Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

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Ford Fairlane

Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1956 - 1959
5769 cc
300 bhp
3 spd. man / 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
105 mph / 168 km/h
Number Built:
4 star
In 1956 the Ford Fairlane was completely restyled  with a longer, lower and wider design. The ‘57 Fairlanes touted bigger, heavier new bodies with a lower-profile.  The big news was the famous introduction of the new Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner which featured the world's first production retractable hardtop convertible.

With a price tag of more than $400 above the convertible Sunliner, Ford stylists designed the roof to be shorter than on other models and its front section was hinged to fold for more compact storage in the larger trunk area.

Coupled with a standard V8 and a relocated gas tank (behind the back seat instead of under the trunk floor), and little luggage space when the top was down, the new retractable was a big hit.

A convertible with a retractable hardtop is hardly a new idea, even though we can thank the Mercedes SLK for bringing the technology back into the spotlight. It is widely considered that Peugeot manufactured the first retractable hard top, but Ford were manufacturing one in the 50's with its Fairlane 500 "Skyliner".

Operating from a steering column mounted switch, there were three seperate motor's that opened the car's rear deck, unlocked the top and lifted the steel roof into the boot space all in succession.

For all the complexities of the time, it is widely regarded that the mechanism was reliable and only had the drawbacks of reducing leg space in the rear and seriously eating into the boot space.

As there were less than 13,000 of the vehicles made, these cars are today seen as being highly collectable - if you are lucky enough to find one!

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