1 of 1: 1960 Ford Fairlane “Spaceliner”

If you were to combine George Jetson’s flying car with Adam West’s Batmobile, what would you have? A Ford “Spaceliner” – a vehicle that looks a bit like a spaceship from a 1950’s science-fiction movie. This is a one-off car that was based on a stock 1960 Ford Fairlane. I have to admit this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. It’s an actual running vehicle, located in Warsaw, Indiana (west of Fort Wayne) and offered here on eBay where bidding stands at $35,500. The reserve has not been met, so who knows how high the new owner of this cool spaceship will have to go!

Bubbletop concept cars were everywhere in the ‘50s, a favorite of many Detroit design studios. They ranged from mild to wild and some of them served as the basis for cars that actually went into production. A fellow named Scott Wiley, who already was a hot rod and muscle can enthusiast, liked these cars and always thought about building one of his own. Fast forward to a rerun of The Andy Griffith Show where Andy and Barney were tooling around in a new 1960 Ford as their squad car and Scott thought its flowing lines would lend themselves well to fulfilling his dream.

As the story continues, Scott located a suitable four-door donor for his project, one that had just 30,000 miles on it. He cut off the top and windshield and drafted a local custom car builder to fabricate the tilting, twin canopy roof. Two electrically-actuated cylinders were then employed to raise and lower the top. The passenger doors were welded shut and all the gaps filled to give the car a seamless appearance. Occupants were to enter and exit from the driver’s side. To further the science fiction appearance of the car, 10 taillights from a 1959 Cadillac were used out back, flanked by a “jet thruster” in the middle which really was the bullet from the nose of a 1951 Ford. The exterior was painted in Roth Metalflake Trippin’ See Sic Blue, which looks particularly outstanding in the right light.

George Jetson’s car sat four people (plus Astro), so the Spaceliner has bucket seats for four passengers, as well. The stock dashboard was used but modified slightly to support the jet-like persona of the car. As an additional throwback to the wild show cars that helped inspire this one, the door panels are draped in three-inch baby blue angel hair fur. The car doesn’t just sit around and look cool; since the transformation of the original car, 12,000 more miles have been added to the odometer.

When you look under the hood, the surprises continue. Rather than dropping in a 390 V-8 or some other big block to make it go as fast as it looks, the Spaceliner is largely stock and original there. The 223 cubic -inch inline-six (called the Mileage Maker) that came with the car is still there, paired with the Ford-O-Matic two-speed automatic transmission. Everything under the hood has been detailed, of course, and painted to look the part the whole car plays. We’re told the motor provides adequate power and reliability and delivers good fuel economy. To assist in lowering the car, airbags in the rear and cut coil springs in the front are the only deviations from the stock suspension. Stock drum brakes are used to slow this spaceship down. Look out!

The seller’s car has certainly made a name for itself. It’s appeared worldwide in the entertainment media, from television, film, magazines, music videos and museums to art galleries, fashion model shoots and – of course – the internet. On YouTube alone, we’re told the car has more than 400 million views. It has also won a number of awards.

What should become of this car once it changes hands? A public museum would be a great choice so it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. It’s much a piece of art as it is an automotive engineering marvel. And it runs and drives, so the new owner could hop around town and freak out all the neighbors. I, for one, will be following this sale to conclusion to see how much it goes for.

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  1. Big_Fun Member

    I love and hate that this has the original 6 cylinder power train….

    Like 22
    • 8thNote 8thNote Member

      I think that long straight 6 looks perfect under the hood. It looks very streamlined and lends perfectly to the jet age aesthetic

      Like 29
    • local_sheriff

      I understand you’re mixed feelings… I love I-6’s but I ,too , was expecting way more revolutionary propulsion here; at least a turbine engine or maybe a nuclear reactor…? Instead we find the Ford engine of its era with the LEAST power potential of them all; probably only subsided by the 144! Even a modern day Ecotec I-4 would make this thing fly as should be expected by its looks.

      This is true automotive art, so I guess as with most artists the choice of its I-6 was to promote controversy…?

      Like 8
    • Paul Oberman

      I actually love the 6….

