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Re: Front Fenders '55 Caribbean
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Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

Marston wrote:
I'm getting ready to replace the side chrome trim piece on the left front fender (P/N 461355 LH). The one I received to replace it is straight. The one that was on the fender was slightly curved and the fender itself curves outward over the wheel well maybe an inch.

Should the fender & trim piece be straight or not?


No question here at all.

The horizontal diecast chrome trim over the front wheel wheels SHOULD curve. It is supposed to bulge out on both sides. So should the fenders. This is for tire clearance when the front wheels are turned. Turning the wheels to RH or LH lock gives very, very little tire clearance even if everything is set up as it should be.

I drove a 1956 Patrician recently that the owner had installed new tires... that are too big. They actually scrubbed on the front fenders. Just one more reason why it is important not to mess around with tires on V-8 Packards.

Back in the 1970s I sent out RH and LH front fender spears to be re-chromed. When I got them back, to my horror, the chromer had taken it upon himself to straighten the pieces! Of course, then they were useless. Incredible waste of time and money and what WERE the best two pieces I had to be chromed!

Ones on cars that appear flatter have been pushed that way while on the car (relatvely easy to do). The factory just didn't do this.

Posted on: Today 8:47:48
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Re: Packard Bikes
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Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
And... for your further viewing pleasure... an early oval-style "PACKARD" bicycle headbadge. This one was from Arnold, Schwinn & Co. and would have been fitted on the Schwinn-Built bicycle I showed you earlier from 1921... but not only that year, of course!

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jpg  PackSchwOvalWM.jpg (783.98 KB)
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Posted on: Yesterday 10:57:12
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Re: Packard Bikes
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Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Here is an original 1935 advertisement from a Detroit bicycle shop that was well known in the city at that time. Guess what brand they put on the bicycles they sold? "PACKARD"... of course!

Shop was located in downtown Detroit on Woodward Avenue.

Who else shows you this stuff?

Courtesy of NBHAA.com.

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jpg  RaylPackardBicyclesWM.jpg (1,000.74 KB)
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Posted on: 7/2 23:42:39
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Re: Convertible Top on a ’55 Caribbean
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2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

Let the ride decide wrote:
Here are some remaining pieces of a 1955 Packard Caribbean top.

Looks to be 3 ply fabric, the color side, rubber middle and a silky fine weave top.

See pictures.


Yes. This is very, very common construction for a convertible top of that era and even now. The big difference us usually the outer layer. The inner layer was cotton weave and later, poly-cotton. The middle later is butyl rubber. The silky outer layer for the 1955 Caribbean was Orlon, which, as I have said was changed for 1956.

Posted on: 6/24 8:15:14
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Re: Packard Bikes
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2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Ever heard of Packard tires for bicycles and cars?

I'm betting that most of you didn't know they made these for automobiles and bicycles! But here ya go...

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jpg  PackardTireAdWM.jpg (683.15 KB)
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Posted on: 6/21 20:40:17
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Re: Convertible Top on a ’55 Caribbean
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Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

mlgrimes wrote:
There are several photos of the Maya's beautiful '56 Carribbean Convertible and many more Caribbean Convertibles and Hardtops on this website in the "Packard Photo Archive". Including all models, there are 261 photos of 1955 and 296 photos of 1956 cars in the Archive. If you have not made the time to browse, enjoy the photos sometime.


Yes, I'm aware. But I'm specifically talking about the original OEM Caribbean convertible tops here rather than pics of whole cars. I've been watching and photographing Caribbeans since they were new. So I have a lot of photos and a very good set of records and a roster of information.

In the 1970s I created a thing I called "The Caribbean Roster" and it was advertised in many of the major old car publications. Via the Roster (my own thing, not a club operation) I collected a very large amount of information on Caribbeans that existed back then and as many records as I could on when they were new, etc. The Roster even had its own logo. Of course a huge amount of these cars have been sold, sold, and re-sold since those days. Some have been scrapped or just plain disappeared.

However, I was surprised to see a 1956 Caribbean at Pebble Beach. Somehow I missed that one... as I have missed attending Pebble or keeping up with the show for several years now.

