Hide-Away Hardtop: 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner – Sold?
November 10th Update: We just confirmed the Craigslist ad for this car expired and with no replacement listing found, we’re assuming this car sold. This one may have got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330
When it comes to convertibles, the holy grail for car designers is to provide the open-air refreshment an open-top provides during nice days combined with the water-tightness and security of a coupe when the weather turns bad. During the past twenty years, several manufacturers leveraged modern computer control and lightweight materials to provide retractable hardtop convertibles, however, Ford get credit for offering such innovative technology first all the way back in 1957. A great example is this Aztech Gold and White example listed recently on Craigslist in Danielson, Connecticut an asking price of $42,500. Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Skyliner priced between the #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $62,900 and the #3 “Good” estimate of $41,300. A second pricing reference is the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool, which indicates the private seller’s asking price falls between the #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $42,000 and the #1 “Excellent” estimate of $67,900.
Ford produced its innovative Fairlane 500 Skyliner two-door full-size car featuring a retractable hardtop for the model years 1957 to 1959. In 1959 the model name changed to Ford Galaxie Skyliner very shortly after the production of the 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 any other Ford products. Ford built a total of 48,394 units during the three-year production run.
Part of the Ford Fairlane 500 range, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism that 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 has seven reversible electric motors (only six for 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 (185.9 m) of wiring. The large top took up vast amounts of trunk space, limiting the car’s sales. Production totaled 20,766 units in 1957, declining to 14,713 in 1958 and to 12,915 in 1959. The fuel tank was placed vertically in behind the rear seat, which inadvertently added safety in rear collisions. For consumers who still wanted a more traditional convertible, Ford continued offering a Sunliner version of the Fairlane 500.
In this 1957 Ford commercial, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz demonstrate how easy the retractable hardtop works:
While the current caretaker can’t prove it, the shown 26,500 miles appears to be consistent with the survivor quality of this Skyliner. Good luck with the purchase! These are still amazing technology marvels that remain fun to watch every time you either raise or lower the top. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1957 Ford Skyliner Aztec gold and white. Pretty near excellent condition. Runs and drives nice. Everything works except radio. Odometer reads 26500. If it went around once you’d never know by the condition and solidness of everything.“
Do you have a Ford Skyliner story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!