Dancing Droptop: 1958 Ford Fairlane Skyliner Retractable – Sold?
May 5, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
March 31, 2021 Update – We came across a second new listing for this ’58 Retractable we first featured at the beginning of February. Unfortunately, the private seller appears to remain firm on price as the pictures, description, and price all remain the same.
February 28, 2021 Update – We came across a new listing for this ’58 Retractable we first featured at the beginning of February. The pictures, description, and price all remain the same.
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. In the past two decades, several manufacturers leveraged modern computer control and lightweight materials to provide retractable hardtop convertibles. However, Ford gets credit for offering such innovative technology first all the way back in 1957. A great example is this “Black Tie” 1958 model originally listed in February 2021 on Craigslist in Columbia, Virginia with an asking price of $44,000. Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their Skyliner priced between the #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $54,600 and the #3 “Good” estimate of $42,000. 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 $41,600 and the #1 “Excellent” estimate of $67,200.
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.
We found this great extended Ford color commercial from 1957 covering the launch of the Skyliner Retractable in detail:
The desirable and rare “Black Tie” color combination, the optional 352 cubic inch Interceptor V8, and a reported rust-free California provenance combine to make this retractable a great example to add to your collection. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Classic 1958 Ford Fairlane Skyliner Retractable Hardtop Convertible. Numbers matching. No rust. No Bondo. California car. Beautiful, rare black tie model – correct black/white with gold trim exterior and black/white seat interior. Paint perfect. Chrome perfect. Working original AM radio. Working original clock. Retractable roof works flawlessly. Dual fender mounted mirrors. Automatic, power steering, 352 cubic inch Ford Interceptor engine with 4bbl carb. Fender skirts, wide whitewall radial tires, steel wheels, and original hubcaps. New shocks, door seals, weather stripping, carburetor, plugs, brake master cylinder, fan, water pump, thermostat, hoses, fan shroud, valve cover gaskets, and lots more. One of the most iconic convertibles ever produced by the Ford Motor Company. And by the way, it runs great.“
Do you have a Skyliner Retractable story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!