A Common Packard Gives Its Own Caribbean Wedding ceremony Cruise

Rome Arnold,

65, a former investment banker residing in Southampton, N.Y., on his 1953 Packard Caribbean, as explained to to A.J. Baime.

In contrast to right now, in the 1980s, there were being a lot of restored classic autos that didn’t expense far too considerably funds. I was residing in Manhattan, and searching for one thing that I could use on weekends to get to the beach front. I pulled out the Conventional Catalog of American Autos. Which is when I learned the Caribbean.

It was built all through an enjoyable time in American motor vehicle design. In 1953, Packard debuted the Caribbean, Buick debuted the Skylark, and Cadillac introduced out the Eldorado. All have been restricted-edition cars the latter two ended up longtime types for the brands, but the Caribbean not so a lot, as the Packard model before long disappeared.

Rome Arnold expended two yrs looking for a Caribbean in the inventory shade Matador Maroon. He observed this just one in Mound, Minn.


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Mr. Arnold, close to his household in Southampton, N.Y. He has made use of the Packard in some 15 weddings, like his have in 1991.


Gordon M. Grant for The Wall Street Journal

To me the Caribbean was the most attention-grabbing. It was designed by a person named

Dick Teague,

who later turned renowned for planning the AMC Pacer. To build the Caribbean, Teague and his crew took a common Packard convertible and heavily customized it. They broke tradition: There is no hood ornament, and the word Caribbean is nowhere to be discovered on the 1953 product. It had power almost everything, which was a huge deal in 1953: electrical power steering, brakes, convertible top, adjustable seats, retractable antenna, home windows.

Locating a single was not going to be straightforward. Packard only created 750 in 1953. There were being only 4 stock colors—Matador Maroon, Sahara Sand, Polaris Blue and Gulf Environmentally friendly. I only favored the Maroon. So I went on a mission to find just one in this colour.

The Packard’s steering wheel and dashboard. The car has a guide shifter mounted on its steering column.


Gordon M. Grant for The Wall Street Journal

The convertible arrived with a 327-cubic-inch, eight-cylinder motor. The noteworthy American auto designer Dick Teague was responsible for the condition.


Gordon M. Grant for The Wall Road Journal

After a two-yr hunt, I observed my automobile in Mound, Minn., in 1986. I flew out, bought it for $17,500, and drove it home. Along the way, the generator mild arrived on telling me the battery was not recharging. So I experienced assortment stress and anxiety extended ahead of that was a point. I ended up having to leap-start out the car or truck and acquired household Okay.


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I was residing in Manhattan, and I rented a detached garage in Astoria, Queens. When I received there soon after my 25-hour journey, I rapidly uncovered out that the Caribbean was 2 inches extended than the garage. So that essential some rethinking.

I have been driving the auto consistently for 35 a long time. In 1989, a friend of the family requested if I would use the Caribbean to chauffeur him and his fiancée from the church to the reception on their wedding day working day. I reported absolutely sure, not acknowledging that this would turn into a loved ones tradition. The auto has now participated in about 15 weddings, just for family members buddies, all in the Hamptons. During every just one, I have had the newlyweds indicator a log.

Aaron Matthew Zweig and Sunny Kneissl Zweig, between the quite a few household buddies of Rome Arnold who have applied his auto in their weddings, in Sagaponack, N.Y., in 2011.


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At one particular marriage two a long time ago, I showed a youthful pair the location in the log where by the bride’s mom and dad experienced signed 30 yrs previously. I experienced used the Caribbean in their wedding—so two generations of the identical spouse and children. I even employed the car or truck in my very own marriage back again in 1991.

Acquiring the Caribbean brought on a lifelong fascination with old vehicles. I have bought, restored and sold a lot of. But the Caribbean is however in my garage.

Create to A.J. Baime at myride@wsj.com

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