$27,500 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
- Ford’s spectacular retractable hardtop convertible
- A technological marvel offered for just three years, 1957–1959
- Desirably equipped with the optional, 300 hp, 352 cu.-in. Interceptor V-8
- Wears a previous restoration in factory-correct Raven Black over a two-tone interior
- Fitted with dual spotlight mirrors and a continental kit; rides on wide whitewall tires
- Accompanied by invoices spanning 2016–2021
Ford was not quite the first American automaker to put a retractable hardtop convertible into production (that honor goes to Playboy Automobile Company of Buffalo, New York), but it was certainly the first to do so on a successful, mass-market basis. Initially developed for a convertible version of the Continental Mark II that never left the planning stages, the automated retractable hardtop that eventually found its way onto the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner was a symphony of switches, servos, motors, and actuators, as well as hundreds of feet of wire tying all the components together. Incredibly complex and fully analog, yet remarkably effective, this system could lower or raise the Skyliner top in under a minute.
Ford produced the Fairlane 500 Skyliner for just three years, and despite a sky-high price tag of $3,138 (more expensive than any Ford but the Thunderbird), it managed to sell an impressive 14,713 units for 1958. This Skyliner is an appealing representative of the model’s second production year, for which it gained a hood scoop, as well as Thunderbird-inspired styling touches such as quad headlamps and a trapezoidal grille. The car wears a prior restoration in its factory-correct Raven Black with a gold accent panel, while the interior is finished in Colonial White vinyl with correct fabric seat inserts.
Notably, this Skyliner is equipped with the optional, new-for-1958 352 cubic-inch Interceptor V-8 engine, which produced a substantial 300 horsepower; this was paired with a Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. Further notable options include dual spotlight mirrors, with a rear continental kit completing the car’s period-correct appearance.
The Skyliner is accompanied by invoices from 2016 through 2021, illustrating the level of care it received under the consignor’s ownership tenure. Notably, the headlight surrounds and other chrome trim pieces were replated or polished as needed in 2017, and it was fitted with four new wide whitewall tires in 2021.
Undeniably ambitious when new, the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner remains a standout piece of American automotive history that still fascinates. This 1958 example, nicely finished in dramatic colors, will no doubt impress its fortunate next caretaker—and captivate passengers and onlookers alike with its signature retractable hardtop.