      Like 10
  2. Big_Fun Member

    Would this look better with rear fender skirts?
    If so, body color, or chrome?

    Like 9
    • sir_mike

      yes it would and body color

      Like 16
  3. Moparman Member

    “Kool”, yes! But how cool is it when driving? I don’t see any mention of A/C, or flow through ventilation, so I imagine it would be rather toasty inside on a
    sunny day. It’s “Kool” that it is a running and drive able “Kustom”! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 26
  4. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    That’s as cool as it gets! Nice find, Russ!

    Like 10
  5. MattR Member

    I love my gas cars but I of 1 be damned, this thing is screaming for a Tesla motor conversion.

    Like 15
    • Jim

      You can’t be serious! You’d take a one of a kind car and “convert” it??????

      Like 1
  6. Raoul-F Raoul-F Member

    Not usable during rain at Saturn ( no wipers)…and not usable during sunshine on Venus ( no a/c or shadowing roof) …best usable in a nice dry spring or autumn day in Austria :-)

    Like 16
  7. Billy1

    All this needs is JATO rocket boost and it’s complete!.

    Like 7
  8. Autoworker

    Car show fun, but no air conditioning. You’re gonna bake on a hot day.

    Like 12
  9. Skorzeny

    A straight six and drum bakes? Wake up man!!

    Like 5
  10. Bob S

    Everyone’s commenting on no air. At this price, what’s another thousand or so to add an aftermarket unit on it?

    Like 19
    • karl

      They complain about no air on just about any car that gets posted here , even if the car model never came with a/c

      Like 6
  11. Poppy

    Anyone know when this custom was created? I can’t seem to find a year in the write up or the eBay listing.

    Like 1
  12. Troy s

    It’s a show car first, second, and third. No ones gonna drive it outside of back and forth onto a trailer. At least that’s how I look at it. Maybe a parade?
    Neat concept I would almost expect from Oldsmobile back then with all their “spacey ” names…Dynamic, Delta, Jetfire come to mind right away.
    Seems to me I had a toy car like this Ford, Hot Wheels or Matchbox I don’t remember. Different

    Like 9
    • Wayne from oz

      Troy S the seller says it’s done 12000 kms since conversion

      • Troy s

        That’s crazy! A lot of miles in a space truckin’ Ford.

  13. AMCFAN

    This is awesome. Looks like a real lifesize creation from a 1960 Ford AMT 3N1 Model kit! Bravo!

    Like 9

    The actual Fairlane that this rig is modeled on is a gorgeous car in its own right. (especially the convertible) That being said…it’s a good thing I haven’t the budget to bid…because there would be mods on the mods . Big V8…A/C…a curved roadster glass that pegs into the A pillar for sunny day top-off drives…all disc brakes…fatter wheels…color keyed bumper…and that “rocket nozzle ” on the back gets a coupla slotted intakes and a fan blade that spins ringed with a pulsating LED light.(not sorry)

    Like 4
  15. JoeNYWF64

    Payin tolls must be a bummer in this thing.
    Roof bubbles are bit too high.
    Vintage a/c a must.
    Mods might work better on a ’61 t-bird.
    I wonder if a glass roof like on the Ford FX Atmos was considered.

    Like 2
  16. Dave

    Time to take it to next level- so many good suggestions put forth here- Disc brakes, air conditioning , color coordinating fender skirts, lots of rain-x

    Like 5
  17. Paul Oberman

    I love everything about it….. especially not having to listen to the passenger talk, but….

    Can you imagine how damn hot you would get?

    Like 8
  18. casimonsjr

    Well, that was a shocker!!!! THis builder does live in a world of his own. 6/automatic? Beautiful ‘No go showboat’

    Like 2
    • Paul Oberman

      I imagine if you really wanted to make it go, you could do all sorts of things to that 6 to get it moving.

      Like 5
  19. Nick

    Imagine a break down at noon, in death valley. Instant convection oven! I can’t imagine the cost of windshield insurance!

    Like 6
  20. Paul Oberman

    I was thinking that it would be a great bit of performance art to drive this thing around, while wearing a giant Ant Costume.

