Sam Pack Collection

14-15 November 2014

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Lot 115

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop

  • Chassis no. D7FW271476

Sold for $60,500

245 bhp, 312 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118 in

  • Iconic retractable hardtop
  • Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels
  • The ultimate 1957 Ford

The Skyliner Retractable Hardtop was never meant to be a Ford. Rather, it was targeted for the Lincoln Continental revival scheduled for 1956. The lid necessary to cover a whole car top was massive and complex, and the cantilevers to raise and lower it had to be operated by screw jacks. In all, there were 11 switches, 10 relays, and 7 electric motors, and the front section of the top had to be hinged to fit in what would ordinarily be luggage space. Still, it worked and created a spectacle every time it went up or down.

However, this lid was too expensive, and it came at a cost that could never be recovered on a limited-production car like the Continental. Surprisingly, it was Robert McNamara, the dour financial manager who had come on board with the Army Air Force veteran “Whiz Kids” in 1946, who pushed for the retractable to be built as a Ford. As a result, when the ’57 Fords made their debut in the catalogue there was the Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Convertible Coupe. Building the Skyliner as a Ford meant that its development could be amortized over a large number of cars, and that proved entirely true, as nearly 21,000 were built in the first year.

This 1957 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop, which is finished in Raven Black and has a black and white pleated vinyl interior, received a full restoration in-house at Mr. Pack’s own workshop. Its paint and chrome are in good condition, and the interior, with a black carpeted floor, is very good throughout. Equipment on the car includes a pushbutton radio, heater, dashboard clock, and windshield washers, and the car is also equipped with power steering.

The engine compartment and undercarriage are both clean and well detailed, and its chrome Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels are mounted with Coker Classic G78-14 whitewall tires. The Skyliner Retractable was built for three years only, in diminishing numbers, and as a result, all survivors are now highly collectible. This car is an excellent example.


Please note this title is in transit.

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