1954 Packard Caribbean Convertible
Engine: Inline 8
Displacement: 359 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 212 BHP
Cost New: $6,100
1954 could be called the beginning of the end for Packard. The smaller car companies were suffering in the shadows of the Big Three. In an attempt to become more competitive, 1954 saw some major mergers in the automotive industry. Nash and Hudson joined to form American Motors, Kaiser-Frazer and Willys merged, and finally Packard purchased Studebaker.
Studebaker had a large amount of debt and high overhead, which Packard either ignored or was not aware of, and the merger did not help either company. In addition, Briggs Manufacturing, who built the bodies for Packard, was bought out by Chrysler in 1953, and Packard had to refit one of their plants for body construction quickly. They transformed their Conner Avenue plant in just two months.
The Caribbean was the top of the line Packard. This year offered little changes from the previous year, with the biggest of them being the introduction of the larger 359 CID inline 8 engine. The odd thing was that they were getting ready to release a newly redesigned V-8 in 1955. The Caribbean came with nearly every option as standard equipment, and was by far the highest priced Packard in 1954.