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Cool Old Press Photos: '57 Ford Skyliner

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  • #16
    Re: Cool Old Press Photos: '57 Ford Skyliner

    Originally posted by kso4
    Interesting cars and mechanisms. "Screw pins", I don't know what else to call them, came together into sockets which, when turned by speedometer cable-type drives, pulled the stuff together to seal the weather out... The huge trunk had a rectangular fence in the middle of it where you needed to reach over to put your luggage into as all of the perimeter area needed to be kept clear for the top to go...

    When Cadillac came out with a retractible hard top a few years ago we were amused to see it demonstrated at a car malfunctioned and 3 or 4 people fiddled with it for a half-hour to get it fixed. We weren't left with the belief that we should have one.
    There was a clay artist at GM styling named Francis Scott who rebuilt an almost-new '58 Corvette total. Didn't have a garage so he removed the body and passed it sideways through the front door of his house. While he was at it he converted the car into a retractable hardtop using two of the motors and drive cables from a Ford Skyliner. (Scotty played standup bass in a jazz combo, needed to put down the top to carry his ax.) Really clever setup -- he was awarded a patent on the folding track mechanism, which as a GM employee he had to assign to the company for $1. He showed the car to Bill Mitchell once, who essentially said BFD and walked away. But the thing was so well built it led to stories of a factory Corvette retractable, especially since it was seen around the tech center every day.

    Folding hardtops are old news anymore. The current Pontiac G6 version was done by Karman. An international design firm was pitching a Mustang S197 retractable hardtop to Ford not too long ago. (Irony.) For a while the prototype was sitting in the showroom of George Huisman's shop in Novi, Classic Design Concepts. He was giving me a demo of it and sure enough, when the top got to halfway the battery went dead, rrr-rrr-rrr.