Car: Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop
What makes it special: Ford Motor Division’s Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable model was basically a convertible that featured a retractable Hardtop. Made for model years 1957 through 1959, its name was changed over to Galaxy Skyliner just after production began on the 1959 models. It’s “Hide-Away Hardtop”
was a completely unique feature to the Ford products, and could not be had on Continental, Lincoln, Mercury or Edsel sister Ford models.
What made it famous: The Skyliner was given a complicated mechanism that enabled it to fold down the front portion of its roof, and retract it under the rear trunklid. No hydraulics were used in regular convertibles of that time. It had seven reversible electric motors, four jack lifts, series of relays, ten limit switches, ten solenoids, four locking mechanisms for its roof, and two for the rear trunklid. The car’s fuel tank was placed vertically in back of its rear seat, giving the car added safety in the event of a rear-end collision. Power for the 1957 Ford came from a choice of a 190hp, 272 cu in, 200, 205 or 212hp 292 cu in, or 245hp, 312 V8, mated to your choice of a 3-speed, or 3-speed with overdrive manual, or 3-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmissions.
Why I would want one: The Skyliner Retractable is a design icon, and was a huge leap forward in automotive technology. Lower production numbers make this fairly rare, and highly collectible.
Fun fact: A 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Retractable had a supporting role in the 1990 summer blockbuster movie “Ford Fairlane,” starring comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay.
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