Be aware: The next story was excerpted from the February 2016 problem of Collectible Vehicle journal
Using the aggressive benefit of an all-new and engaging design, Ford was capable of produce America’s best-selling 1957 car. The push to ship 1.67 million copies of its expanded lineup included vital contributions from two physique kinds that had traditionally been segment-leading sellers for Ford: station wagons and convertibles.
The 5 wagon choices within the ’57 Ford catalog tallied a brand-record 321,170 assemblies, or 19.4 p.c of all that yr’s full-sized Fords. Convertibles, too, reached a brand new peak. The 77,726 conventional fabric-topped Fairlane 500 Sunliners added as much as the clear favourite within the discipline. Nonetheless, 1957 was the yr that Ford added the Skyliner with a steel prime that may very well be retracted underneath the automobile’s uniquely formed decklid. One other 20,766 Ford homeowners signed up for this mechanized marvel. With greater than 98,000 droptops in circulation, Ford outsold the subsequent three largest ’57 convertible producers—Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Buick—mixed!
Nineteen fifty-seven Fords got here in two sizes, however even the “small” 116-inch-wheelbase sedans and wagons had been longer and decrease than their predecessors. Fairlanes and Fairlane 500s had been on a 118-inch stretch, and featured extra dramatic styling due to skinny canted fins that flared out of the rear quarter panels. (Customs and Customized 500s had extra subdued fins and a smaller rear bumper than the higher-series vehicles.)
Beneath every thing was a redesigned body that was a couple of foot wider halfway down the body rails. Underslung cross members earned the chassis the nickname “cowbelly” however in addition they allowed for ground pans to nestle between the body rails. This permitted designers to decrease the automobile whereas sustaining first rate passenger room. Revised ball-joint entrance suspension, outboard mounted rear springs, and 14-inch-diameter wheels (which changed 15-inchers) had been new.
Reverse-canted A-pillars changed the vertical windshield posts of 1955-56. A brand new instrument panel featured a fan-style speedometer. Closed-body Fairlane 500s featured nylon-and-vinyl upholstery and loop carpeting however the Sunliner had all-vinyl trim in a selection of 4 coloration mixtures, and color-keyed vinyl-rubber ground overlaying.
John Kingston of Novato, California, has owned the 1957 Sunliner featured right here since 2010. His buy quantities to one thing of a homecoming for the automobile, which was inbuilt Ford’s San Jose, California, plant. Kingston says the Flame Pink and Raven Black ragtop had its first dwelling in Texas, finally wound up in Arkansas for restoration, then returned to the Lone Star State, which is the place he purchased it.
When new, the Sunliner began at $2605 however Kingston’s automobile is filled with choices that will have added about $600 to the delivered value again in ’57. Most notable of the extra-cost gadgets is its “Thunderbird Particular” 312-cid V-8. (Fairlanes got here with a selection of a 223-cid inline six or 292-cube V-8 as commonplace gear.) With a four-barrel carburetor and twin exhausts, it makes 245 hp. It’s hooked to an non-compulsory Fordomatic three-speed computerized transmission.
The automobile cruises simpler with energy steering and energy brakes. Look and safety gadgets embody wire-spoke wheels on whitewall tires, a continental equipment, rear fender skirts, twin exterior mirrors, a grille guard, and brilliant rocker-panel trim.
1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Sunliner Gallery
Click on beneath for enlarged photos
1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Sunliner Convertible