While we take folding hardtops for granted today, in the late
1950s, Ford's Skyliner "retractable" hardtop was a sensation. New
owners probably could have sold tickets to watch the big hardtop
tuck itself into the trunk, and this 1959 Ford Skyliner retractable
is one of the nicer examples we've seen in a long time, with a
great color combination and a fully functional top mechanism.
With top-down proportions not all that different from a standard convertible, the Skyliner really was a miracle of engineering might. Hundreds of feet of wiring, multiple limit switches and motors, and a bunch of smoothly pivoting hinges make this car possible, and it really does work as advertised. This car has been beautifully restored in Colonial White over Torch Red, a very flashy combination, and honestly, would you want anything other than flash on your retractable? Ford's styling was refined for 1959 but it's plenty ornate, with a sweeping spear of trim down the flanks, modes fins, and neat little gunsights atop the front fenders. For a convertible, everything fits together quite well, including the doors, and it's doubly important for things like the trunk to be right, since it's an integral part of the folding top assembly. Also be sure to check out the wonderfully ornate grille, the beautifully chromed bumpers, and the continental kit out back that makes a long car even longer, so it has a ton of presence everywhere you go.
A black, red, and white interior looks sharp against the red and white bodywork, and the comfortable materials ensure that even in the summer sun you'll stay cool. Given the vintage clear plastic seat covers, the interior is in beautiful condition and should give you a very clear picture of how easy this car's life has been. The gauges are all fully functional, the steering wheel shows no signs of age or sun damage, and the overall level of preservation is extremely impressive. Even the AM radio works like it should! Seat belts have been added for safety, but that appears to be the lone modification. Of course, on a retractable, the critical thing is the top, and you can buy this one with confidence, because it goes up and down effortlessly with just the touch of a button. Top up, the trunk is cavernous, but if you're travelling, the retractable only offers a small "box" where luggage is safely out of the top's way.
This car carries Ford's strong-running 332 cubic inch V8, which was the most popular engine choice in 1959. It runs beautifully and gives the big convertible the kind of effortless cruising you expect from a '50s automobile, along with a muted V8 purr. It's nicely detailed with turquoise paint on the tinwork, a correct air cleaner and beautiful valve covers proudly showing off big FORD block letters. Power steering makes something as big as this easy to handle and there's an equally giant radiator up front that seems designed for parades. Underneath, it's mostly original, but that's OK because it runs beautifully and cruises along effortlessly with a Ford-O-Matic transmission and a 9-inch rear end. Four recent whitewall radials have been fitted to the original wheels with factory wheel covers.
One of the true automotive wonders of the '50s, the Ford retractables are finally getting their due respect as collector items. Call today!
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