Despite it's relatively high price, the Ford Skyliner Retractable Hardtop sold fairly well in
1957 and 1958,
but 1959 would prove to be the final year for this unique "convertible hardtop".
To try to attract more buyers, Ford completely redesigned their "Flip-Top" for 1959.
The Skyliner received major design changes and 1959 models share no sheet metal with the
With slightly blunted rear fins and an overall more "squared" style, the 1959
Fords took on a more elegant and stately appearance. The front end received a new wide mouth
grill and huge bumper and the rear deck now sported a unique "Flying V" rear panel. On the
sides, the wide "swoosh" molding from 1958 was narrowed and moved up higher on the body. A
textured aluminum trim panel now flowed from the rear wheel well opening to the back bumper.
Inside the 1959 Skyliner, Ford installed a new interior that was much more durable than in
the prior 2 years. Mechanically, Ford introduced a new suspension that gave the big Fords
a lower, wider, softer ride and the 1959 models were much stronger and less prone to rust
than the 1957 and 1958 Fords. Even the complicated retractable top mechanism was completely
redesigned in 1959. Options continued from prior years and a Cruise-o-Matic 3-speed automatic
transmission could be added for $231, 4-way power seats for $64 and Style-Tone 2-tone paint was
only $26! But one of the biggest changes in 1959 was the introduction at mid-year of the new
"Galaxie" model name, which now adorned Ford's top models, including the Skyliner, and
relegated the "Fairlane" name to the second-tier models. Building on the public's fascination
with America's "Space Race" endeavors, the "Galaxie" name was a big hit with buyers, even though
some referred to the new line as the "1959 Ford Galaxy". But despite the new naming, the buying
public was now more interested in speed and performance, than gimmicky retractable
hardtops. And with a price that was only $600 less than a Thunderbird, the 1959 Ford Galaxie
Skyliner Retractables were a pricey oddity, with only 12,915 sold in 1959. Too bad,
because the Ford Skyliner was a unique and attractive example of 1950's style and engineering.