1953 Caribbean Basket Case

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CanyonJerry1943
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:25 am

This is a real set back. My inexperience with Packard just caught up with me. If had been a Triumph, Jaguar, or MG, I would seen the difference before purchase. The serial I found on the door is 2558. I assume the convertible frame is specific to that model? Is that correct? Maybe I can find a 53 convertible frame at some wrecking yard to replace the 55-56 frame. Anyone need a really solid 55-56 frame? I have one I don't need.
Looks like this project goes on the back burner.
Jerry

Dave Czirr
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:45 am

Yes, the frame is specific to the convertible. Thanks for the number, your Caribbean is #558 (of a total of 750). Best of luck finding a frame, I suspect it's going to prove difficult.

CanyonJerry1943
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:05 pm

Dave,
I have a line on 51 Convertible frame. The parts list shows frame #443531 for both the '51 convert and 53 convert. But, #455495 for the '53 Caribbean. Since Packard sent the standard convertible in for modification to the Caribbean, I wonder why the different part number. I wonder if it will work for my 53?
Jerry

Dave Czirr
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:31 pm

I don't know why the difference, but a wild guess might have to do with frame modifications to accommodate the additional weight of the rear continental spare tire kit mounting which was standard on the Caribbean and not otherwise available.

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Leeedy
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Leeedy » Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:54 pm

Hello... there is a whole bunch of stuff going on here. My personal recommendation is always do the research first... then ya start in on restoration. There have been times when people got into restorations and swapping parts to "correct" the vehicle, only to discover the mods were factory or prototype stuff. If this were my Caribbean I would want to know its real history... hands it passed through, etc.

As for the 1953 Caribbean chassis compared to earlier standard convertible chassis, remember that these were made as beefy as possible and that the 1953-54 Caribbeans were sent out to Mitchell-Bentley's Ionia Division. Rather than going straight through to production as standard convertibles did, these Caribbeans where expected to be modified. And they were expected to be heavier. So keep these facts in mind.

Now for the 1955-56 chassis... the first thing I would want to check are numbers on the chassis. Is this a regular 1955-56 production chassis? Is it a Caribbean convertible chassis? Or? Is it a 1955 chassis or 1956? Is the suspension compensator mechanism 1955 or 1956 type? These chassis also had numbers and codes stenciled on the right-hand frame rail (passenger side). You'll want to carefully check this area for any remaining evidence of a stencil. There are other areas on the chassis that can tell more about it. Of course, a Torsion-Level chassis would have operated on 12 volts. A 1953 production original Caribbean chassis would have been under a 6-volt automobile. I would want to look into all this and more before making any chassis decisions. There are good reasons why I ask these questions.

There are a number of other factors I would want to examine, but this would be a starting point.

Also... what is meant by "claw" in the convertible top framework? And yes, some of the rear section of the top frame was cast aluminum (and VERY brittle). These components can be welded, but only in certain cases and by very, very good welders who know aluminum welding. Otherwise, carefully swap sections as needed. And remember, the top frame is pretty weak when not anchored and without top fabric in place.

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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:17 pm

Several ways to tell if the chassis is 1955 or 1956, one easy one would be by examining the rear axle, assuming it's original to the rest of the chassis. In 1955 Packard was still making their own differential and axle assemblies, in 1956 they outsourced to Dana. The Dana unit would have a removeable stamped steel rear differential cover and would also have flanged rear axle shafts where the drums attach; the 1955 Packard unit would have tapered axle shaft ends and tapered drum hubs.

In the front, 1955 and 1956 have very different lower shock absorber mounting, easy to differentiate.

Also quit a few electrical differences including polarity and location of T-L solenoids but these may not have survived the transformation.

CanyonJerry1943
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:51 am

News from the home front; I have purchased a 53 Convertible as a parts car. The car is pretty much complete. I have begun disassembly in order to remove the body to use the frame for the Caribbean. Photo attached.
A couple questions for the group.
1.) The top mechanism on the convertible parts car is stuck on the windshield. The handle won't turn. I have two other top frames with handles, so I put some force on the handle and as I suspected the handle broke. The top is still unable to release from the windshield. Any suggestions on the next move?
2.) Going through some the parts that came with the Caribbean I found what appears to be some of the parts for mounting the Continental Kit. Does anyone have a diagram or photo of the assembly showing the various parts and how they go together?

In addition to the convertible I recently purchased a 1953 Cavalier 4 door, to be a mate to my 56 Executive. The Cavalier is an original survivor with 62000 miles on her. I drove her for first time to the CA DMV for inspection and registration the other day, and I have to say that it is very comfortable car to drive. I plan to use the Cavalier as general reference for the restoration of the Caribbean, and likely sell it in a few years. Photo attached.
Jerry
Attachments
1953Packard Convertible.jpg
53Cavalier.jpg

CanyonJerry1943
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:27 pm

Hello all,
Today I was able to lift the body of the '53 Convertible parts car off the frame. (photo) It's been several weeks of fighting rusty bolts, disassembly of the grille and removal of the fenders and hood etc. The frame looks okay, lots of good old Iowa dirt, and thankfully no rust. The remainder of the parts car will be put aside and furnish parts for the '53 Caribbean as I progress. For now, I plan to strip the frame and have it sandblasted. Then onto reassembly with new parts replacing the worn out ones.
I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the project, lack of experience with these cars, but I am feeling more confident now. I've been here many times before, and it's just a matter of putting things back together on a bare frame. As bad as the Caribbean and the parts car is, I've done worse. The 1958 Jaguar XK150 roadster I restored back in 1999-2003 was completely disassembled with all parts unmarked and tossed into boxes. And the body was so rusted it was in several pieces. I think it looks pretty good now (photo).
Regards,
Jerry
Attachments
53 Convert off frame.jpg
53 Convert off frame2.jpg
1958 Jaguar in garden.jpg

CanyonJerry1943
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by CanyonJerry1943 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:28 pm

Recently I had the roiling chassis sandblasted. (Photo) I am now stripping it, and have got as far as removing the front suspension and power steering. While removing the left suspension a-arms and coil spring, I noticed some spacers fitted to the spring (Photo). I suspected they were likely installed to increase spring tension and to solve an alignment problem. I was worried about a bent a-arm, but seeing no prior damage to the frame horns,I assumed it was quick and dirty repair. Sure enough when the spring came out, it was broken at the top. You never know what you will run into on old cars. I'll be working removing the rear differential, rear leaf springs, lines etc. in the coming weeks. Then, epoxy primer and black paint.
Jerry
Attachments
Packard sandblasted chassis.jpg
Packard coil spring with spacers.jpg
Broken spring.jpg

Dave Czirr
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Re: 1953 Caribbean Basket Case

Post by Dave Czirr » Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:14 am

Looks like you might have done your sandblasting with the suspension components still assembled. Not a good practice as the sand will find its way into the various bearings, bushing and shafts and ultimately cause damage. If you're not going to replace all the suspension joints, maybe youshould diassemble and clean scrupulously.

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