This 1955 Packard Caribbean features a self-leveling suspension

One of the most iconic luxury car brands that no longer exist, Packard was established in 1899 and disappeared in 1959, five years after it purchased the failing Studebaker Corporation. Packard rolled out its final Detroit-built cars in 1956, and the Caribbean was one of them. A 1955-model-year version was recently featured by Jay Leno’s Garage, and it’s a great reminder of how cool the Caribbean is. Not to mention how it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves nowadays.

Check Out This 1955 Packard Caribbean That Rolled Into Jay Leno's Garage
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The Caribbean was introduced in 1953, as a replacement for Super Eight, at a time when the company wasn't going doing particularly good.

Despite its modern looks, the Caribbean was a bit dated compared to luxury cars from Cadillac and Lincoln. Packard was still using an inline-eight engine that it had developed years back, whereas the competition had a much more modern V-8 mill. Packard fixed this in 1955 when it introduced its first V-8 engine in the Caribbean. A 5.8-liter with dual-quad carburetion, this V-8 pumped an impressive 275 horsepower in the two-door convertible. The 5.5-meter-long four-seater was also fitted with a Packard’s new torsion level suspension, essentially an early version of what we now call a self-leveling suspension. This feature made the Caribbean one of the most comfortable cars on the market.

Check Out This 1955 Packard Caribbean That Rolled Into Jay Leno's Garage
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The design of the Caribbean was also restyled dramatically for 1955. It adopted a dual-scoop engine hood, upper front fenders that extend in front of the nose, a new arch grille with a finer mesh, and rear fins.

In 1956, the Caribbean’s last year on the market, Packard introduced a larger, 6.1-liter V-8 engine. It was rated at 310 horsepower. The nameplate also became a separate luxury series, and a hard-top coupe model was added for the very first time. Production of the Caribbean ended when Packard shut down its facility in Detroit, moving to produce badge-engineered Studebakers.

Packard produced a little more than 1,000 Caribbeans in 1955 and 1956, which makes this series somewhat rare.

Check out Jay Leno’s video below for more on the car’s features and why he thinks that the Caribbean was one of the best cars from the mid-1950s.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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1956 Packard Carribean Convertible

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