Packard Caribbean (1952 – 1954) Review

Packard Caribbean (1952 – 1954) At A Glance


+Georgeous looks and high values

-Rare, hard to find, and not that great to drive thanks to pre-war-derived underpinnings

During Packard's gentle decline during the post-War years – where it moved into the mass market, many of its traditional customers drifted away. This retreat saw the company lose ground to upmarket rivals such as Cadillac, and the resultant loss of prestige caused further losses – it was a vicious cycle of decline. During the 1950s Packard came close to stopping the rot, and that was the 1952 Caribbean.

This was a stunning machine that looked like a real threat to Cadillac's equally imposing Eldorado convertible. Designed by Richard Teague, the soft-top Packard had a huge chrome-laden frontage, a long wheelbase and continental-style rear wheel carrier. The Caribbean certainly looked the part, even if underneath it all, it still used an old side-valve straight-eight engine. Production volumes were deliberately kept low to maintain the Caribbean’s desirability, but the Packard brand couldn’t compete with the glamour of Cadillac in the early 1950s.