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