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Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
#1
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Caribbeandude
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question, does anyone know if a a 1955 Caribbean was modified in 1955 to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype? heard of a surviving car with 1956 seats and trim with a 1955 Data plate, thanks!

Posted on: 1/12 12:18
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
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West Peterson
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The car is in Pat Aldrich's shop, owned by a fellow from Dayton.

Posted on: 1/12 12:29
West Peterson
1930 Packard Speedster Eight Runabout (boattail)
1940 Packard 1808 w/Factory Air
1947 Chrysler Town and Country sedan
1970 Camaro RS

https://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4307&forum=10

http://aaca.org/
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
#3
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HH56
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Another question would be if Leeedy or anyone else would know of any documentation to prove whether the car is a prototype or was a custom job by a dealer. I would think a prototype would have much more of the 56 items than seats and trim but those are the easy and inexpensive items to change a dealer might have done.

Over the years there have been stories of other models that were updated or customized by dealers to show a direction Packard could have gone or in some cases to outfit and move an unsold car by giving it some of the current year styling. The Packard Esquire is an example of a dealer custom job in which a few were made or sold. I believe it was intended to indicate a direction Packard could have gone.

Posted on: 1/12 12:54
Howard
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
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humanpotatohybrid
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I'm not an expert on Caribbeans, but I'm pretty sure with enough time and money to waste you could take virtually everything of aesthetic importance from a 56 and put it on a 55. As Howard alluded to, it's well known that a number of 55 cars that were sitting on lots into MY56 had some aesthetic additions, such as extra trim, to help them move off the lot (often with random accessories added too).

Posted on: 1/12 13:42
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
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BDeB
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Richard Rice in Spokane owned a prototype 1956 Caribbean with the reversible seats back in the 70's.
It was unfortunately destroyed when rear ended by a semi when being towed back East during a winter blizzard.

Posted on: 1/12 14:21
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
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West Peterson
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I think the car in the Aldrich shop is serial numbered as a 1956... #1. Can't quite remember. I plan on going over there this week sometime. I'll check. If I can.

Posted on: 1/15 11:04
West Peterson
1930 Packard Speedster Eight Runabout (boattail)
1940 Packard 1808 w/Factory Air
1947 Chrysler Town and Country sedan
1970 Camaro RS

https://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4307&forum=10

http://aaca.org/
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
#7
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crunch
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What happened to under seat heater?

Posted on: 1/15 18:00
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
#8
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humanpotatohybrid
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Quote:

crunch wrote:
What happened to under seat heater?


What do you mean? They were standard on all V8 Caribbeans.

Posted on: 1/15 19:57
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
#9
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BH
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When it comes to V8 Caribbeans, underseat heater equipment was standard for 55th only. Though initially offered as standard for 56th, it was later withdrawn. I don't know the whole story, but crunch has one with, IIRC.

Posted on: 1/15 20:11
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Re: Was a 1955 Caribbean modified to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype?
#10
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Leeedy
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Quote:

Caribbeandude wrote:
question, does anyone know if a a 1955 Caribbean was modified in 1955 to make a 1956 Caribbean prototype? heard of a surviving car with 1956 seats and trim with a 1955 Data plate, thanks!



I have told the story many times in car magazines, Packard Club publications and events and mentioned it online. So, yes, if you are referencing a convertible, certainly this car was absolutely positively built and I rode in it when it was brand new. Still have Polaroid shots of the car sitting in the engineer's garage next to his Patrician. I have been keeping up with these cars since they were new. Some were done at Creative Industries of Detroit (see the book) and some were done at a place called "Modern Engineering"– which I knew quite well.

People today use the term "prototype" often to describe any Packard they feel is unusual or with construction differences. Or uncommon accessories. But this is not what constitutes a factory prototype. One enterprising source a few years ago claimed to be selling a "rare 2-seater Caribbean sports car factory prototype concept." Wow. I inspected this thingy up close in Scottsdale, AZ and it turned out to be a customized 1956 Patrician– with late serial number... with Chevy, VW and other bogus parts including a Costco aftermarket console. In reality, there were precious few 1955 and 1956 Packard genuine factory prototypes. I know one when I see one.

As for the Caribbean at Aldrich Restorations, I presume this reference is to a hand-built "pilot production" press car. I have written an intensive report for Pat Aldrich on this Caribbean some time ago. This vehicle was serial number one 1956 HARDTOP. It did not have a 1955 serial plate, but rather a 1956 serial plate in the door jamb. It was used in numerous press photos and showings all over the country. But it is not a "prototype." It is an early hand-build pilot production vehicle. Even today, such pilot production vehicles are often used as press cars. Ask me how I know...


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Posted on: 1/15 20:46
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