The Ford Fairlane Skyliner is the coupe-cabriolet version of the Fairlane series. Its special roof made him world-famous, because it had long been the first completely in one piece in the trunk retractable hardtop in the world (the first car with electric retractable hard top: Peugeot 402 Eclipse, 1937).
The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner came in 1957 as a sister model of the Sunliner convertible on the market, which was offered as before with normal cloth soft top. The Skyliner should, according to the advertising, appeal to customers who were not satisfied with a fabric roof and the comfort of a steel roof did not want to do without.
Originally the roof technique was devised for Lincoln, but since the vehicles of this brand already caused too high costs, the roof mechanism finally arrived at Ford used where one could imagine by the higher sales figures also an economic success.
Lovingly he was put in the advertising scene and explains his technique. Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnaz her husband (both known from the successful in America, “I Love Lucy” show, at the time at Ford under advertising contract), it also put in scene.
Optical largely identical to the Fairlane family, the Fairlane 500 Skyliner possessed some not immediately eye-catching differences. The frame was completely designed differently, since in the trunk so now space for the steel roof had to be created, and also the rear vehicle section was longer than any other Ford models. The fuel tank filler neck otherwise located behind the license plate found at the Skyliner at the rear fender on the driver side its place.
With 10 relay, 11 sensors and 7 small electric motors, the roof was completely lifted only about 15 cm and then shipped back. Here, the demand for electricity was not greater than with conventional convertible. When the roof is closed the luggage compartment provided a volume that you could comfortably sleep in it. Open but there was the problem that the roof of the space not filled, but made completely inaccessible. Thus, an inexperienced driver of the car not the Boot volume overestimated, Ford built on a desire, a metal vessel in which was enough space for 3 jam-packed travel bags. Also, the customer could order a so-called “Luggage Saver” luggage set from the Accessories program.
The Skyliner was produced in the time of the Convertible boom in the United States. The 1957 model was built according to the taste of the time, he had many curves, extreme dimensions and had yet simple and elegant. To the layman, he appeared almost like its sister model, the Ford Thunderbird, but he was still a real Fairlane, so had with the T-Bird very little in common.
Although the Skyliner with the roof offered a technical masterpiece, this suffered from many problems with the rather fragile technology. After all should be only one sensor or get a false signal, an electric motor, so the whole process was even in the middle of opening or closing process aborted or if it got worse, remained the roof in the position where it was stopped. So if you are a Skyliner with half-open roof through the streets saw drive that was not a publicity stunt, but rather a sign that another problem had occurred in the art. The over 5 meters long and 2 meters wide car should be an answer to the big convertible Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick, which he succeeded for the most part, were it not for the vulnerable technology.
Otherwise, he offered as the Rest the big convertibles just about any extra that you could think of at that time. With the 5.7-liter V8 engine, it brought the car on regular performance for the typical American Cruising. Also typical American was not saved with chromium, which also made him the focal point. The Ford Fairlane Skyliner was, however, primarily due to its roof construction, a sought after classic cars in the U.S. and Europe, by far the achieves higher collector prices than comparable convertibles with conventional roof.