16-17 January 2014

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Lot 3

1953 Packard Caribbean Convertible

  • Engine no. L405945
  • Vehicle no. 2678-2061

Sold for $93,500

Model 2678. 180 bhp, 327 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, Ultramatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 122 in.

  • One of the finest first-year Caribbeans in existence
  • Known history, with three owners since new
  • A wonderful, award-winning restoration

Packard Motor Car Company emerged from World War II with a much-curtailed product line. Gone were the spectacular coachbuilt Senior cars of the 1930s. So were the flamboyant Packard Darrins from 1940 to 1942. After two years of marking time with a short range of carryover Clipper models, the company brought out the radically new 22nd Series cars of 1948. Although streamlined, their style did not appeal to everyone, and worse, even the most prestigious models did not stand out from the entry-level cars. It was 1953 before Packard had another high-profile model available.

With a limited production run of only 750, the exclusive Caribbean was Packard’s “halo vehicle.” It was introduced in November 1952 with the rest of the 1953 line, and its styling was derived directly from the stunning Packard Pan American show car of 1952. Mitchell-Bentley Corporation modified standard Packard convertible bodies to achieve the sleek, elegant European appearance of the Caribbean. The car was devoid of regular side trim and had special full-wheel cutouts and rocker panels edged in chrome. It also had a Continental kit nestled nicely between lengthened rear fenders. A 327-cubic inch, 180-horsepower version of Packard’s legendary straight eight provided motivation.

The Gulf Green car offered here was the 61st Caribbean built, and it was originally delivered to prominent Seattle building supply magnate, philanthropist, and socialite James Hodges. Mr. Hodges drove the Packard for two years, before selling it to a family friend, Mary Christina Nuckols, who had long admired it. Mrs. Nuckols dubbed the Caribbean “my dream boat,” and she enjoyed it for over a decade, before her doctor advised her to give up driving, due to a heart condition.

Mrs. Nuckols followed her doctor’s advice and stopped driving her Packard. While she could not drive her Caribbean, she could also not bear to part with it. It continued to be registered for the road every year from 1968 to 1991, with the license plate renewals tucked carefully into a desk drawer, and it was properly stored up on blocks in her garage. Only in 2004, at the age of 95, was she convinced to sell it to the current owner, a well-known Seattle enthusiast who had been pursuing the car for two decades. Mary Nuckols died in 2009, after 100 happy years.

The car was in good condition as-purchased, and it is an excellent basis for restoration. Its body was properly stripped, repaired, and metal-finished, with no filler, and then it was refinished in the original Caribbean-exclusive color. New upholstery, in the correct grain and color, was installed. New wiring, hoses, seals, and molding were installed throughout. The original engine showed wear, and it was replaced with an original Packard replacement block, which was completed with all NOS components and stamped with the car’s original engine number, L405945. All chassis components were rebuilt to ensure excellent operation.

Mary Christina’s “dream boat” was the winner of class awards at the Steamworks and Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance, and it is one of the nicest restored Caribbeans remaining, and still being driven. She would, no doubt, be thrilled.


Please note that contrary to the printed catalog description, this car is equipped with an Ultramatic transmission, rather than a manual transmission.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more