1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner
The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is a two-door convertible, manufactured and marketed by Ford Motor Company for model years 1957–1959. The retracting roof system was marketed as the Hide-Away Hardtop and was exclusively sold on this Ford-branded model. Ford’s 1957 Skyliner was the world’s first retracting hardtop convertible to be truly mass-produced by a car company from the factory, coming close to 50,000 in sales over the three model years. Earlier, French car-maker Peugeot had offered several such models in the 1930s, with the help of a coachbuilding company, which sold only in very limited numbers. The Skyliner’s retractable top operated via a complex mechanism that folded the front of the roof and retracted it under the rear decklid. Instead of the typical hydraulic mechanisms, the Skyliner top used seven reversible electric motors, four lift jacks, a series of relays, ten limit switches, ten solenoids, four locking mechanisms for the roof, two locking mechanisms for the trunk lid, and 610 feet of wiring. The top largely consumed available trunk space for luggage, limiting the car’s sales, though the mechanism operated reliably.
The 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner in the collection of the Midwest Dream Car Collection underwent a frame off restoration beginning the fall of 2022 and was completed in July 2023. It is finished in a factory correct but special-order Tutone color combination of Silver Tone Mocha and Dusk Rose. It is powered by a 312 V-8 “Thunderbird” engine mated to a 3-Speed Ford-0-matic automatic transmission. Optional equipment on this car includes power steering, power windows, power brakes, dual hooded exterior mirrors, exhaust deflectors, clock, AM radio, “Thunderbird” valve covers and front bumper “V” bar.
Encyclopedia of American Cars
Jerry Miller of Custom Ford Restorations, Inc.