Greg Zyla: 1954 Ford Skyliner beauty
Q: Greg, I own a 1954 Ford Skyliner and enjoyed your column very much. I have read somewhere (sorry I don’t have a link to or the article in printed form) that Ford actually tested a Skyliner with the Plexiglas and one with a steel top in 1954 in Arizona with all the windows up. The result was the Skyliner only got 5 to 7 degrees hotter than the steel roof.
I can’t prove it, but the article is out there somewhere because I saw it. I should have saved it in my archives of 1954 Ford Skyliner stuff. Also, thanks for responding to my email as I didn’t realize that you would actually respond! I’m impressed.
As for my ’54 Skyliner, I’ve had it now for about nine years. It was originally a California car, and then brought to Florida. Next, it went to the Chicago area for a couple months where I bought it and brought it back to Florida.
I call it the great-great-grandfather of all the sunroof and moonroof cars we have today. It’s VERY popular everywhere I take it as there aren’t many of the 1954 Skyliners left. My car has a one year newer engine, but is otherwise original. The original 239 horsepower engine had issues because it was the first year of the overhead valve (Y-Block) engine.
I always kid about how the Ford engineers couldn’t get their stuff together for 1953, which was the 50th anniversary year for Ford. The 1953 Ford did not have many innovations or new things from the prior year 1952. Then came the 1954 Ford with a new engine (overhead valve), ball joint suspension replaced rack-and-pinion for a smoother ride, astrodial speedometer and, of course, a new Skyliner model. You’d think these would be things for the 50th anniversary celebration but they weren’t ready. Thanks again for responding. Jim Pierce, Florida.
A: Jim, it’s always a pleasure to interact with my readers, and I do respond to all letters I receive, be it email or printed letter. I am very impressed with your ’54 Skyliner, as it sure looks like a pristine example of one of Ford’s most popular and novel creations. I’m glad I christened the ’54 Skyliner the “Godfather of American sunroof/moonroof models.” I’m also impressed you have the ’55 Y-block engine as it’s bigger and produces more horsepower. Additionally, I don’t feel it impacts the value of your car one cent downward and actually makes it more valuable. (I’ll probably hear from the purists.)
Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse Media and welcomes reader interaction on anything to do with collector cars, auto nostalgia or old-time motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA or at email@example.com.