1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop
Displacement: 352 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 300 BHP
Cost New: $3,163
In 1957, Ford introduced the world's first mass-produced retractable hardtop. Powered by a complex hydraulic mechanism, the entire roof was lifted and lowered into the enlarge trunk. With the top down it was a true convertible, and with the top up, it looked like a traditional two-door hardtop. The system that made the top work was extremely complicated, involving a large number of servos and electrical connections. Another down side was the reduced storage area, confined to a small bin in the center of the trunk. Ford produced the retractable hardtops for three years, selling 20,766 in 1957, and 14,713 in 1958, and 12,915 in 1959.
A deep recession in 1958 had a severe impact on the automotive industry, and Ford sold just 988,000 cars, which Chevrolet sold over 1.1 million. Total industrial production went from 6,260,667 in 1957 to 4,228,950 in 1958, a drop of 32%.
This Fairlane 500 is equipped with the optional 352 CID interceptor V-8 engine. The engine was designed for the new Thunderbirds, but was an option for the other body styles. New styling, like quad headlamps and tail lamps, a massive bumper/grill and more anodized aluminum trim were some of the changes for 1958 Fords.