Packard Caribbean Convertible 5588

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Description: The global leader in the collector car industry. Services include auctions, restoration, appraisals, collection advice, private treaty and estate sales. We offer the world's finest cars to the most discerning collectors.

Series 5580. 275 hp, 352 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors, three-speed Twin-Ultramatic automatic transmission, front and rear torsion bar self-leveling suspension, and power-assisted four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 127 in.

  • Offered from the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
  • One of the last great Detroit-built Packards
  • Beautifully restored, with well-known history since new
  • Featured in Motor Trend Classic magazine

For over 50 years Packard had been one of America’s top luxury car manufacturers and had held a status unprecedented among automobiles of the worldwide elite. Sadly, all of that would end in the late 1950s, as the result of a combination of bad business decisions, bad sales, and bad luck.

The company’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 V-8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors, which could produce an amazing 310 horsepower, put to the rear wheels through a new pushbutton 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 its era.

This example, the 220th convertible built, was a special order from the Packard dealership in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, made by a local physician, Dr. Joe T. Hanna, who had ordered it as an opulent gift for his wife on her 50th birthday. After the Hannas had enjoyed the Caribbean, it was sold back to the dealer, and perhaps as a symbol of pride in bygone days, it remained on his showroom floor for a remarkable 25 years.

John J. Lee, of Roslyn, South Dakota, purchased the Caribbean from the dealer in July 1986, making him perhaps the last person to buy a “used” Packard from its original salesroom. About five years later Mr. Lee drove the Caribbean south to Phoenix, Arizona, and for the next 14 years he would motor in style behind the wheel during his winter vacations in the Copper State.

In 2004 he passed the car to another enthusiast, at which time it had recorded 62,000 actual miles. In this ownership the car underwent a complete 18-month, 1,500-man-hour cosmetic, mechanical, and electrical restoration, performed by SELCO Restorations, of Richmond, Texas. Throughout the restoration, new old stock parts were used whenever possible to ensure authenticity. The body was completely stripped, prepped, and properly finished before being repainted in its correct three-tone color scheme of White Jade, Turquoise, and Gray Pearl. The engine and carburetors were rebuilt, as were the power steering and power brake systems. The interior was completely reupholstered in new color-matched leather, while the original dashboard pad was in good enough condition to be saved. The trunk was fitted with all-new lining material, and the convertible top was replaced.

After being driven and enjoyed some 250 miles post-restoration, the Caribbean passed into the ownership of Richard and Linda Kughn. The Kughns love this Packard, as is apparent from its well-maintained condition. It is excellent overall and still shows beautifully, making it appropriate for AACA fields or concours appearances. Impressively, it was featured in the December 2012 issue of Motor Trend Classic, in which, in a nod to the comparison road tests of old, it was matched against a 1955 Eldorado (also from the Kughn Collection) and a 1956 Lincoln owned by another collector. The Caribbean was described, fittingly, as offering “cutting-edge tech and mid-century style [that] exuded corporate confidence.”

Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Kughn’s garages have included every one of the five Caribbean models produced between 1953 and 1956. Eventually, they sold four of the five, but they chose this beautifully presented 1955 as the one they would keep the longest. That is only fitting for one of America’s great convertibles and for a car which has, for its entire life, enjoyed the caring long-term owners that the last, best Packard deserves.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers. for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.



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