Description

  • The Skyliner converts from a hardtop to a convertible by the touch of a button.
  • The top automatically retracts into the rear deck.
  • This design created a small luggage bin in the center of the back compartment and the rear-hinged deck lid made it hard to reach. 
  • The spare tire was even harder to reach and required climbing in to the rear compartment.
  • Except for the Thunderbird, it was the most expensive Ford in 1957.

Story

Story

1957 saw the introduction of completely restyled Ford cars bearing only a familiar resemblance to earlier models.  The big news, though, was the new Skyliner that featured an all-steel hardtop that was capable of changing into an open convertible at the touch of a button.  An automatic folding mechanism retracted the top into the rear deck.   Ford claims that the prototype had completed 10,000 test cycles without failure, but cautiously provided a manual override so that if the top did catch half way, it could be cranked down.

The biggest headache with the Retractable wasn’t the top, surprisingly, but the limited luggage space.  The top mechanism occupied both sides of the trunk and the top itself took considerable space.  A small storage bin to keep luggage out of the machinery was supplied. It measured only 24 x 30 x 15 inches and was virtually useless because it sat in the center, a full 20 inches from either fender side.  Because of the rear-hinged deck lid, all luggage had to be lifted over the fins.  But that was not as bad as trying to lift the spare tire out of its space beneath the luggage bin.  This required climbing into the trunk to get it.  Except for the Thunderbird, it was the most expensive Ford this year at $2,942.  Even at this price, 20,766 Ford Retractables were produced in 1957.  Production ceased in 1959.

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