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Mike's 53 Caribbean
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Tobs
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Here we go! I figured that the name of this blog shows some continuty between the green clipper, and the latest car in my life. It is still in the US, and looks like it will take a few months to get over to me in Germany. I've known this car since I was young, and am honored that I have the chance to be it's caretaker now.
It is a 1953 Caribbean in Matador Maroon. It's a little bit of a packard hotrod. I'll see how well it performs, but it has a 359 with a 327 head, and the ultramatic was swapped for an overdrive transmission. Power steering and brakes are still in the car.
I've been gaining packard experience for a 1/4 century now, so I hope I am worthy of this baby! I know it needs some work and TLC...
The top isn't working, it has the usual leaks here and there, supposedly one cyl is a little low on compression...hard starting when warm/hot, shift linkage locks up sometimes. With time and patience and persistance all those things will get taken care of, and someday I will have a smooth driving and reliable packard that my wife also likes as much as my old clipper.
The car is still 6 volt positive ground, and I will keep it that way. My plan is to keep the car as "original" or period correct as possible. -I mean the engine and trans are not original, but I consider them a worthy upgrade. (As long as I can keep the 359 from pinging)
I'll also have to change headlights to H4 Euro units and install a 4 way blinker system in the car to get it road legal here, but that is not too big a deal, or disturbing to the purity of the car.
Untill the car arrives here, I'll be collecting info and ideas and parts over the next few months.

A few things I am curious to find out. I know the trans was taken from my grandfathers clipper back in the late 70's, but I am not sure about the rear axle. I will have to see if it has the 4.10 or 3.54 rear axle, and what size the rear brakes are.
Does anybody know if Caribbeans had a hood quilt from the factory?
Here are a few recent photos....I'll try and dig up a photo of a much younger me too.

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Posted on: 9/28 14:48
1953 Clipper Delux Club Sedan, 1969 912, 1990 Miata, 2009 Ford S-Max.
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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PackardDon
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Very nice and will be interesting to watch you get it all sorted out and street legal for Germany. As for hood quilt, did you mean the scoop? If so, then yes, it is stock.

Posted on: 9/28 15:01
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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Tobs
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@ Don, by "hood quilt" I meant insulation on the bottom side of the hood. On my clipper I have a yellow fiberglass mat that I got from Dwight Heinmuller. With the hood scoop, it seems like that fiberglass might not be correct.

Posted on: 9/28 15:09
1953 Clipper Delux Club Sedan, 1969 912, 1990 Miata, 2009 Ford S-Max.
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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PackardDon
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Oh, I see! The material in my 1954 Patrician looks much like Fiberglas and it is all original so I expect it would be proper for the 1953 Caribbean too.

Posted on: 9/28 15:12
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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HH56
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Is it a mis-speak or did someone actually put a 54 only 359 engine as well as the OD transmission in a 53. If so that should be a fairly lively car and maybe one of the few times hotrod would be an apt description for a Packard.

It would almost make a true statement from one of Tom McCahill's early 50s test descriptions of a Packard where he described performance being something to the effect of "lightning fast acceleration on chair high seats".

While chair high seats is apt, most of us know that an original Ultramatic in normal driving mode which is what was tested, calling it "lightning fast acceleration" is a large stretch of the imagination.

Posted on: 9/28 15:28
Howard
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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r1lark
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Very very nice Mike! A big straight 8 with 3-speed/OD sounds like a great car.

Posted on: 9/28 17:15
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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kevinpackard
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Wow, that is gorgeous. Such a nice color and the car overall looks to be in good condition. I'm sad to see the Clipper go, but this is a worthy upgrade!

-Kevin

Posted on: 9/28 17:17
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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John
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Great looking car. I would say "lightning fast" would need to be taken in the context of the time it was being tested.

Posted on: 9/28 18:07
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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Owen_Dyneto
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I'm aware of at least one other 1953 Caribbean with a 359 and standard shift + overdrive and that would be the former Ole Book's Caribbean. It was great fun to drive but certainly would have benefitted significantly if the original Ultramatic rear axle gearing (3.54) would have been changed to the standard shift ratio.

Posted on: 9/28 18:14
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Re: Mike's 53 Caribbean
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HH56
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Quote:

John wrote:
Great looking car. I would say "lightning fast" would need to be taken in the context of the time it was being tested.


Agreed but from what I can remember about the only thing slower than an original Ultramatic from a standing start was the early Dynaflow. Probably because both of them started in high range with the torque converter as the only thing providing the lower ratio.

I believe most other automatics had a fluid drive rather than a true torque converter but even with the less efficient fluid coupling and many times a smaller engine they had the advantage of starting in a lower gear which I think made a fair amount of difference..

Posted on: 9/28 18:27
Howard
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