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One of 1,999 Made: 1955 Ford Crown Victoria Transparent Top

Here’s a rare one. 1955 was the first-year of the full-sized Fairlane, and over 626,000 were built. But only a mere 1,999 of those were Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Transparent Tops with its distinctive permanent sunroof. (Ford used the Skyliner name in 1954 and 1956, but not in ’55.) Ford’s marketing machine referred to it as a “distinctive skylight top…the entire front section of the roof is a tinted transparent panel that lets in sky and stars.” Ford had offered a smaller paneled permanent sunroof on the 1954 Crestline Skyliner and 13,334 were sold. But sales dropped significantly to 1,999 in ’55 and would plummet to only 603 Skyliners in ’56. So, it’s been the rarest ’55 Ford for generations and who knows how many of these have survived. We’ve only featured four ’55 Transparent Tops here on Barn Finds and this one is advertised as in “like new” condition. Based on the photographs, that’s a believable claim. This gorgeously restored ’55 Ford is currently in Norfolk, Virginia and is for sale here on craigslist for a $60,000 asking price. Thanks to Wiggy G. for sending this great tip our way.

I love the colorful, stylish automobiles of the mid-to-late ’50’s. And this one checks almost all of my boxes. First, the two-toned color combination of Sea Sprite Green and Snowshoe White epitomizes the mid ’50’s (turquoise was a very popular color), and the paint job on this Ford looks great. In fact, everything about the exterior of this car can be put into the “great-looking” category from the chrome, and glass to the trim and rust-free straight panels. Some readers will be cool with the added on Continental Kit, but I think the ’55’s clean styling looks better without it. That’s just my opinion. Other options spotted are dual spotlights, fog lights, I also like that it’s sporting the optional wire wheel covers on those period-correct whitewall tires. Another classy touch to a classy-looking coupe.

The seller, who is selling the car for a friend, doesn’t share any information about the Fairlane’s history and is scant with the description as well. For starters, it’s listed as an “all original car,” which can’t be correct given it has a new interior, and I can’t imagine that being its original 68-year-old paint. The two-tone vinyl seats and color-coordinated door panels, carpeting, and instrument panel (with the new Astra-Dial Control Panel with, as Ford describes, a speedometer high up on the control panel with a transparent hood for daylight illumination) all look terrific. The seller says the Crown Vic has power steering, power brakes, and an automatic transmission.

There’s quite a bit of the ″sky-view″ transparent top on these ’55 models. It wasn’t Plexiglass, but rather 1/4-inch thick molded acrylic plastic with a blue-green tint. It was weather-sealed and supposedly unaffected by heat, cold, or moisture. Although “convenient roof curtains” could be used to enclose the transparent top on hot, sunny days, one of the downsides I’ve read about is the greenhouse effect it could have on the front seat passengers. Even though Ford offered Comfortaire air conditioning for the first time in 1955, it was a very rare and expensive factory option.

Under the hood is the venerable 272-cubic inch Y-Block V8 that could produce 162 horsepower when new. It’s mated to a Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission. Like the rest of this beauty, the engine and engine bay is clean and tidy and like-new. The odometer reading is listed at 59,000 with no mention if those are the original miles or not. This is probably one of the finest surviving Crown Victoria Transparent Tops around, especially in this gorgeous color combination. Hopefully it’ll find a new home and be pampered for another 68 years or so.


  1. Mike

    Only 1,999? Ford couldn’t build one more to round it up to a nice even 2k?

    Like 12
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Beautiful car but the continental kit does nothing to enhance it’s look.

    Like 43
    • Bob

      Why do people load up these beautiful cars with so much eye jewelry? There must be an optional JCWhitney catalog stored in the trunk.

      Like 3
    • Will Fox

      I agree Bob. The continental kit simply adds bulk and unnecessary extra weight to the car. I feel strongly the same when these are on `55 Mercurys. It’s just too much.

      Like 19
    • John B. Traylor

      First thing I’d remove is the blasted continental kit, does nothing for the car.

      Like 1
    • Sykerocker

      My father was a Chevrolet dealer back in 1950-65 and, of course, I grew up in the showroom. Every year there was a three-ring binder big catalog of the entire car line and all accessories in a prominent location in the showroom, and that accessories section was loaded with all sorts of bolt-on gew gaws: Fender skirts, fake exhaust ports, wire wheel covers, fake spotlights, second rear fender radio antennas, etc. For some reason, restorers go nuts adding these items to their cars, and while they’re period correct, they did not sell all that well, and dad’s store never kept more than one of each part in stock at any time.

      About the only exception to this was the bolt-on underdash swing-out tissue dispenser, which was fairly popular. Otherwise, it’s a prime example of loading a car up with junk that has little to do with how those cars were actually delivered to the customer. And there are a much higher percentage of those Continental kits showing now at shows than there ever were back in the day.

