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Hagerty Employee

The suspension on the Packard Caribbean was a new twist for 1955

As World War II ended and U.S. automakers resumed production, the buying public was the real winner. Personal luxury cars were in abundance and relatively affordable. Brands like Packard were still afloat and competing with the Big Three. That didn't last long, but that short timeframe gave us some wildly awesome cars. One example is the topic of this week's episode of Jay Leno's Garage—the Packard Caribbean. 


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Intermediate Driver

i would take the Packard. todays cars are, by and large, boring, ugly, grey shapless lumps in appearance. the Packard exudes class, and distinction, and can never make you look hard for it in a parking lot

New Driver

The Jag XK120 had torsion bar suspension which helped it's variants to win LeMans many times in the '50's.

Luckily some Studebaker Hawks got the Packard V8!

Intermediate Driver

"Boring shapeless lumps" about tells it for today's cars, we own the Lincoln Town Car, the car of BIG, the car of RIDE and NICE.  The young today can bounce around in these little lumps of junk, hard seats and the rest, I'll take luxury, ride & quiet any day.  Those old Packards were nice also, fun to see a 'comeback' on those now.

Pit Crew

As a young lad, I wished our family could afford a luxurious car, like a Packard or Cadillac.  I finally got my chance to drive one: my grandfather bought a pre-war Packard that had been converted into a farm truck (sigh).  I still got to catch a glimpse of the grandeur that was Packard.

Pit Crew

Quote: Sadly, cool tech like this couldn’t keep Packard in business. The market was moving too fast. Packard was old fashioned in a time when the American buying public was all about the jet age. So much of Packard’s production was tried and true, reliable and trustworthy, but the lack of new and exciting was a death knell for the brand.


Kyle, this is untrue and misleading. The 1955 models were well-received, but production problems and quality issues kept them from being built and delivered in a timely manner. The Packard brand suffered irreparably as a result.


My Father was a Packard dealer in 1955 when I was 9 years old. His report of the terrible supply issues is documented in the May 2010 issue of Hemmings Classic Car:


That exact Torsion - Level display frame shown in the B&W video is alive and now on display at the the historic Packard Proving Grounds in Utica (Shelby Township) Michigan.  It was donated to the PPG in barnfind condition by Charles Blackman, noted Packard historian.  A year long restoration was completed by Ole' Book and returned to the PPG early in 2020.  We would be happy to demonstrate how the Torsion - Level system works.  Contact us at and tell us when you would like to visit.  

Advanced Driver

Calling the load leveling controller a "processor" is a stretch!! It's an analog switch, little more. Probably has a relay or two to power the motor. The motor is really just a spring jack, motor powered instead of manual. I'm not dismissing the ingenuity of the system, especially for the time -- it's simple in concept. Wouldn't have been possible without the Torsion Level suspension, which is an elegant design by itself.