot of work yourself. The 54 actually brings a bit more money than the 53 but perfect cars do trade for a lot of money and nice decent cars trade in the 45-50k range. The problem is all the chrome. But there are a lot of crappier cars you could spend your life working on than this one.

  9. Bobby Member

    These cars have a great “face”.

  10. Rustytech Member

    Packard built a great car, had they avoided the disastrous purchase of Studabaker, and concentrated on building top end cars they might still be with us today. This was a landmark car, and definitely needs to be saved.

  11. Barney

    I owned a 49 convertible with a straight eight in it. That motor was the smoothest running engine I ever had

  12. TonyM

    The price is right. Has a lot of potential and a parts car comes with it.

  13. Bill McCoskey

    If this is the same car, it was listed recently on eBay as the first 1954 Caribbean, based on the title number. But when I checked out that car’s info, the title was for a Clipper Deluxe sedan. Might be why the car is listed without title. The owner did say the body serial number sequence was 1001, so it may still be 1954 Caribbean # 1. That would be worth checking out.

  14. A.J.

    Bill, the one you are thinking of with the title problem was a 53 I believe:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1953-Packard-caribbean-/182462966037

  15. Keith

    It’s amazing that there are some unrestored ones of these still around. That being said, the prices on these have dropped quite a bit in the last 10 years or so. I recall these, restored, going for $60k-$80k a few years back. As time marches on, the interest in these wanes, and prices will continue to edge downward. That being said, this is still one of my favorite Packards.

  16. XMA0891

    My dad HATED cars. He absolutey hated everything about them. Years and years ago, we ironically found ourselves at a car show together and a ’54 Caribbean was on display. “My Uncle used to have one of these”, he told me. “I’d really like to own this car”.
    For my dad to make that kind of acknowledgment on a vehicle still speaks to me. The power of a Packard.
    Love to own it. Love to be able to drive my dad around in it… Maybe in my next life…

  17. Dan

    So what would be a good donor packard for this one? Caribbeans for parts are almost extinct.

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