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
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
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!