1957 Skyliner restoration

I have a 1957 For Skyliner I want to have restored. A car like this in xcellent condition is probably worth $25-$30K, so I don’t want to spend that much. I’'m not lookin gfor a show car, just a pretty nice driver. I did have some quotes from people in CT and NY and they wer quite high. Is there some place in the US that is less expensive than the northeast for this type of restoration work (I had heard Tennessee)? Any other suggestions?

This is very hard to answer without seeing the car. If the frame is solid, and there isn’t much rust through of the body panels you can get work done by just about any body shop.

A '57 Skyliner (is this the hardtop convertible?) could be a very valuable car. A poor restoration job could hurt the value more than help it. States like TN, AL, and GA might have better rates due to lower labor rates.

Before you do anything you might be best researching classic car sites for some insight. If the motor, transmission, differential, and brake systems work they can probably be worked on by just about any mechanic to make the car driveable. IF it were me I’d replace virtually all the brake lines, both solid and rubber sections, and be sure the brakes work properly before I’m going anywhere. This car is over 50 years old so either some restoration work has already been done, it was stored for a long - long time, or it is in pretty rough shape.

Restorations take a lot of time. One must spend time to search for parts, to do the hands-on work on the car, and to go through a few trial-and-error approaches on many of the problems that are sure to be encountered.

Paying anyone, regardless of their hourly rate, quickly adds up to a tidy sum of money.

The retracting mechanism for the steel roof is incredibly complex, few people really know how to work on the mechanism, and parts for it are in very short supply. Additionally, no body parts aft of the doors are identical to any other '57 Ford, i.e.–even if they look similar they are unique and in VERY short supply.

Thus, few restorers have the skills and/or parts to do this job properly. Don’t “cheap out” on this one, as these cars are rare and are potentially among the most valuable cars of that era. A restoration that is not done properly will degrade the value of this car. Do it correctly, even if it means spending a few thousand $$ more money. And, remember that when you begin a restoration like this, the unanticipated expenses will very considerable, thus adding to the total bill no matter who does the restoration.

There’s not going to be any cheaping out on this if you want even a half-decent restoration. If the car runs and drives well and is not eaten up by rust weevils then an interior re-do and some paint and body may make it acceptable.

If this car has the retractable hardtop and it’s not operating a small fortune can be spent on servicing that because (memory fuzzy here) this system uses something like 30+ operating motors to get everything moving in the right direction.

You did not provide info about the condition of the car but you have to make a decision based on one of two things.
If you’re looking to do this just to turn around and try and make money on a resale it’s a lost cause more than likely.
If you have a genuine attachment to the car you have to be prepared to possibly spend more money than the car is worth and consider it a love affair investment.

Follow those TV auctions like Barrett-Jackson and you’ll see cars going over the block all of the time in which the cost of restoring or building that car far exceeds whatever it brings at auction.

You can buy someone else’s botched or incomplete restoration MUCH cheaper than restoring yours…Post some pictures and all the experts on this board will join the party…

A fully restored Skyliner is offered at Hemmings for $65,000. Does your name imply that you and the car live in Dubai, that you are stationed there, or just like the name? Shipping can be a major expense.

If there’s any rust involved with this restoration, it will not be cheap. Even if this were a late sixties Mustang/Camaro, with the aftermarket replacement panels available, it still wouldn’t be cheap. If there is rust involved, this means all the replacement panels will have to be hand fabricated. And this is where it gets really expensive. And if you’re also thinking about restoring other areas of the vehicle such as the interior, that won’t be cheap either. No aftermarket parts.

So if this is what you’re faced with, and you’re going to farm it out for restoration, be prepared to open that wallet real W I D E.


The husband of one of my wife’s friends restored one of these (in turquoise) at great expense. He can afford it; his house has 8 furnaces and an indoor pool. This car has 17 electric motors to operate the top. And most panels are unique, and different from regular Ford models. This is more of a Jay Leno project than a car for the average person to restore.

I agree with Tester that a real head-banger would be any rust issues because to do that even halfway proper really means a rotisserie job.

That nickle and dime interior and trim stuff will also nickle and dime you to death. I’ve got a 79 Z-28 here that needs a lot of trim work and those knick-knack parts are very pricy even on a somewhat generic garden slug like this.
It’s got a cracked T-Top on one side and as luck has it, the car has the Hurst setup. The last time I priced a pair of Hurst tops from Year One they were 2200 dollars and that didn’t include the rubber seals for them. That measly pair of rubber seals was priced out at 900 dollars.

Ouch and double ouch; and that doesn’t even include the 2 dozen or so interior trim pieces that are proprietary to the Hurst tops. If you can even find them.

See VDC Driver above. He’s right on the money. My best friends Dad brought a 57 home and all the neighbors would show up just to watch it retract. That lasted the summer. Stuck half way between and is it a motor or sprung? He went up that tree twice and it was goodbye Skyliner. Even if its working now, you have that history to contend with.

The $65K Hemmings car is not reality based. Here is one that is…


You will notice the original 4V carb has been removed and replaced with a 2V. There is a VERY good reason for that! NOBODY can rebuild those first Holly four-barrels…I also don’t think this seller will get his price. But here is where a cars REAL VALUE is displayed for all to see…


Most Skyliners appear to get maximum bids between $15,000 and $25,000 on Ebay. You will NOT make money on this, most folks realize about 50% of their restoration costs when they sell unless they happen across a hidden gem and luck into getting it cheap. This is not that car, it has a very limited sale price and difficult (read: expensive) restoration requirements. Do it for fun, but expect to lose money on it.

The worst part is, when you are all done, it’s still a '57 ford…