EXCLUSIVE: 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner ($2k Price Drop!)

UPDATE 3/14/17 – Mike has decided to drop his asking price to $2,900!

FROM 2/18/17 – Well now this was an interesting use of the Ford Skyliner’s massive trunk. Sure, you could store all of this junk inside the trunk, but throwing it on top is so much easier and more convenient. This poor Fairlane is in pretty rough shape after spend 30 years parked in this barn, but thankfully reader Michael A cleaned it off and got it out of the barn. It’s going to need a ton of work and he just doesn’t have time for it, so he’s decided to see if any of you would like to have it. It can be found in Purchase, New York with a $4,999 $2,900 asking price. You can contact him using the form below if you’re interested.

With it out of the barn, you can see better see the condition its in. It’s definitely going to need a ton of work, but I actually think it has an interesting look to it as it is. My biggest concern is rust, as it’s been in New York for the majority, if not all, of its life. While a little surface rust can be easily dealt with, serious decay is a different story. If the structural integrity hasn’t been compromised, I think it would actually make for one heck of a ratty runner!

There were 3 engine options available in the Fairlane 500 Skyliner for ’57, a 292 cui V8 and two trim levels of the 312 cui V8. Mike didn’t say which engine this one has, but given the 2 barrel carb, I’m going to assume it’s the 292. With 212 horsepower on tap, it should offer plenty of power. It looks a bit rough, but he assures us that it turns freely. He hasn’t tried starting it though, so it’s hard to say what it will take to get it running again.

As I’ve been looking this Ford over, I’ve been asking myself what I would do with it if it were mine and here’s what I’ve come up with. First off, I’d get the engine running, the drivetrain serviced and the brakes rebuilt. Then I’d tackle the interior, as it’s probably one of the worst parts of the car. You don’t want to catch a nasty disease just driving your car. So I’d clean it out, redo the seats and replace anything that’s decayed or been chewed on by wildlife.

Ford only built 20k of these Skyliners, so this car might actually be worth fully restoring. Personally, I don’t have the funds to do it all at once, so I would rather make it safe to drive and restore it as funds and time became available. The hope would be to then one day finish it off with a proper paint job, but I would get as much enjoyment as I could before taking that plunge. Plus, think of the kind of reactions you’d get rolling up in it looking all rough and barn fresh. So, now that I’ve got your imaginations running, what would you do with it? Special thanks to Michael for listing with us and we hope he finds a good home for it. Please use the form below to contact him if you’re interested.

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  1. Johnni B

    In the early 70’s a friend of a friend had one of these sitting in my friends garage along with a 57 BelAire convertible. Neither one ran but they both were in pretty good shape. I took the 57 over the Ford. I never knew what happened to that Ford after that. Boy was I stupid. I could have had both cars. Young and dumb.

  2. Howard A Member

    To clarify, it was not a massive trunk. In fact, the storage bin in the trunk was kind of an after thought, and the trunk is mostly for top down storage. These are incredibly complex to repair, but work remarkably well. I read, these have 7 reversible electric motors, 4 lift jacks, a series of relays, 10 limit switches, 10 solenoids, 4 locking mechanisms for the roof and 2 for the trunk and 610 feet of wire. These were terrible rusters, I remember, my late 2nd cousin had one when I was a kid. He was a tall man, and had to duck his head when the front roof portion folded. Many years went by, and the next time I saw it, it was in deplorable condition. The headlights were gone( bad spot) and a door was falling off. Lot of work here, but quite a find.

    • Jerry HW Brentnell

      we had a customer at dads garage that bought a meteor one of these [canadian ford sold through lincoln mercury dealers] he had nothing but trouble with the top on it 3 months later he dealt it off on a 2 door hard top mercury the top would go up half way and quit or go down and not come up the dealer had it more than he did!

