Live Auctions

Solid and Original: 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

You will often read articles by motoring journalists where they wax lyrical about modern convertibles with folding metal or retractable tops, marveling about this recent and groundbreaking development. In fact, the opposite is true, and this 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner acts as a witness for the prosecution. This classic is sixty-five years old and features the retractable top that leaves many modern journalists in awe. The seller purchased the car as part of a lot of five vehicles but feels it needs to go to a new owner who can do this solid and rust-free classic justice. Therefore, it is listed here on eBay in Fulton, Missouri. The bidding has crawled to $3,650, which is below the reserve. They offer a BIN option of $23,500 for those wishing to throw caution to the wind. I must say a big thank you to eagle-eyed Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this beauty.

The seller indicates that the Skyliner had been sitting for at least five years when they purchased it twelve months ago. Considering its overall condition, the storage environment must have been nearly ideal. Surface corrosion is visible across various areas, but nothing looks set to make that step up to genuine penetrating rust. The panels look clean, and having spent almost its entire life in the dry climes of Arizona will have helped preserve the steel. The Berkshire Green paint has marks and imperfections, but no issues demand immediate attention. If the buyer elects to retain the car as an original survivor, a buff and polish may be all that is required. Some trim pieces are damaged beyond repair, but the remaining components look like they would polish nicely. The glass looks good, but the state of the retractable top is unknown. The operating mechanisms for these are fearsomely complicated and would require a specialist if it is inoperative. That may sound extreme, but considering there are seven reversible motors, four lift jacks, ten solenoids, ten limit switches, six locking mechanisms, and a handful of relays, it is easy to see how a single component could quickly bring proceedings to a shuddering halt. Unless you possess infinite patience or are an electrical masochist, it is easier to leave the heartache to someone else!

If we turn our attention to this Ford’s interior, we see that the first thing it needs is a deep clean. There will undoubtedly be items requiring replacement, but the upholstered components may not make that list. There is a minor flaw on the driver’s side of the front seat, but the rest looks good for its age. A few bright trim pieces are absent from the dash, the wheel has cracks and wear, and the carpet has seen better days. The trim pieces may pose a challenge, although good secondhand items frequently appear on the usual online auction sites. The buyer could restore the wheel in their workshop, while a carpet set would lighten their wallet by around $270. With those issues addressed, the interior would present well for a driver-grade vehicle.

Ford offered 1957 Skyliner buyers a few engine options, and this classic’s original owner ordered it equipped with the D-Code 312ci V8 producing 265hp. They added a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. That combination would have provided a relaxed driving experience while allowing the Skyliner to cover the ¼ mile in 17.4 seconds. The seller indicates the car has been inactive for more than five years and will require a fuel system clean and a thorough inspection as part of the process to become roadworthy. They poured fuel down the carburetor, and that V8 returned to life with no issues. There is still work ahead for the new owner, but it looks like they will commence from a solid foundation.

Aladdin was a character in an Arabic folktale, and the genie of the lamp granted him three wishes. I would love to have that lamp, but I would only require two wishes. The first would be to own a larger workshop, while the second would be to have the money to buy classics like this 1957 Skyliner. It isn’t the only vehicle featured on Barn Finds that I have desired. It is just the latest! Hence the need for a bigger workshop. The overall impression from the listing and supplied photos is that it would represent a great candidate for someone seeking a first or DIY project. They could perform most of the tasks in a home workshop but may need professional assistance if the top proves inoperative. Alternatively, they could treat it to little more than a wet sand and polish to enjoy it as a genuine survivor. What path will you take if you achieve what I can’t by finding it in your garage?


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    What path would I take….oh yeah, I find the nearest drag strip and see if I could do the quarter mile in 17.4 seconds.

    Like 6
    • bone

      After a “deep clean” , of course

      Like 5
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Top is not working that’s evidence by the rear lid open. It’s electrically driven has or had a battery in it so something is not working properly. May be something simple or an obsolete limit switch. Doesn’t have the rear squat that I have seen with some of these. Could be a really nice car with some help.

    Like 8
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice clean design. Probably the best one out there until they got to the ’60. Only Ford we’ve ever owned was a used ’57 two door pretty much acquired in a trade for our ’53 Studebaker coupe.

