Car: Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner
What makes it special: Ford’s 1954 Crestline Skyliner was replaced in 1955 by the Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner, based on the new 1955 Ford design. It shared the flashy chrome “basket handle” which stretched the B-pillar across the roof of the 1955 Crown Victoria model but added a smoked acrylic glass window over the front seat area. It was a interpretation of a horse-drawn carriage bodystyle, called a “Victoria”.
What made it famous: The 1955-1956 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria came in two versions, with the bubbletop over the driver’s compartment, or with an all-steel roof. Ford built 1999 Crown Victorias with transparent roof for 1955. The engine of the 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria was the second-year version of Ford’s “Y-Block” overhead-valve V8. Its displacement was raised to 272 cid, enough to be a few cubes larger than Chevy’s new 265 V8. It touted high-efficiency “Turbo-Wedge Combustion Chambers” and new 18-millimeter spark plugs, which resisted build-up of deposits and sealed better due to tapered seat construction. For 1955, Ford called its 3-speed automatic “Speed-Trigger Fordomatic Drive” because it featured a new automatic low gear for extra-fast starts or quicker, safer passing at low speed.
Why I would want one: As much as the whole glass top was a catastrophic failure, it’s still a piece of automotive design history, plus…I just love everything Fairlane.
Fun fact: Commonly referred to as the “Glasstop Vicky,” this model lasted just two years, with sales slipping sharply as customers realized the trouble of keeping the car cool. An optional snap-in sunshade or air conditioning system were desirable.