Sports & Classics of Monterey

12-14 August 2010


Previous Next

Lot 152

1958 Ford Skyliner Retractable Hardtop

Sold for $38,500

300 hp, 352 cu. in. OHV V8 engine, four-barrel Holley carburetor, three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension by coil springs and wishbones, rear suspension by leaf springs with live rear axle, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118"

- Second year for retractable hardtop design

- Turquoise and white two-tone paint by Junior’s House of Colors

- 300 hp, Interceptor Special V8 engine

- Most expensive Fairlane (MSRP $3,138)

The idea of a retractable hardtop was proposed to the Ford brass in about 1953 by designer Gil Spear, who drove a one-off retractable station wagon. It was intended for the 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II, but that was already expensive, so the idea was shelved. But by 1955, Ford was locked in a #1 sales battle with Chevrolet, and Spear’s idea became the 1957 Fairlane Skyliner. That year, 20,766 buyers bought a car whose principal virtue is to amaze your friends.

You park on a flat surface, hit a lever on the left side of the steering column and watch three roof drive motors, four lift jacks, four door lock motors, 10 solenoids and four locking mechanisms fold up the roof and hide it in the trunk. Wait a minute and you can reverse the process. All this takes 610 feet of wiring, and if you’re wondering how much trunk you have left when the top is stowed, think how much luggage you can store above your head in a jet plane.

Spear’s idea worked, but the result was expensive and only made for three years –1957-59. The 1960 Fords were too low for the arrangement, and the retractable was dropped. Sales fell each year – 14,713 in 1958 and 12,915 in 1959 – but the allure of the mechanism still reduces children (and adults) to a “first-time-at-the-circus” state.

Skyliners always draw a crowd, and this 1958 example in turquoise and white is no exception. Offered from a highly respected private collection, its restoration was freshened by Junior’s House of Color. It is powered by a 300 hp Interceptor Special V8 and described as a very nice driver with all its mechanisms working properly. At $3,138, this was the priciest Fairlane model available. According to an advertisement featuring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, “it goes from an open convertible with room inside for a weekend’s worth of luggage to a hardtop all in a matter of seconds.”

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more