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1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner


Pluses and Minuses of the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner
The 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner was the world's first production retractable hardtop-convertible. It seemed like a good idea at the time (and a typically 1950s one at that), but proved to be a complicated beast with a lot to go wrong. The Skyliner was also expensive at $400 more than the conventional Sunliner soft top. Both factors put the crimp in sales.

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skylliner retractable convertible coupe, part of the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 line
The 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner retractable
converti­ble coupe. See more pictures of Ford cars.

Stylists of the vehicle did the best they could to provide enough room for that big roof to slide back into the trunk area. But even though the roof was shorter than on other models and its front section hinged for more compact storage, the Skyliner still ended up with a higher, longer rear deck and bulgier "bustle" rear panel.

It also differed from other Fords in having a standard V-8, a relocated gas tank (behind the back seat instead of under the trunk floor), and little luggage space with the top down. The 500 Skyliner was heavily restyled and re-engineered for 1959, and officially part of that year's new top-line Galaxie series, though it continued to wear Fairlane 500 script.

In the end, the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is an interesting car and a reminder of that age when Detroit thought it could do anything.

Pluses of the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:

  • A crowd-pleaser
  • Good appreciation potential
  • Less troublesome than most people think
  • Milestone car status
  • Technical fascination

Minuses of the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:

  • Clumsy rear styling
  • Mechanical/electrical gremlins
  • Shares a great deal with ordinary Fords

Production of the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:
20,766

Production of the 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:
14,713

Production of the 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:
12,915

Specifications of the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:
Wheelbase, inches: 118.0
Length, inches: 210.8/208.1 (1957-1958/1959)
Weight, pounds: 3,916/4,069/4,064 (1957-1959)
Price, new: $2,942/$3,163/$3,346 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1957-1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohv V-8
272 cid
190
1957
ohv V-8
292 cid
200/205/212
1957-1959
ohv V-8312 cid
245
1957
ohv V-8332 cid
225/240/265
1958-1959
ohv V-8
352 cid
300
1958-1959

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