  3. whippeteer

    You left out the biggest feature, and it’s not the trunk as its storage is actually limited, hence the things stored on top of it. Top down cruising with the retractible hardtop is the only way to go. Because the top retracts into the trunk, a storage bin is in the center of the trunk for your belongings.

    • Mike

      But isn’t it a bit tough to get at your belongings in the centre of the trunk when the top is down in there?

      • Mike H. Mike H


  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    That would be quite the project to tackle. It would keep you out of the local tavern for a long time. I’d like to try something like this just to say that I did it and survived. I’m sure you’d spend a couple of weeks just to get all the lifting gear adjusted….

  5. Fred W.

    Bought and restored one in the mid 90’s. Top didn’t work, got a shop manual and consulted dear old dad, the mechanical engineer. A week later, after adjusting a lot of switches and freeing up the trunk lid and windshield pillar screw mechanisms, the top worked fine. They are actually pretty easy to troubleshoot once you understand them. This one is parts only. Plenty of demand for parts, pay $2000 and make $10K on parts ( after spending about 5 years on Ebay selling them one by one).

    • Bill McCoskey

      Fred – you are so right when you say these are not difficult to work on. It’s usually a matter of adjusting various pieces that previous owners tried to adjust without benefit of the manual. They are simply a series of different mechanical/electrical actions that run in series. Wherever it stops working is where the problem lies.

  6. Joe Haska

    I think these re-trackable hardtop’s are finally finding an audience. Not that long ago they were relatively cheap no one seemed to want to mess with them. I always thought that would change, so I bought all of them I could find, oh wait a minuet that was in my dreams

  7. Charles

    See several of these at ‘All Fords’ car shows. Seem to be more plentiful than previous years. However, this one would require an extensive rehab, including lots of money and time and work. Unless you are a ‘car guy’ would have to send it out for work. As in a previous post, may be smart to purchase as a parts car.

    Like 1
  8. Mark S

    I worked at a spring manufactor and we had one of these come in for rear spring replacement. The car was perfect from top to bottom. The techition put to much heat to the rear spring while cutting it out. He caught the seat on fire in the back of the car luckily it got put out before the car burned down and the shop had to pay to have the whole interior redone. No idea what ever happened to the car after that, but what I can tell you is when these skyliners are restored they are gorgeous.

    Like 1
  9. RicK

    Too bad they missed the high scrap metal prices of a few years ago . . .

    Like 1
  10. Kevin Wernick

    Of course it’s worth restoring, you don’t find one parked on every street corner. However, a 312 would have been a much better power option

    • jcs

      Actually, the 292 with a quad was a pretty decent motor. I had a ’56 Country Sedan 9 passenger wagon with a 3 speed stick and could actually chirp the rear tires going into 3rd. Of course, the wagon could have had a lower rear end ratio. Too bad the metal worms got to it big time.

      • jackthemailman

        All those old Y-blocks had a sound I still love after all these years.

  11. Mr. TKD

    All the “But it didn’t actually come from a barn!” – people are rejoicing!

  12. Gear Head Engineer

    Interesting photo angles. Not one of them clearly shows the rockers or lower fenders. Nothing from underneath. I bet we can all guess what those photos would show.

    – John

  13. Fred Hicks

    My uncle Jim in Lima Oh worked at a local Ford factory . He bought one of these in 58. Had tons of trouble with it .So he traded it in on a regular 59 Ford .
    Good old uncle had a case of Blatz beer delivered to his house twice a week. It was delivered by Himmeies Delivery service . Never heard of a beer deliver service. Would be a great idea today )) We use to go see him about three times a year. He was one of my favorite uncles .

    Like 2
    • CJ

      WOW! A case of Blatz beer twice a week! That is a lot of beer to drink. How much did your uncle weigh? Great delivery service……

      Like 1
  14. Bill McCoskey

    The Skyliner was the most expensive Ford in ’57. So who orders a ’57 retract with the base engine and no power steering or power brakes? Those 2 options were about the same cost as the Town & Country signal-seeking radio in the car!

