The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is a full-size two-door automobile with a retractable hardtop which was produced by the Ford Motor Company in the United States for the model years 1957, 1958 and 1959. Part of the Ford Fairlane range, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of the roof and retracted it under the rear decklid. It had three roof drive motors driving four lift jacks, four door-lock motors, ten solenoids, four locking mechanisms for the roof, 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 (however, unlike what most people believe, the mechanism had decent reliability). Production totaled 20,766 units in 1957, declining to 14,713 in 1958 and to 12,915 in 1959. An electric clock was standard.Fuel consumption was around 14 mpg overall.The fuel tank was placed behind the front seat, which, accidentally, added safety in rear collisions.
The wheelbase of the Skyliner was 118 in (3,000 mm) and the overall length was 210.8 in (5,350 mm).
During the 1959 model year the Galaxie series was added to Ford’s full-size range and the Skyliner model was absorbed into that series. Although the ’59 Galaxie was designated as a separate series, Galaxies carried both “Fairlane 500” and “Galaxie” badging, on the rear and sides respectively. It came with the standard with the 292CID 2-barrel 200 hp V8.
At the time of its introduction, the Skyliner was the only true hardtop convertible in the world. Today, it has become a very valuable collectible car, with high-point restored specimens costing upwards of $50,000 (2006).
Crestline Skyliner & Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner
The Skyliner name had been used by Ford on earlier models, namely the Crestline Skyliner of 1954 and the Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliners of 1955 and 1956. These models have a two-door hardtop body style with a clear acrylic glass roof panel over the front seats.