    Like 2
  4. Timmy V

    This is the only Skyliner I’ve ever seen without the awful continental spare kit.

    Like 11
  5. Fred W

    Tops are not as intimidating as you might think. I had one in the 90’s, purchased in very similar condition with top not functional. Found the wiring diagram, got to understand the sequence of events and had it working in a couple of weeks. I would bet you could find a Youtube video that would help in troubleshooting. Deck lid already being unscrewed is a big plus, if it isn’t, or the screws are frozen, it’s like getting in a safe!

    Like 13
  6. george mattar

    Good comment Fred W, but remember, most people today have the attention span of about 3 seconds. It’s more important what’s on Tik Tok or sit in the drive thru at Starbucks for 45 minutes for an overpriced, horrible tasting burnt cup of garbage they serve. And don’t forget useless Facebook. I work at a Dodge dealer. It’s not surprising to me why nothing gets done. Most walk around in a daze looking at a phone they can’t afford. Incredible stupid world we live in.

    Like 4
  7. Charles Atlas

    My dad’s first car after moving to San Francisco was a ’57 Ford Fairlane 500, black 2 door, from S&C Ford.
    Years later, traded it in for a new ’63 Pontiac Catalina 4 door, metallic blue, from Roger Boas Pontiac in SF.

    Like 10
  8. Allen

    Sorry. I’m not seeing a continental kit on this one??

  9. Allen

    I am an old man now but when I was 20, I bought a black and white one for $100. I loved it but was the worst $100 i ever spent. The top didn’t work, and it was way beond my abilities to fix it. I lived on a farm and hauled it to the back junk pile. I often wonder if it may still be setting there.

    Like 2
    • Don

      I’ll bet the rust rats got to it years ago.

      Like 3
  10. George Birth

    Nice looking car, but short on details.

  11. tiger66

    Quote: “equipped with the D-Code 312ci V8 producing 265hp.”

    D-Code ’57 312 was 245hp, not 265hp. Gross hp of course.

    Like 1
  12. Richard Kirschenbaum

    First working retractable hardtop was the ’38 Peugeot Eclipse the design and engineering was purchased from one Geoges Paulin, who worked with Rolls Royce and coachbuilders like Figoni Falaschi. Ironically Paulin was a dentist by profession and a Jew. He was in the French Resistance and was betrayed by Vichy collaborators and “executed” by the Nazis in 1942. Whoever sold him out should have been fed into a tree shredder.

    Like 3
  13. Al

    Beautiful example of a terrific car. If I were a bit younger…
    E-bay pics seem to show missing interior parts, all available I’m sure. There are a number of guys who can repair this top mechanism. The scrapes on the top are of concern, obvious misalignment or something loose in the trunk. Doubt it will make reserve, but if seller is serious it should be a reasonable start for a survivor/driver.

  14. gaspumpchas

    $10,500 now. Good luck, you will need it.

  15. tiger66

    Quote: “That combination would have provided a relaxed driving experience while allowing the Skyliner to cover the ¼ mile in 17.4 seconds.”

    Relaxed driving experience, maybe, but likely not the quarter in 17.4. Motor Trend tested a ’57 Fairlane 500 Town Sedan with the 312 and Fordomatic and got 18.2 in the quarter and that car had a weight advantage over the Skyliner of more than 500 pounds. Doubt the much heavier Skyliner is in the lower 17s with the same drivetrain. The performance figures used in every post by this BF writer come from Automobile-Catalog and are based on computer simulations, not real world road tests, which often tell a different story.

  16. KarlS

    I have read that the 1957 Skyliner was the most complicated of the three years there were Skyliners. Meaning all the electronics and hydraulics and everything else that it took to raise and lower the top. The continental kit was more or less required because there wasn’t any trunk room. If you’ve seen these cars at car shows usually there is a basket right in the middle of the so-called trunk for your groceries, etc.

  17. Kenn

    KarlS you are correct re: the basket in the middle, and the very real need for a continental kit if you were going to carry a spare tire. Regarding the operating mechanism of the top: It’s worse than anything mentioned here. With a schematic to track down the wiring, relays, etc you still need to test each and every one of them as well as continuity of the wires, the mechanicals, etc. etc.
    I bough one of these to restore and determined I had neither the time nor the patience to get things working again. Had I been younger, it could be simplified and still work by making some of the operation manual.

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