The mainstream Ford line of cars grew substantially larger for 1957, a model which lasted through 1959. The Crown Victoria with its flashy chrome "basket handle" was no more, and the acrylic glass-roofed Crown Victoria Skyliner was replaced by a new model, the retracting-roof hardtop Skyliner.
The new chassis allowed the floor to be placed much lower, which in turn led to a lower and longer look overall. The major component of this chassis was a differential whose pinion gear was exceptionally low relative to the axleshafts, lower than in conventional hypoid differentials.
The 1957 models retained a single-headlight front end like their predecessors, but were unmistakable with their long flanks and tailfins. A plethora of trim lines was introduced, starting with the base "Custom", "Custom 300", "Fairlane", and top-line "Fairlane 500". The two Custom lines used a 116 in (2946 mm) wheelbase, while the Fairlanes had 118 in (2997 mm) between the wheels. A new car/pickup truck hybrid based on the short-wheelbase chassis was also introduced, the Ranchero.
The 223 CID (3.7 L) OHV Straight-6 continued, now with 144 hp (107 kW). The V8 lineup included a 272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block making 190 hp (142 kW), a 292 CID (4.8 L) Thunderbird version making 212 hp (158 kW), a 312 cubic inch V8 making 245 HP and a supercharged 312 CID (5.1 L) Thunderbird Special making 300 hp (224 kW), and designated "Police Interceptor" on the glove box. A dual 4 barrel version of the normally aspirated (non-supercharged) 312 cubic inch V8 rated at 270 HP (some sources report 285 HP) was reportedly available, although that engine option was not listed in most Ford sedan factory literature and is more commonly associated with one of the optional Thunderbird engines. This option was dubbed "E code" and featured a unique camshaft, cylinder heads, intake manifold and various other performance enhancements. It came standard with the deep-dish steering wheel. There were lights for the generator and oil instead of gauges. The controls became reccesed for more safety(the Lifeguard safety package was still available)
A new frame was used. It moved to perimeter rails out, so that they would fully envelope the passengers.
In a survey of 1957 Ford owners in the March, 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics, only 6.2% of owners ordered seat belts.