HomePick of the DayVisible-V8 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner

Visible-V8 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner


Long before Ferrari and other exotic-car brands made their engines visible for all to see, Ford built just-over 100 Crestline Skyliners for 1954 with see-through hoods to show off the automaker’s new Y-block 239cid V8 engine.

The Pick of the Day is a 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner that has both a tinted-acrylic roof section and a special window in the hood so that customers in Ford dealer showrooms could peer in at the new engine.

Visible-V8 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner | ClassicCars.com Journal
The window provides a look at the then-new V8 engine

“There were believed to be 107 of these demonstrator hoods given to dealers to display Ford’s new 239 Y block V8 and show it off on their showroom floors,” according to the Mankato, Minnesota, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

The glass top was sort of an early example of a moon roof, with the front section of the hardtop made of tinted glass to bring in the sunshine.  The feature was optional for the Crestline model in 1954 and on 1955 and ’57 Crown Victorias.

Visible-V8 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner | ClassicCars.com Journal
The Sunliner was equipped with a trendy continental kit

The window-in-the-hood feature is something different altogether, an effort by Ford to promote the new overhead-valve V8.  The idea was for dealers to park highly optioned cars with see-through hoods on showroom floors to build excitement among potential buyers.

The Crestline demonstrator is outfitted with some of the popular features of the day, including a continental kit spare tire, spotlights, AM radio, automatic transmission and other premium trim.

After its days as a showroom showpiece, this Ford apparently was used on the highway by subsequent owners, who retained the unusual hood window. The car now has around 87,000 miles on its odometer.

Visible-V8 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner | ClassicCars.com Journal
The dashboard looks clean

“This particular car is driver quality and would need some TLC to be taken to the next level,” the seller says. “It has had one repaint since 1954 that does show its age with chips, nicks, scratches, etc. The interior appears to have been done around the time of the repaint. There is pitting on some of the brightwork.

“The car does run out decent and we’ve had it up and down the highway fine.”

The price for this rare piece of Ford history is a modest $19,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. Is this car still for sale.? If so where is it and how can you buy it.??
    Gary Freeman
    Tel. (895) 704-0785
    Morro Bay , California

  2. First of all the above 54 is not a Sunliner. A Ford Sunliner is a fabric top convertible. This car is Skyliner. They built the Skyliner glass top in 54,55, &56. The glass hood was only in 54. I have read that every dealer in the US got a glass hood car. As far as how many dealers there were in 54, I haven’t pinned it down.

    • Also the visible hood was not to show the Ford V-8 to compete with the Chevy V-8. The intent was to show off Ford’s new overhead valve V-8. V-8. Prior Ford V-8s were flatheads. Chevrolet’s first V-8 was in 1955 to compete with Ford’s V-8. Good for you Tom Short to get the facts right about the Skyliner having the glass top in 54, 55, and 56. 55 and 56s were Victoria Crown Victoria Skyliners. In 57, 58, and 59 Skyliner the name was continued but the glasstop and the crown were replaced by the hide away hardtop.

  3. Correction are made. Sorry for the errors, but I latched onto a batch of bad info. In summary, the car is a Skyliner, the tinted roof panel was available 1954-56, and Ford was showing off in 1954 a new V8 with overhead valves that beat Chevy to the punch. Thanks for all the feedback


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