Thanks.

Posted on: 6/17 11:24:14
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Re: Convertible Top on a ’55 Caribbean
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From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

Owen_Dyneto wrote:
Leeedy, last I knew, as of perhaps 2 years ago, Tex Sorrell's 1955 Caribbean still had its original top. That car is in Bergenfield NJ.


Great to know. Thanks.

But as I stated, how does one see such things? And for the uninitiated who want to learn about the cars (or do restorations), how does one get to know such information? I'm talking about the tops, of course.

Certainly a few of us know where originals may be... and whether these truly are originals (I've seen lots of tops claimed to be original on Caribbeans that absolutely were not...and this includes 1953 and 1954 too!).

Let's see the top on this Caribbean??

Posted on: 6/17 11:13:59
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Re: Convertible Top on a ’55 Caribbean
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From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

Let the ride decide wrote:
Here is another original 55 top. This car was for sale in 2019 in Washington state. I wonder where it is now.

Pictures are from the sales listing.


Yes, I recall this Caribbean.

There are still a few 1955 and 1956 Caribbeans with original tops hanging on in various conditions. But certainly the Hughes Caribbean is the best of the 1955s existing.

There were two 1955 Caribbeans in SoCal back in the 1970s that had reasonably decent original tops. One (a Rose Quartz) went to Canada, where the top was immediately removed... and tossed, not even a scrap of it saved. Sad.

Thanks for sharing. I never get tired of looking at Caribbean top pics.

Posted on: 6/16 17:39:39
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Re: Convertible Top on a ’55 Caribbean
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Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

JoeSantana wrote:
Here are Bill and Kim Maya, San Clemente, California with their a 1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible at 2018 Pebble Beach Concours.

The gorgeous example sports a bright orange accent paint with matching bright orange top interior. Stunning when the top goes down.


Thanks for sharing.

Hmmm Naples Orange with dual Yankee Pacesetter mirrors on the doors. And from SoCal. Very familiar. It would be nice to see more pics and know the serial number. I was unaware that a 1956 Caribbean convertible was exhibited at Pebble Beach. News to me!

Are there more pics and info?

Posted on: 6/16 17:27:49
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Re: Convertible Top on a ’55 Caribbean
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2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 710
Quote:

ewrecks wrote:
I read with interest Leeedy’s comments on the difficulty in securing a top with the color matched interior.
I had the misfortune of having a top prepared by Klass Collections that attempted to replicate the original tops by sewing in a fabric liner.
In retrospect.it probably would not have worked very well since the fabric liner added buik and would have probably not responded well to raising and lowering.
As it turned out the top was not cut correctly and the upholstery shop ruined it during the attempt to install.....then Klass Collections advised that they were out of the top business.
Ultimately, I was able to secure 10 yards of the pinpoint with tan inner color through Superior Tops and sprayed the inner side with a water based dye from World Products. Superior assembled a new top from the material and the top looks fine.
Was it worth the effort and expense for a car that was not built for the show circuit....doubtful....very doubtful. But ...it does look nice.
I spoke to a Bill Hirsch at the ACCA meet at Hershey during the debacle and he relate that he had owned a 1955 Caribbean in his youth and that while the looks of the car had inspired its purchase, it was one of the worst cars he ever owned. Aside from the transmission that locked in park and the torsion suspension that either shot skyward or popped up in tu rear and required a tow truck and a cab ride, his biggest gripe was the convertible top. He stated that the material shrunk and would not allow the top to latch. I think he said it needed replaced at least twice during his short term of ownership. The bigger problem was that the front seal at the top of the windshield did not do it’s job....the front floors flooded every time the car sat out in the rain. He said he was never so happy to replace a car.
By coincidence , a friend from New Jersey had purchased and restored his original 55 Caribbean and bugged him about buying the car of his youth. Hirsch said that there was not enough money on the planet to pay him to take that car back. LOL
That was my only dealing with Bill Hirsch and I was sorry to see the notice of his passing. I have dealt with the company since that time but Mr Hirsch took the time to shoot the bull with this stranger and gave me a fond memory. R.I. P.