      Like 2
  3. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    Pretty car, and I agree that the continental tire detracts from its appearance. When I was a kid, I loved making the AMT models and adding the continental kit with skirts, but my taste is more refined these days :-). We had a 55 Ford wagon and the round radio was cool. It always smelled like a previous owner had been a pipe smoker.

    A buddy of mine had a glass top Ford when he was young and said that he roasted in it when the sun was out. It’s a nice look, but not practical.

    Just last week, I chased a guy around a parking lot until he parked the attached 56. He had it for a couple of years and only did some minor cosmetic work. You can’t see it in this picture, but the gaps on the trunk/boot were terrible. The left side had perhaps 1/16″ clearance while the right was almost 1/4″. Very pretty as you can see. Paint had a little orange peel with nice shine but no depth. Just a nice driver.

    Like 7
  4. tom collins

    nice car, market price around $40,000, good luck ,6 volt only, add air for $2500 then you can drive it on a sunny day……..tommyboy certified appraiser

    Like 3
  5. Bunky

    Beautiful car! Friend’s dad had a ‘56 Crown when I was in high school. Very cool. Wanted one ever since. I’ve come to appreciate the ‘55 because the chrome trim is more restrained. I saw a near twin to this car at the Wheels and Waves car show in Seaside OR. It did not have a continental kit- and looked much better IMHO

    Like 4
    • al

      the speedometer with the clear top was not new for 1955 it was also used in the 1954 fords

      Like 4
      • Ron Denny Ron Denny Staff

        Good point. I should’ve been clearer that the Astra-Dial Control Panel was all new for ’55, not the speedometer with the distinctive transparent hood.

        Like 1
  6. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Back around 1960, doing some farm work for a guy and he had some guys there to do the hay mow work. One had a similar Ford with a glass top, and as a kid it impressed the heck out of me. I was young and he let me sit in it and look through the roof. Never seen something like that before and I really liked it.
    I like this one too.

    Like 4
  7. scottymac

    Not associated with auction or company, but Mecum’s going to have one in Indy this weekend.


    Closest I’ve ever come is an ’09 Mustang GT glasstop. Another Mustang I probably should have held onto.

    Like 0
  8. Richard

    Beautiful car, though the price is high.
    My parents had a ’55 Mainline 2 door sedan, with the 223 “Mileage Maker” six, and a three speed manual transmission. I came home from the hospital in it.

    Like 1
  9. HC Member

    It would have been money better spent on adding a dealer type AC unit than this Continental kit, IMO. These are rare birds for sure and I’m sure the seller will get close to what he’s asking. She’s a beauty, what a great find.

    Like 2
  10. Beyfon

    I have no idea about the production numbers but funny enough these glass top Crown Victorias were pretty common in Sweden. That was all very odd as most American cars sold new in Sweden were the most basic 6-cylinder 3-speed cars with non-flashy colors and no options. I remember stories about how Ford US had rounded up unsold glass top cars and shipped them all off to Sweden where the cold climate would make the greenhouse effect less of an issue.

    Like 4
  11. RacerDave

    Nice ride, am Torn Between New & Vintage now, have lots Vintage but like New Camaro I4 Turbo, have had Fords, Chevys, Mopar. Love my New Base Camaro (2 Options), Vivid Orange & Automatic. Cool Vic though!

    Like 0
  12. Tom C

    My brother’s first car was a black and white 55 Crown Victoria. Power windows and seat, pull down armrest in the back, V8/auto. A fun car to drive. Back in 1955, my dad bought a new Ford 2 dr Mainline Sedan. The only option on it was the 272 V8, standard brakes and steering, no clock, radio, or stainless trim. I think the paint was Tahoe Turquoise (same color as the one in the first pictures) but at 6 years old, I thought it was the prettiest car I had ever seen.

    Like 2
  13. Robert PITTMAN

    In Peggy Sue Got Married, the girls drove the Mercury version. The green-tinted transparent roof was available exclusively on the top-of-the-line Ford Crestline two-door hardtop and, as they shared the same greenhouse and roof stamping, on the Mercury Monterey hardtop as well. Ford’s version was called the Skyliner, while the Mercury was named the Sun Valley after the resort town in Idaho. Ford of Canada offered a Monarch Lucerne Sun Valley and a Meteor Rideau Skyliner, too.

    Like 1
  14. Tiger66

    Kudos to the BF writer here, Ron Denny, for using the correct Ford term for this car –“Transparent Top” — instead of calling it a Skyliner which as he notes was not used for the ’55s. Good to see a writer getting that detail right since most don’t (though as already pointed out the Astra-Dial speedo was a carryover from ’54).

    Like 1

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