Car: Ford Fairlane Galaxie Skyliner
What makes it special: Ford’s Fairlane 500 Skyliner was a two-door, full-sized retractable hardtop model produced for the 1957 through 1959 model years. In 1959 the model name changed to Ford Galaxie Skyliner very shortly after the production of 1959 models had started. The retractable roof mechanism – also known as “Hide-Away Hardtop” was unique to Ford branded products, and was not offered on Continental, Lincoln, Mercury or Edsel branded vehicles during this time period.
What made it famous: Part of Ford’s Fairlane 500 range, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of the roof and retracted it under the rear decklid. No hydraulic mechanisms were used as in regular convertibles of the era. The Skyliner top had six reversible electric motors for the 1959 models, four lift jacks, a series of relays, ten limit switches, ten solenoids, four locking mechanisms for the roof and two locking mechanisms for the trunk lid, and a total of 610 ft of wiring. Its fuel tank was placed vertically in back of the rear seat, which inadvertently added safety in rear collisions. Skyliner’s came with the standard 292 cu in 2-barrel 200 hp V8.
Why I would want one: For all it’s faults, the Skyliner is an iconic vehicle for it’s innovative retractable roof, and is a very beautiful model.
Fun fact: The design attracted more attention than sales; the option was expensive, suspected to be unreliable, and took up almost all the trunk space when retracted. It required the roof to be made shorter than the other Fords, and the trunk to be larger.