While most of us notice a fifties car, few draw a crowd quite like the Skyliner Retractable, especially when they are in the condition of this great example from 1958. Part of the top-of-the-line Fairlane 500 series, these cars were a sign you had arrived, literally.
This was the year that saw the Skyliner Retractable in its second year of a rather short three year run. While it was a technological marvel, and wonderful showcase model for Ford, its run was rather short-lived and the final Skyliner Retractable was seen the following year.
Ford had 13 paint solid colors available for 1958 with standard two-tone and style-tone (roof and lower body were the same color with a different color middle body) also offered.
Of thirteen solid colors along with Style-Tone and two-tone options Ford had available, this Raven Black over Colonia White combination is certainly eye-catching on this ’58 Skyliner.
And here’s the side view with the top up showing the Thunderbird styled roof. The almost full-length trim with anodized gold insert was a distinctive feature of the Fairlane 500 cars.
At the rear you’ll see that it was much bigger than the other 1958 Fords so it could accommodate the roof and associated mechanisms. It obviously used different sheet metal to the other models in the line-up, costing Ford a small fortune that was never fully recouped.
Putting the top up and down was a complex affair involving multitude of power relays, circuit breakers, limit switches, drive motors, lock motors and around 600 feet of wiring! “Touch a button and this Skyliner removes its own steel top in less than a minute” was how the marketing described the retractable.
Interiors were upholstered with a rich variety of woven, textured nylon fabrics and leather grained vinyl. Upholstery selections included; random block, Damask, Shadow-Block and Royal Scot Tweed patterns.
All full-size Fords used the 223 cubic inch, inline six as the base engine except the Skyliner that could only be ordered with a a V8. The 265 horsepower Interceptor 332 Special was the standard V8 on all Fairlane 500 models.
However, the original owner of this Skyliner opted to pay an additional $53 for the more powerful 352 cubic inch Interceptor Special that output 300 hp.
If you wanted a Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission like on this car you would have had to pay a further $180.
1958 saw Ford move back into the number 2 slot with Chevrolet reclaiming their number one position. Even so, Ford managed to sell well over one million cars.
While sales were relatively good only 14,713 Skyliner Retractable hardtops were sold during the ’58 model year at a base price of $3,138. Apart from the Thunderbird is was the most expensive model that Ford had available that year.
This ’58 Skyliner is currently for sale on eBay. (follow the link for more photos)