In post-recession 1958, Ford sales were down compared to 1957, but Ford Dealers still sold a
respectable 14,713 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtops. Following the same style
as the previous year, the 1958 Ford Fairlane Retractable used the same basic body panels as the
the 1957 Ford Skyliner
but the front and rear clips were enhanced substantially. With a new front bumper and mesh
grill, and 4 headlights instead of just 2, the 1958 Ford Fairlane had a wider more aggressive
look. At the rear, the '58 fenders now held 4 taillights in 2 "pods", similar to Ford's new 4
passenger Thunderbird. 1958 Ford Skyliners were 1" longer and roughly 180 lbs. heavier than
the previous year, depending on which engine you ordered (from the standard 292ci V8 - 212bhp
and new 332ci engines, to the asphalt-rippin' 352ci "Interceptor" motor putting out 300 bhp!).
Mechanically, the new 332 and 352ci motors received larger valves, larger bearings and a
stronger molded (instead of forged) crankshaft. Structurally, new reinforcement bars were
incorporated into the Retractable's Hide-Away top, to correct metal flexing issues that were
reported with some 1957 Skyliners. In the styling department, the 1958 Ford Skyliner showed
off a new "indented scoop" in the hood like the rest of the 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 models.
And new wider "swoosh" molding with an anodized gold insert, ran along the sides panels.
New for 1958, was the optional ($197) Cruise-o-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission - Ford's
first major transmission offering since 1951! Other options included Polar-Aire air
conditioning ($271), dual 4-barrel carbs, dual exhaust and the mildly complicated
Ford-Aire "air suspension" system ($156) that rode on rubber air bags at each wheel
that were inflated by an on-board air compressor! Like it's 1957 and 1959 brethren,
the 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Retractable Hardtop is an engineering
wonder and a Classic example of 1950's exuberance and flamboyant automotive styling.