In 1959, Ford kept its Blue Oval models relatively devoid of chrome, mile-high fins, and many of the other excesses that were common to the era
|1959 Ford Galaxie Sunliner
|Original List Price:
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|data plate on a plate attached to the left front body pillar below the upper hinge opening
|Engine Number Location:
|on the skirt of the block behind the generator
|Ford Galaxie Club of America, P. O. Box 429, Valley Springs, AR 72682-0429
|1959 Edsel Citation or Pacer convertible, 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible, 1959 DeSoto Firedome convertible
This 1959 Ford Galaxie Sunliner Convertible sold for $32,200 at the Bonhams & Butterfields Carmel sale, held Aug. 13, 2004.
Ford introduced the Galaxie in late 1958 as a 1959 model, with the intention of moving some of its bread-and-butter Fairlane production up-market. The Galaxies were basically Fairlane 500s with Thunderbird-style roofs, though the two Galaxie convertibles were identical to their Ford counterparts.
The Sunliner, a conventional soft-top convertible, and the famous Skyliner retractable hardtop, were initially badged as Fairlanes for 1959, but only a few saw the light of day before Ford made the Sunliner and Skyliner Galaxie-only body styles. The 3,628-pound Sunliner was available with either a six-cylinder or a V8 engine, while the top-of-the-line Skyliner, a hefty 4,064 pounds due to the weight of the retractable hardtop, was available only with V8 power.
Ford lowered compression ratios for its 1959 cars, enabling them to run on less expensive gas, a result of the recession of 1958. The 223-ci six-cylinder made 135 horsepower, while a 292-ci V8 offered 175 hp and a two-barrel 332-ci V8 only managed 225 horsepower. Buyers could also choose a 352-ci V8 that was still rated at a respectable 300 horsepower. Just 12,915 Skyliners were produced, while production totals for the more popular Sunliner hit 45,868 units.
The coolness factor between the two models leans well in favor of the retractable hardtop. There’s nothing like the ballet of hydraulic and electric switches and motors in their none-too-delicate dance to raise or lower the top. It’s a wonderful 1950s version of high tech that’s guaranteed to draw attention, but the downside is that it will likely leave you stranded just when it starts to rain, or when you are trying to impress someone with your toy. As a conventional convertible, the Sunliner may not be as sexy, but it is less likely to leave its owner in the lurch.
While Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division took care of building Buck Rogers-inspired spaceships for the road, in 1959 Ford kept its Blue Oval models relatively devoid of chrome, mile-high fins, and many of the other excesses that were common to the era. Although the Galaxie styling would hardly be called bland or conformist today, it was refined and perhaps even delicate for the time. Built in an era when redesigns from year to year were common, the 1959 Galaxies were acknowledged by many to be particularly handsome cars. A total top-to-bottom redesign for 1960 introduced not only a new decade, but a new look for Ford, with the Galaxie diverging further from the Fairlane.
Big American convertibles from the 1950s are a practical choice for the collector looking for a usable, comfortable and fun open car. Although few are equipped with modern convenience features like air conditioning, power steering and power windows, most service parts are readily available and the cars are easy to fix.
Our auction analyst described the 1959 Galaxie Sunliner Convertible pictured here as an original car with good panel fit, yet it suffered from some lumpiness on the right front fender and sills, where repairs and refurbishing appeared to have been done quite some time ago. I’d call the color combination (white with gold trim on the exterior and black and white vinyl and cloth inside) nothing short of bland, especially given the popularity of extroverted ’50s color combinations. Further issues included pitted chrome and a worn interior. A restoration would be economically unfeasible, so I hope the new owner feels that the originality, low mileage, and top-of-the-line motor make up for these shortcomings.
While full-size Chevrolet convertibles from the same era have seen prices exceeding $75,000 in recent years, no such spikes have either blessed or befallen convertible Fords of the same era. Depending on equipment and condition, Sunliners and Skyliners tend to start in the $20,000 range for older restorations and decent original cars, but rarely exceed $40,000 for fully restored examples.
Although the price here seems a bit high for condition, I’d have to call this a decent buy for an end user who wants a weekend cruiser and is not looking for any national show wins.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)