1953 Caribbean Basket Case

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CanyonJerry1943
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:33 am

1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:13 pm

Hello,
As I posted on the parts interchange section, a few days ago I retrieved a 53 Caribbean from a garage where it has been stashed for 30 years. Bad news is it is virtually completely disassembled, and missing a lot of parts. Specifically, the trunk lid, the transmission, and a long list of small parts. Good news it is virtually rust free, and pretty straight except for one front fender. So, I am really going to need a parts car. I have done a number of restorations over the last 40 years (15 actually) with several of them being basket cases. Having a parts car of the same year makes things a lot easier for reassembly and for all those small parts that are missing. In this case, I'll have to find that elusive trunk lid, but the parts car hopefully will have most everything else, including a Ultramatic transmission. I will be taking photos, so I'll keep the forum advised. And any help with finding a parts car some where near the California Central coast town of Paso Robles would be great.
Regards, Jerry

CanyonJerry1943
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:33 am

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:07 pm

Hello all,
Attached some photos of the tear-down on the 53 Caribbean. I have since got the front seat out of the car and the top frame removed. The top frame is damaged at the "claw" that is the main attaching point just in front of the rear wheel well. No hope of a welding repair as that arm is a cast pot metal. I'll have to hand make some sort of fabricated piece to attach by bolts or screws to replicate the end of the pot metal arm. That is, unless someone has a convertible top that is incomplete and is willing to part with the driver's side arm. I have another one that is missing some pieces. Putting the top frame aside for now though, and deal with it much later on.
As best I can tell the car was Polaris Blue with a blue and white interior. I intend to remove the body from the chassis, put it aside for now, and work on restoring the chassis. But, I am looking forward to getting that red paint and black primer off.
Jerry
Attachments
53CaribbeanTeardown1.jpg
53CaribbeanTeardown2.jpg

Dave Czirr
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:20 am

Those convertible top pieces should be cast aluminum, not "pot metal", and I've occasionally seen them for sale, Bob Stolzfus (Bob's Packard Parts) had a set at Macungie last year. Some of the sections are the same for several years of Caribbean and convertible - check your parts books.

Thanks for the photos, such a worthwhile car and nice to see it in capable hands.

CanyonJerry1943
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:33 am

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:12 am

Dave, Thanks for the info. Good news that the convertible top arm is aluminum, not as I thought. I am barely adequate welding, but a professional welding shop should be able to form a new "claw" repair. Photo attached of broken area. But, lots to do before I get back to the top. Plus, I have a 1967 Triumph TR4A on the lift waiting to complete the engine and transmission refresh. Regards, Jerry
Attachments
53Packardtop.jpg

Dave Czirr
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Posts: 5078
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:33 am

First engine rebuild I did as a kid fresh out of high school auto shop was a TR4A and I still have some memories of doing it.

CanyonJerry1943
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:33 am

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:49 pm

Dave,
The Caribbean came without a transmission. There are 2 standard shift bell-housings in the pile of parts. The steering column is gone except for the cover. It's unknown which trans came with the car. I am going to need a transmission. I have been thinking Ultramatic, but I talked a Packard guy that said driving the car with the early Ultramatic leaves a lot to be desired. I could go with a manual, though that's not I would normally like. The question is would a manual transmission make the Caribbean more desirable or less if and when I sell it? I am 76 years old, so losing my license due to age is probably 10 years off more or less, but I am thinking ahead.

Dave Czirr
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Location: New Jersey

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:22 pm

While not the most spirited automatic of the era, you'd get a lot of disagreement with your friend's comment that Ultramatic leaves a lot to be desired. They were much in demand at the time, reliable and long-lived, extremely smooth and refined, and perfectly capable. No, the weren't popular at the drag strip. If you intend to drive a 65+ year-old car the way it should be driven, you'll find it quite competent, though not exhilirating. After all, it's essentially a 2-speed unit, starting on the converter torque multiplication and at higher speed, locking into direct drive via a torque converter clutch.

CanyonJerry1943
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:33 am

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:16 pm

Okay, I never drive fast anywhere anymore. No, I don't hog the fast lane, just not a speed demon. I keep up with traffic, just don't tailgate like some people. I would prefer the an automatic, so I'll go with the Ultramatic. Thanks for the input.
Jerry

CanyonJerry1943
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:33 am

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:01 pm

Work continues on the 53 Caribbean. I welded supports to the body, A and B pillars, and rear section. I then used my lift to pull the body up off the frame. Rolling the frame out from under, I then placed the body on a home made wood cart. The Harbor Freight pneumatic wheels are a problem. Too much weight for them. I'll have to drop back and punt and come up with a solution. The frame is on skates. With the body off, the rear suspension torsion bar mechanism is exposed. Can someone tell me about that. New to me. Photos attached.
Jerry
Attachments
53Caribbeanbodyonlift1.jpg
53 Caribbeanbodyonlift2.jpg
53Caribbeanoncart1.jpg
53CaribbeanFrame1.jpg
53Caribbeanrearsuspension.jpg

Dave Czirr
Moderator
Posts: 5078
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:30 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:15 pm

How curious, 1953 Packards had a perfectly conventional suspension, the torsion bar suspension didn't arrive on production Packards until 1955. Your 1953 Caribbean at some point in its past has apparently been remounted on a 1955 or 1956 Torsion Level chassis.

What car # (last three digits of the vehicle number) is your Caribbean?

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