Some cars are just beautiful and inspired. One of those cars is the 1958 Ford Skyliner Retractable that the LeMay Collection took on donation from Barbara Birt. She called the car “Poptop.”
The vehicle was assessed by Collection Management volunteers and restored to working condition before it was sold to fund future acquisitions.
Ford crafted the Skyliner from 1957 through 1959, making it the first retractable hardtop to be mass produced. The top was driven by electric motors that included gears that opened the trunk lid so the hardtop could fold into a package in the trunk. The top sequences through each motion controlled by solenoids, micro-switches, and motors, and is operated with one switch located at the left side of the steering column. Its electrical engineering was a marvel of the time.
The Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of the roof and retracted it under the rear deck lid. It had three roof motors driving four lift jacks, four door-lock motors, 10 solenoids, four locking mechanisms for the roof and a total of 610 feet of wiring.
The large top took up vast amounts of trunk space, limiting the car's sales. Production totaled 20,766 cars in 1957, declining to 14,713 in 1958 and to 12,915 in 1959. The car had a 200-horsepower or 300-horsepower engine and got about 14 miles per gallon. Skyliners are valuable collectible cars, topping out at about $75,000.