1955 Packard Caribbean convertible

Darin Schnabel ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

Packard’s last prestigious, low-production offering was the Caribbean convertible of 1955 and 1956. This top-of-the-line model was completely redesigned for ’55, and it sported a new high-output overhead-valve V8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors, which could produce an amazing 310 horsepower, put to the rear wheels through a new push-button Twin Ultramatic transmission. An innovative, new torsion-bar suspension on the chassis featured automatic leveling to suit the road surface, making the 1955 Packard Caribbean the smoothest-riding and best-handling full-size car of its era.

At $5,932, the Caribbean was breathtaking in more ways than one. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Packard built a mere 500 examples in 1955. The survivors are treasured by enthusiasts of 1950s automobiles and are known as “the last great Packards,” with some even saying that they are the finest luxury convertibles of their era.