Extremely Rare 1956 Packard Caribbean Hard-Top Surfaces in Europe, Needs a Lifeline


Introduced in 1953, the Packard Caribbean was among the last vehicles built at the company’s production plant in Detroit. It’s also one of the most beautiful two-door automobiles of the mid-1950s and a rare (yet underrated) American classic. However, this 1956 Caribbean hard-top is the rarest of them all. What makes this Packard so hard to find, you ask? Well, while production of the Caribbean lasted four years, Packard did not offer a hard-top model until the nameplate’s final year on the market. Before the 1956 model year, all Caribbeans were soft-top convertibles. But there’s more. Packard was already struggling when the Caribbean was introduced and didn’t manage to sell too many of them. The Detroit-based company delivered 750 units in 1953, about 400 in 1954, and 500 examples in 1955. The Caribbean’s final year on the market saw only 539 examples leave the assembly line. But this figure also includes convertibles, with hard-top production coming in at only 263 units. How many of them are still out there? Well, most of these Packards have been parted out to restore convertibles, so probably fewer than 50 are still around. The seller of the 1956 drop-top you see here believes that only 20 have survived to this day. In the absence of a proper registry that documents Caribbean hard-tops, it’s difficult to assess if this Packard is indeed one of only 20 left, but it’s safe to say that the two-door is part of an endangered species. And like many of its siblings, this Caribbean needs a lifeline. Finished in a gorgeous three-tone livery with a white top, a turquoise center section, and a black bottom, this hard-top begs to be restored. Apparently, the car was purchased in its current state to be restored, but the owner has too many projects on his hands, and the Packard has to go. The seller claims the car is about 90% percent complete, but there’s no info as to which parts are missing. However, he does say that the engine, which appears to have been overhauled at some point, needs a carburetor and an air cleaner. And needless to say, it needs a new paint job to shine like new. But I think the current coating is doesn’t look bad on an unrestored survivor. Like most Caribbeans from back in the day, this Packard is loaded with options, including a push-button automatic transmission, an electrically adjustable suspension, power windows, and a power bench. It also comes with two power antennas and reversible seat pads with cloth on one side and leather on the other. Yup, the Caribbean was quite the fancy vehicle in the 1950s, the kind of car that had what it took to give Cadillac and Lincoln two-doors a run for their money. And while it can no longer do that without restoration, it looks like a really solid project. Assuming you can source the missing parts, that is. On the flip side, there’s some bad news if you want a shot at this car and you’re from North America. The Packard is located in Austria, Europe, which means it will be quite expensive to have it shipped to the U.S. Speaking of which, the Caribbean is being auctioned off by eBay seller “us-kar” from $12,000. There are no bids yet, but the auction will be up for another week. Is this Caribbean worth saving, or should it be dismantled like most of its hard-top siblings to save yet another convertible? Let me know in the comments section below.