  15. Woodie Man

    Dont mean to be overly rude but this is a tough sell at half the price……..way too rusted

    Like 1
  16. John

    The flipper probably bought it for junk value

    • Greg A

      I don’t think it’s a flipper. it’s the same guy with the 62 Jag for sale to pay for a daughter’s wedding. These are really beautiful cars when restored.

  17. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Ugh. I’m so tainted by lusting after all these barn finds. Just one look at the center of the taillight tells me this car has gone through multiple seasons of extreme temperature changes. The center white reverse lamp lens looks melted. If this is the case, all soft parts will need replacement. And, after owning a 59 Sunliner convert, this aint gonna be cheap.

  18. Squanto

    Looked better with all the junk on it.

    Like 1
  19. Bruce

    That’s a tough car. When it is restored it will be even better!

  20. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Mike has decided to lower his asking price to $2,900. Any takers?

  21. RicK

    The price of scrap metal must have gone down since this was first posted

  22. Woodie Man

    This is just a damn sahme.

  23. Woodie Man

    shame lol

  24. dm

    This one isn’t as far gone as some. Seems odd in the way the various car companies had similar models that some late fifties GM vehicle didn’t mimic the Skyliner. Don’t recall even a GM “dream car” from back then that was a retractable.

  25. Kevin Wernick

    One of the few things gm didn’t copy from Ford.

  26. Healeymonster

    The top mechanism was also used on the 61-63 T-birds. I did a ground up restoration on a 62. The previous owners top stopped working and he took it to the local gas station to diagnose it. The poor 20 something lad changed all the rams, the pump, the relays and finally gave up shotgunning it when the owners checkbook quit working. I bought it off him and towed it home from the gas station as the rag joint in the steering was completely shot. After a bit of diagnostics I found a circuit breaker stuck open on the GROUND circuit of all places.. Suddenly it all came to life and did a beautiful dance. The T-birds had less room in the trunk than the retractables.The only thing inside mine was the spare and a car cover.

  27. mike d

    back when , in the mid 60s my dad was looking for a second car for the family, it may have been our first second car, Two brothers , whose sister I knew, were selling their Skyliners, a 57, and a 58, the 57 was white, and the 58 black, don’t recall too much about looking at them, they may have been unlicensed ( I was a twelve y/o kid at the time ) I THINK the prices they were tossing around was $ 700 & $ 800 we politely left, and when we were in the car, my dad said something to the effect, ” I’m NOT paying that kind of money for a GD ten year old car! who knew? the white 57 here could be a looker, but you would have to have deep pockets

  28. Healeymonster

    Here’s a 59 a friend bought a few years back on the cheap. Haven’t seen him in awhile so I don’t know if he’s still got it. If anyone is hard up for one I could dig up the info on it.

    • Horace

      Would appreciate your digging up info
      to contact your friend with the Skyliner

      • Healeymonster

        OK I will. I haven’t spoken to him in quite awhile so It will be good to catch up. I will reply here later today hopefully.
        Here is another pic of the factory AC

      • Healeymonster

        Hi Horace,
        Sorry to report that the Skyliner was sold late last year. The owner who is in his eighties has had declining health issues and has sold off most of his collection.
        Hope you find one that is in better condition than the one listed for sale here.

  29. Jim Marshall

    I loved 57 Fords, but they were very susceptible to the tin worm, so this one being from a rust belt state all it’s life requires careful consideration if restoring. I also has a shot at one of these babies back in 1975 that was at a Ford dealer I sold cars for with a mechanics lien for $88.00. It had been sitting in the back corner of the shop and the original owner had passed away and her daughter didn’t want anything to do with it. $88.00 bucks and it was mine. Top worked, no rust, it ran but I passed. It was a 2 tone green 58, not my first choice of the Ford Tri Fives of the period but you live and learn. I did a 63 500 XL convertible 14 years later so that helped relieve some of the 58 pain.

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