Rides from the Readers: 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner

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Dave Dunlavy

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured ride is a 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner. This model year was essentially a reskin of Ford’s 1957–58 cars, but despite the lack of extensive changes, the 1959 models were remarkably successfully and almost outsold their all-new rivals at Chevrolet. The Skyliners, with their dramatic retracting roofs and a production total of only 12,915, are the most collectible of the Galaxie range. To allow for the foldable hardtop, Ford designers borrowed elements from the convertible Sunliner models and even rummaged around in the station wagon parts bin for the rear quarter panels.

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner top action
Dave Dunlavy

This particular Galaxie received a painstaking restoration courtesy of Dave Dunlavy, who purchased it four years ago. While he isn’t a professional restorer, Dunlavy was thrilled to tackle the electrical and mechanical intricacies of the retractable hardtop. “Re-assembling the top mechanism with the six motors, 10 solenoids and more adjustable switches than I care to count, was not easy,” he admits. However, together with help from local body and audio shops, Dunlavy restored the Galaxie to perfect health. Everything from the extensive brightwork to the brakes—which “will throw you through the windshield,” Dunlavy writes—is in fine fettle.

He and his wife Bev now have a modern, reliable car they can drive anywhere in the U.S. and, thanks to a wireless control mechanism for the retractable hardtop, they also have a fun party trick. Dunlavy writes: “When I show the top operation by saying “Alexa, top up” and press the remote control hidden in my pocket, whole families are entertained.”

See the progress of his restoration below!

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