Ford Galaxie Skyliner Retractable Hardtop

New for 1957 was Ford’s top-of-the-line Skyliner Retractable Hardtop Convertible – America’s first convertible with a retractable steel roof rather than a canvas top. Produced for just three years (1957-59), the car sold a total of 12,915 units in 1959, its third and final year, despite a $400+ premium over a conventional Sunliner convertible that offered vastly more trunk space. Prices began at $3,346, making it the most expensive full-size Ford. It was also the heaviest. Conventional soft-top convertibles outsold it nearly four to one. Despite the complex retractable top mechanism, the system was very reliable. Over 600 feet of wiring were used spread among ten power relays, eight circuit breakers, ten limit switches, three drive motors, and four lock motors to make the magic happen.

The Galaxie joined Ford’s lineup at mid-year, replacing the Fairlane 500 as the top model in the full-size Ford series. The Skyliner, formerly part of the Fairlane 500 line, would be renamed a Galaxie mid-year, befitting its top-of-the-line status. The new model helped Ford to all but tie rival Chevrolet for number one in industry sales. Ford called its 59s “the world’s most beautifully proportioned cars.” Others agreed, too, as the conservative, squared-off design would be the first American car to win an award from fashion authority Comte’ Francais de l’elegance at the Brussels International exposition.

Part of the RM Auctions event for Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall in July, 2010 and for Charlie Thomas in October, 2012.

Automatic transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic rear springs, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel and

Ford Galaxie Skyliner Retractable Hardtop