    Like 8
  21. Vince H

    Nothing said about making up for the lack of stiffness after the roof was removed. If nothing was done it is not very drive able.

    Like 3
  22. Lance

    So Ford puts Caddy tail lights on a Galaxie and a couple of bubble canopies, a straight six and this is something people are willing to shell out 35K thus far???? Did I miss something here???

    Like 2
    • Frank

      Yes…Ford didn’t do it.

      Like 1
  23. paul n

    with my bald head; I’d have to wear a hat every time its sunny out

    Like 2
  24. Lance G Nord

    I’m curious whether the bubbles are acrylic or polycarbonate. Acrylic will rapidly yellow and is extremely prone to scratching (but inexpensive). Polycarbonate can be had that is UV resistant and it can be (almost) scratch proof but it would be pricey to fabricate. I would definitely want to know who fabricated the bubbles and see if he still has the molds because those bubbles will need to be replaced at some point in the future.

    I would add air conditioning, disc brakes and pulsing LED red lights in the rocket nozzle then drive this bad boy on weekends and special occasions. It’s really quite cool!

    Like 6
  25. TimM

    Really cool and definitely a Rubber-neck car!! You couldn’t pass this going down the road and not do a double take on it!! Really unique and cool

    Like 1
  26. Fran

    Cool car, some nice pictures and some stupid pictures of it….What did it sell for, or are we going to see it in RE-LIST-VILLE?

    Like 1
  27. lbpa18

    At the altitudes this should cruise at, the temps are pretty low and a heater is better. Besides, the heat generated by friction at high mach numbers more than offsets the cold. I did not see the lever to retract the wheels, but I cant imagine that was not considered upon manufacture.

    When I was in third grade, I had a nun who drove one. They werent supposed to drive and were supposed to be from earth, but I was pretty sure she didnt comply with either requirement. Fifty-five years later, Im still not sure, but this car could answer some long held questions.

    Like 2
  28. Bob McK Member

    Great posting. Nice to see someone’s creation that is so unusual.

    Like 1
  29. Darrun

    Cool car. One of Chrysler’s early 60’s turbine engines would be icing on the cake!

    Like 6
  30. Rustytech

    Wow! A tanning bed on wheels.

    Like 1
  31. Joe Spinelli

    looking under the hood is like flirting with a girl thats really giving you a terrific vibe and out of the blue she suddenly says…”i have a boyfriend”

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Or, the gorgeous girl that gives off all the right signals and at that exact moment tells you about her 5 kids and 3 ex husbands. And her STD.

      Like 2
  32. RichardinMaine

    Disc brakes, AC, a fake jet intake in reworked grill, and a serious HP electric drivetrain. Why not, it’s a Jetsons-mobile!

    Like 1
  33. Lothar Breuers

    This is not a car you take to the drag strip.

  34. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Funny from the rear with those Caddy taillights this looks more like a slightly customized 1959 Mercury.

  35. Dale S.

    A 1961 Plymouth Fury would have worked too for the base car. The original taillights could remain without any ‘enhancements’.

    Like 1
  36. Motorsport Whse

    This car started life as a Starliner, not a Fairlane It was one of the longest cars Ford made at the time. Foose also did a Starliner some yrs ago.
    Did anyone check out the video of under the hood ? he should of done it at night…the spark plug wires ends, lite up in like these glass tubes. Looks pretty cool.

    Like 1
    • PJH

      That’s the first thing I thought.
      I only saw one starliner in my area a few years ago. It was in Ottawa, Canada.
      Very cool and well designed car of the era.
      It was red on red, all original.
      One of Ford’s best designs.
      This spaceship is all too cool!
      Think they may have got their ideas off the”Lincoln Futura” though. Just as Baris did for the Batmobile.

      Almost as cool as my 60 chevy (El Camino)!
      Can’t beat the tail fin era!!

  37. chrlsful

    luv those ‘low hood’ air cleaner housings (3, 4 yrs only?). But…
    boy, U can’t drive this in the typical classic car areas (SoCo, AZ, TX, etc) or U will burn up! The glass house on this one needs a sun screen!

    This will make it performance oriented:

    Like 1

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