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Ford Fairlane Skyliner (1956 - 1959)

Last updated 18 January 2014

 
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Ultra collectable now, it had the world's first retractable hardtop
Back then the roof was an expensive liability

Introduction

Introduced in 1955 as the new top of the line full-size Ford, the Fairlane, was actually named after Henry Ford's Fair Lane mansion in Dearborn. Originally offered in six different body styles, the Fairline range included saloons, plus a plastic-topped Crown Victoria, a steel-roofed Victoria and the convertible. The most distinctive version of the lot was launched for 1957 – in the shape of the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner. The Skyliner also had the world's first production retractable hardtop – which although stunning, it proved to be very complicated and troublesome in the extreme.

The Skyliner was also expensive at $400 more than the convertible Sunliner – and many buyers wondered whether it was worth the effort. Ford stylists designed the roof to be shorter than on other models and its front section was hinged to fold for more compact storage into the larger boot, but the Skyliner still ended up with a bulky rear end. It also differed from other Fairlanes with its standard V8 engine and the relocated petrol tank, now found behind the back seat. Also, there was little luggage space when the top was down. It briefly became the Galaxie in 1958, but the troublesome roof was a liability, and after a three year run, it was phased out.

 

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