Review of the
If you are looking for a 1953 Packard Caribbean - in
excellent condition. You will have to spend over $ 110,000 and that
figure is just going one way over time, as the cars become harder to
find. Sure this is not a car for everyone nowadays. But on the other
hand this was not a car everyone could afford back in 1953, with it's high
price tag of $5,210! –Way higher than a Cadillac.
But this is the fun thing about collecting Die Cast Car in scale 1:18,
they are a lot cheaper than the real cars (If your collection is
restricted to fewer than 1000 models). Lucky Die-Cast made this fabulous
car in scale 1:18 at a budget price and as always I will try to find out
if the model is good for the money spend.
The model car have been produced in a number of colors, the now easy to
get, are the Dark red and Light Green metallic colors. As always then
the maker is Lucky Die-Cast the paint applied and the prep work is
formidable. And let there be no doubt the model in those colors is very
good looking. On the other hand I fell in love with the light yellow
color, known as “Carolina Cream” and among the web shops here in Europe
I got the last one, as this color is now discontinued from the maker.
Anyhow it is surely subjective matter, as I know many who dislike yellow
The model have a very good representation of the interior just out of
the box, but if your are willing to spend some joyful hours to upgrade
this model it can in my perspective be even better. As mentioned before
in earlier articles, I prefer to research about the real car before I
cast myself out in a super detailing spree. The 1953 Packard Caribbean
here is one of the better ones so only a little extra detailing is
I started to paint the upper parts of the doors and other trim work with
Liquid Chrome. The steering wheel needed a bit of black paint on the
horn handle. The floor of the car is in black plastic and has a texture
to simulate carpet. That is okay as the dark color help, but has the
carpet been in light cream or light grey – the plastic feeling have been
more pronounced. I had purchased a band of Velcro and as on the Packard
1955 model I applied it as carpet around the seats and pedals (For a
proper job you have to disassemble the model) The last jobs on the
interior are the back side of the doors, that got a mixed yellow paint
job and the small buttons on the canvas cover became chromed.
When we look on the side of the car, there are a few issues that need
make it more realistic. First thing is the spoke wheels on this
luxurious model. Due to the price range it will be over the top to
demand true spoke wheels on this model (I know some makers have models
with that feature, but they are often poorly made and give the model a
“toy-like” appearance) On this car the spoke are molded in the
wheels. I think this is the best way to show it on a low budget model as
this. Because your only need to paint the wheels over with black paint
and remove the excessive paint with a cloth or a swap before the paint
is harden – It’s the same procedure as when we have to make “holes” in
the front grill on other models – easy and give a remarkable result.
(Remember the spare wheel too).
As you will read further down in the history of the car; the rims of the
wheel wells are padded with chrome trim. This piece is just painted
silver on this model, so again the pen from Molotow is helping us to
bring some real chrome on the trims.
The last thing we have to do when we go around the car is; just to
hollow out the exhaust pipe with a small handheld drill! Otherwise the
model here is perfect including the front that shall not be altered at
Now I had used the time you tell about what I managed to detail the
model, but we have also to see what the makers have done that make this
model so fine. I will begin with the fantastic chrome trim that always
stay in perfect order and shine like the real thing. Also the fine
hinges on the doors that give minimum gabs around the fenders! – That is
a feature that give the model a true to scale appearance when displayed
or held in your hands. The windshield plastic is of good quality as it
gives no distortions and looks like real glass. As said before the front
is perfect just out of the box. And the headlight lenses are well made
and placed perfect. Try to open the hood and you will see a motor with
details that often more expensive model only have. In fact this straight
eight engine is one of the best I have seen from Lucky Die-Cast ever! Go
around the car and see the many emblems including on the hubcaps as
well. This is very well done job here. The Packard Caribbean 1953 is a
beautiful car and this model is it too!
I can not praise the effort enough that The Yatming Group had laid in
this model – And remember to a low purchase cost under 40 Euros here in
I can highly recommend this model to other collectors.
I will give this model
3+1 out of 6 stars ******
Below here are pictures of the model,
historical description, old brochures, technical data and some movie clips for
the real car. So please enjoy!
Back in the days when American cars were about the only ones real
Americans could buy, including the era of the 1953-1956 Packard
Caribbean, your average Detroit automaker wasn't satisfied it had
arrived until it offered a "limited edition." That term is fairly vague,
and they didn't use it much then, though production of such cars was
Yet in the booming seller's market of the late Forties, the American
industry could hardly meet demand for its standard models. So except for
a few low-volume traffic-builders like the Chrysler Town & Country,
Detroit simply spewed forth a "turgid river of jelly-bodied clunkers,"
to use Ken Purdy's phrase -- and the public happily bought every one.
Inevitably, though, the market became satiated and real competition
returned by about 1950. Three years later, Ford launched a sales "blitz"
against Chevy, shipping huge numbers of cars to dealers regardless of
orders, and the competition became murderous. One result of this
cutthroat marketing was the "sports car," which usually meant anything
with a convertible top, lots of performance, a few unique styling
touches, and top-of-the-line price tag.
Of course, some of these were true sports cars, like the Nash-Healey and
Chevrolet's Corvette. Most, however, were just modified standard ragtops
with higher-grade trim and, sometimes, a hotter engine. But whether
genuine or fake, they had the same purpose as their late-Forties
forebears: to attract the proletariat into the local emporiums, where it
might eyeball the latest-and-greatest, then depart in one of the more
In the upper reaches of 1953's regimented market, Buick, Cadillac,
Oldsmobile, and Packard fielded two-ton "sports cars" with wheelbases of
120-plus inches and no less than 165 horsepower: respectively, the
Skylark, Eldorado, Fiesta, and Caribbean.
