While a retractable-hardtop convertible might seem old hat these days, it was quite remarkable in 1957, when Ford introduced a full-size car with a steel roof that folded dramatically into the trunk and disappeared.
This was only the second time in automotive history that such a production car was attempted, the first being the streamlined 1938 Peugeot 402 B. Ford’s was named the Skyliner and it was offered for three model years, first on the Fairlane 500 and in 1959, on the Galaxie models when that name was adopted for the top-line Fords.
The Pick of the Day, a 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner, is an immaculate-looking example of this rare model, of which just over 12,000 were produced that year. The hardtop-convertible supplemented Ford’s regular cloth-roof convertible, named Sunliner.
“Only three years for the Skyliner!” says the Fort Wayne, Indiana, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. “1959 was the last year for this engineering marvel.”
Engineering marvel, indeed. If you’ve never seen and heard one of these in action, it is quite marvelous. Operated by a complex system of reversible servo motors controlled by a lineup of 10 electric solenoids plus relays, switches, locking mechanisms, cables and about 600 feet of wire, the Skyliner presents nothing less than a mechanical ballet danced to the accompaniment of various clicks and whirrs.
The dance includes the top lifting, its front lip folding under, the trunk lid opening from the front, the whole shebang gliding into the trunk and the lid closing, all done automatically and long before electronic gizmos made it seem easy.
“The retractable hardtop works exactly as it should,” the seller notes in the ad.
The bulky top takes up most of the space in the trunk when retracted, but that’s a small price to pay. Top up or down, the Skyliner is easy to spot on the street because of its shortened cabin and lengthened trunk lid, which is a cool look in itself.
Aside from the splendor of its roof, this Galaxie finished in Torch Red and White appears to be in great condition, and the seller says it runs and drives nicely. The body, paint, chrome and interior look very good, and the seller says that it “needs very little to be a knockout.”
The Skyliner is powered by the desirable 300-horsepower, 352cid Thunderbird V8, and the 3-speed manual transmission is equipped with a manually operated overdrive for relaxed highway cruising. The odometer shows just under 70,000 miles.
The asking price for this show-stopping Ford is $36,500, which seems reasonable.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.