Hello...

Most people who end up with convertibles never seem to stop and consider that they have the unusual ON TOP OF unusual. No pun intended. They approach owning the convertible as if it is simply another car. A convertible (especially from the 1950s–or any old one) just plain requires extra knowledge and extra care. Extra work. If an owner doesn't choose to accept this responsibility, the results will soon make themselves known.

And different drivers/owners often have different experiences with convertibles. My first ex managed to smash the tempered glass rear window out of my brand-new 1968 GTO convertible–the very FIRST time she lowered the top! (...and this is a person with advanced degrees who had been taught how to operate the top)! Another managed to burn out the transmission on my Cadillac FIRST time driven! One drive! And it was a GM automatic on a Northstar engine–not an Ultramatic on a Packard. ONE afternoon's drive and it came back burned to a crisp! To this day, even the Cadillac dealer (a family member by the way) could never figure out how this was done! The same driver went on to get an umbrella caught in the top mechanism of my Lexus. And this was a highly-educated person. Me? Never had troubles with any of these cars. At least, not those kinds of troubles.

Loved Bill Hirsch and with all due respect, no idea what happened with his 1955 Caribbean. But I owned two of them over the years... and never a problem with the tops OR water leakage OR the Ultramatics. So? It's machinery. Things happen. And there are some cars that are just plain haunted with problems. But this does not condemn all for what happens or happened with one or some.

And I have been over this Ultramatic "locking-in-Park" thing many times. MOST automatic transmissions back then didn't even have a Park position! So this was an advanced feature. Nobody ever points this fact out today while repeating the Ultramatic "locked-up" stories.

Yes there were some issues–especially with maladjusted linkage that created such a problem. Packard addressed this adjustment problem and it WAS repairable– often very easily. Bulletins were issued by the factory. And... as I have said in the past, I have seen 1955 Packards where instead of doing a simple adjustment or analysis, someone (including tow-truck drivers) decided to King-Kong the gearshift lever into submission. This to the extent of bending the lever into the shape of a "J"! I've known of cars that were actually towed off to the junkyard with the transmission supposedly "locked up in Park". When all I had to do was reach under the car and push UP on the linkage ... followed by a popping and "klunk" out of Park! I won a $50 bet with a junkyard guy over this very thing (he wasn't very happy when I drove off with this "junk transmission Packard"). Maladjusted mechanism. It is machinery.

When I was involved with a trim shop in SoCal, we had customers who would show up with tops that wouldn't raise or wouldn't latch... after leaving them down for months... until the rainy season started! Almost always the top was fried from the inside out and shrunk... and worse. Most of the time they never bothered to use the boot–if they even had one! Nobody ever checked the rams or cleaned the rams or checked the reservoir fluid. Just operate the switch and get mad if it didn't work... and blame it on the car! We'd get the top working and then they'd come back complaining the header was leaking. Well? With the header bow rubber weatherstrip either burnt into brittle bacon or never having had pressure against it, why should it suddenly seal perfectly?

Now for the 1955 Caribbean convertible top. I hate to say it, but Orlon convertible tops WERE state-of-the-art by the late 1940s/early 1950s. Several car makers used the stuff and it was considered "modern." But the LIFE of a car back then was 75,000 to 100,000 miles OR less. And the life of a convertible top was 2 to 3 years...TOPS! And if you were constantly cycling the top up and down, not taking extra care to assist it folding, not using the boot, leaving the top lowered for extended periods, leaving the car parked out in the weather (top UP or DOWN) the top degraded faster and faster. They changed the top fabric for 1956 for a reason. But even the new stuff went bad... and the next generation technology tops that followed those degenerated too. That's eventually what fabrics do.

As for dyeing a convertible top inner face AFTER the top is made... wow. This is wayyyyy too late. How do you get even edges? How do you get even coloring? How do you not get dye on the seams? How do you prevent bleeding? How do you lay the fabric flat? How do you spray fabric with dye when said fabric is treated to repel moisture and the spray beads up rather than absorbs? All these are serious issues to consider.


Posted on: 6/16 16:12:05
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