A gentleman removes his hat. I suspect the design team at the Ford Motor Company in the 1950’s were gentlemen – gentlemen or inveterate fiddlers. You must make up your own mind when you examine the details of this car.
It is a 1959 Ford Skyliner – LHD so it does indeed come from North America and that is the correct year designation. The premise of the car is that the driver and passengers wish to have a open car during fine weather and a closed car during inclement* weather – and they do not wish to trust themselves to a cloth top or to concern themselves with manually erecting it.
Thus is born the Skyliner – with a hard top that tucks away into the boot of the car by means of electromechanical solenoids, struts, hydraulic cylinders, and long pieces of metal. It is the mechanical second cousin to the bomb bay doors on a B-47.
It works. The owners of the car have operated it to a mid-position and then stopped the action so that the visitors to Gillam Drive could see what was taking place – I am eternally grateful to them for this as it is wonderful and horrifying in one go. Please note in particular the complex nature of the pantographs, their delicate curves, and the strength they evince in cantilevering that much top out that far. I am going to assume that the process can be done whilst the passengers are seated in the car, though not while travelling at speed. I was just sorry that my stay could not be extended to allow me to see it in operation at the end of the afternoon.
Quibblers will undoubtedly laugh at the metal bin in the boot – the only space available amidst the flailing arms to actually stow lggage. They will decry the small size – well they can laugh but this is not the car for migration to the Yukon – it is a country-club car for sunnier climes and shorter runs -and it is a glorious evocation of the period.
Please also note the Continental spare and extended bumper and shelf needed to carry it. I am seriously impressed with the semicircular metal trough that lets the red light out from the tail lights. If John McSweeney would like to invite me for a ride – I’ll come along gladly.
- “inclement weather” was the excuse I had to give to the Calgary school board when I wanted to eat my lunch in the school basement instead of going a mile home and a mile back to school. Inclement weather in Calgary meant horizontal blizzards and the buses on their sides at the bottom of ice hills.