1959 Ford Fairlane Galaxie 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop, Model 51A, 2-door
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection; previous owners were from Gretna, Nebr. – 1992 – 93.
Original cost: $3,346.00 (without options) (Retractable hardtop added about $400 to price.)
Number made: 12,915
Engine, etc.: 8 cyl.;, 225 -300 hp (varied by production date); 118 in. wheelbase; 4,064 lbs.
The 1959 Fords are considered by many to be the most beautifully styled Fords ever built. At a time when other car manufacturers attempted to make their cars look capable of interstellar travel or supersonic speed, Ford exercised restraint.
The Galaxie was Ford’s top-of-the-line offering, featuring a V-8, an abundance of chrome, updated trim, and Thunderbird-inspired design elements. The Galaxie was produced from1959 – 1974.
Production total, above, includes Fairlane 500’s released in late 1958, prior to the convertible models (including the Sunliner) being absorbed into the new mid-year Galaxie series.
The retractable hardtops sold well when first introduced in 1957 (20,766 sold) but sales decreased to 12,915 in 1959.
Robert McNamara, president of Ford, wanted the Skyliner continued for 1960 but, with the all-new body and frame scheduled for that year, it would required serious development. The team that had made the first retractable top work had been broken up. Ben Smith, instrumental in the original design, had been sent to Ford’s operation in Argentina and some of the other engineers who had worked with him were involved in other projects. Six months of work and some $1 million were spent in preparation for a 1960-61 retractable hardtop before Ford canceled production at the end of 1959.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford/1959_Ford/1959_Fords_Mailer/dirindex.html (Original 1959 brochure with specifications; pdf)