The last was no hasty reply to General Motors. Packard conceived the
Caribbean around the time Cadillac first thought of Eldorado in 1951 and
for much the same reasons: a more youthful image and extra publicity.
(Chrysler was similarly moved to release the C-300 in 1955, though it
was far more sporting than any of these.) But whereas the GM cars were
in-house designs issued mainly to gauge public response to forthcoming
features like the wraparound windshield, the 1953 Caribbean had little
that was really new.
That, perhaps, stems from its origins at the Henney Company of Freeport,
Illinois, long-time supplier of Packard's professional-car bodies.
Henney president C. Russell Feldmann hoped to expand his Packard
business by tailoring a low-volume, high-buck "sports" model, and had
designer Richard Arbib working on a proposal by the fall of 1951. The
result, named Pan American, duly appeared at the various 1952 auto
Packard had already been thinking "sports car" for some time when the
Pan American concept appeared in 1952 as a precursor to the 1953-1956
Packard Caribbean. Packard's body shop, Henney Company, was commissioned
to conjure up a hardtop on the firm's 1949 chassis and again on the
1952, both called Monte Carlo.
Packard also studied an Italian-made Abarth as a possible entry in the
sporty segment, and conceived an odd rig named Panther, later to become
the prototypical Panther Daytona. But the Pan American was the most
successful of these efforts because it actually led to a production
model, the Caribbean.
The original Pan American began as a stock 1951 Series 250 convertible.
Packard president Hugh Ferry gave Henney president Russell Feldmann only
six weeks to deliver it, in time for the opening of the New York
International Motor Sports Show on March 29, 1952. With designer Richard
Arbib working evenings and weekends, Feldmann met the deadline.
Arbib's concepts were akin to those of contemporary customizers in that
the Pan Am was dramatically lower than stock. It also resembled the 1953
Cadillac Eldorado in having channeled bodysides -- again for a lower
look -- plus chrome wire wheels, and a metal tonneau covering the soft
top and its yet-to-be-developed folding mechanism. But unlike the Eldo,
the Pan Am had only a single bench seat (Henney had closed up most of
the space behind) as well as "continental" exterior-mount spare tire and
a functional hood scoop.
Henney general manager Preston Boyd told Feldmann that their firm had
spent close to $10,000 on the first Pan Am and would have to charge over
$18,000 apiece for copies, including overhead and Arbib's salary. But
his estimate apparently pertained to that one car, not a production
Though Feldmann kept trying to sell Packard on the idea of at least a
small run ("Don't you think it remarkable that interest in this car is
still so keen?" he asked in July), no more than six Pan Americans were
built. Evidently, cost dissuaded Packard from thoughts of even limited
In October 1952, Packard decided to offer a limited run of "sports cars"
that, in due course, emerged as the 1953 Packard Caribbean, which was
the first production Caribbean. (The Pan American sports car, which led
directly to the Caribbean, inspired a series of monikers with a Latin
American flavor: "Balboa" in 1953, for a one-off showcar; "Pacific" and
"Panama" in 1954, for Packard and Clipper hardtops.) To keep a lid on
price, the firm shunned sectioning and lowering; with an eye to sales,
management insisted on six-passenger capacity.
The Caribbean (accent on the third syllable, please) thus arrived as a
full-size convertible sharing most sheet-metal with the stock ragtop.
Trouble was, Packard's standard convertible was an afterthought, riding
the firm's shorter, 122-inch wheelbase and competing more with Buick
than Cadillac. To get around this image problem, Packard simply priced
the Caribbean at $5,210, more than $1,000 above Cadillac's Series 62
Responsibility for Caribbean design fell to Dick Teague, a young stylist
of exceptional talent, Packard's "wizard of facelifts." His
modifications to what was essentially the Series 250 convertible shell
were mild but effective: radiused rear wheel openings, molded-in "bugeye"
taillamps from the senior Packards, bright metal on beltline and wheel
openings, a "continental" (outboard) spare, wire-spoke wheels, and a
Pan-Am-style air-scoop hood.
The interior was luxuriously trimmed in leather. Power was supplied by
Packard's 327-cubic-inch, five-main-bearing straight eight with 180
horsepower as used in the 250s (now known as the Packard convertible and
Mayfair hardtop) and available with optional Ultramatic self-shift
The result was dramatically clean for 1953, lacking even a "Caribbean"
nameplate. And it sold quite well for what was basically a cobbled-up
job. Packard built 750 Caribbeans for the model year to best both
Eldorado (532) and the Olds Fiesta (458), though Buick built more
That Packard Motor Car Company would offer such a car at all was decided
by its flashy new president, James J. Nance, recruited by outgoing
president Hugh Ferry to light a fire under an old-line automaker that
seemed to have dozed through the early postwar years. (Road tester Tom
McCahill said, the 1948-50 line of "pregnant elephants" Packards looked
as if they'd been designed "for an old dowager in a Queen Mary hat.").
One of Packard President James J. Nance's objectives in the early 1950s
was to resurrect Packard's prewar image of total luxury. The way to do
this, he said, was to establish the cheaper Clipper as a separate make
and load Packard with loaded Packards.
He did, and the evidence is that it worked. As a former Packard dealer
said: "I don't remember anything that was a better showroom
traffic-builder after the war than the Caribbean. That car was a
Production 1953: 750 cars
Body and chassis
Body style: 2-door convertible
327CID 4-bbl. L-head "Thunderbolt" 180 hp 8-cylinder
Outside length: 5413 mm / 213.09375 in
Width: 1978 mm / 77.875 in, wheelbase: 3099 mm / 122 in
Reference weights: shipping weight 1864 kg / 4110 lbs estimated curb
weight: 1945 kg / 4290 lbs