‘Retractable Collection’ of 27 mid-to-late ‘50s Fords heading to Kissimmee

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This 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner is part of The Retractable Collection that will parade across the block at the Kissimmee auction | Mecum Auctions photos by Jason Brant

Among the 15 car collections (so far) on the docket for Mecum Auction’s annual Kissimmee sale in January, perhaps the most unusual is The Retractable Collection.

So what if not all of the 27 vehicles are Fords with hardtop roof structures that retract into the cars’ trunks. But they all are 1955-1959 Ford vehicles, many of them in bright if pastel colors, and all of them are being offered for sale at no reserve.

It should be quite a sight come the second Saturday of the Kissimmee auction — 27 mid-to-late ’50s Fords, one after the other parading down the auction block, and each of them being hammered “Sold!”

The Retractable Collection comes from the estate of a single collector, who had a thing for Fords of the era and very quietly, over a period of years, would venture out and buy the best examples he could find. Several of his cars were sent to retractable specialist Jerry Miller of Jerry’s Classic Cars & Parts in Springdale, Arkansas, where Miller has spent more than half a century restoring retractable and convertible Fords.

Sad but true, as a generation of collectors passes on, as Mecum consignments director John Kraman noted, “We’re going to see more and more of this kind of collection coming to market.”

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Kraman added that even though many such collectors are regular Mecum customers, they’ll often come, buy a car or two, “but then you don’t hear about them. They do it quietly, as a passion.”

They also often hide their collections in nondescript buildings rather than parade them out in public.

For example, The Retractable Collection with 17 Skyliners (retractables), 2 Sunliners (convertibles), 3 Rancheros, a Courier sedan delivery, a Crown Victoria, a Galaxie hardtop, a Fairlane 500 hardtop and a Thunderbird.

And each of them in some two-tone combination of Doeskin Tan, Dusk Rose, Sunset Coral, Silver Mocha, Willow Green, Cumberland Green, Flame Red, Raven Black, Starmist Blue, Colonial White, Azure blue, Tropicak Rose, Snowshoe White, Indian Turquoise, Geranium, Dreseden Blue, Flame Red, Peacock Blue and Bronze.

Many are equipped with Continental kits. Each has a V8 engine and automatic transmission.

The Kissimmee auction is scheduled for January 5-14 at Osceola Heritage Park. In part to accommodate so many collections, Mecum has announced that the start of the auction will be advanced an hour on the final Friday and Saturday of the sale, with bidding on cars starting at 9 a.m. each of those two days.

 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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