The '56 Caribbean was the most potent, most advanced convertible in Packard history. Sadly, it was also the last.

The 1956 Packard Caribbean was the last
The 1956 Packard Caribbean was the last "real" packard.
See more pictures of classic convertibles.

The 1956 Packard Caribbeans evolved from the nearly all-new '55s that were created with scarce funds in a crisis atmosphere. But an amazingly adept restyle successfully modernized vintage-'51 bodies, and Packard introduced its first V-8, an improved Ultramatic transmission, and a new "Torsion Level" suspension providing truly extraordinary ride and handling. Trouble was, new partner Studebaker was fast dragging Packard toward oblivion, so 1956 would be the finale for "real" Packards.

1956 packard caribbean
The 1956 Packard Caribbean's 374 cubic-inch V-8 engine
delivered 310 horsepower.

Among them was the last edition of the top-line Caribbean convertible, priced at $5995 and newly partnered by a $5495 hardtop coupe. Both carried a V-8 enlarged to 374 cubic inches and 310 thumping horsepower, plus most every known luxury-class amenity, including new front seat covers that reversed from cloth to leather. But Packard was looking terminal, and no '56 sold well. The ragtop Caribbean managed just 276 copies before a two-year run of halfhearted "Packardbakers" ended the life of a once-great make.

1956 packard caribbean
The 1956 Packard Caribbean's seat covers were reversible, from cloth to leather.

For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:

1950 Oldsmobile 88

1955 Cadillac Series 62

1957 Lincoln Premiere

1951 Chrysler New Yorker

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1955 Mercury Montclair

1958 Continental Mark III

1951 Rambler Custom Landau

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1958 Edsel Citation

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

1956 Lincoln Premiere

1959 Cadillac Series 62

1954 Hudson Hornet Brougham

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1959 Dodge Custom Royal

1954 Packard Caribbean

1957 Chrysler New Yorker

1959 Ford Thunderbird

1955 Buick Century

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1959 Pontiac Bonneville

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these: