The 1954 Ford Skyliner - The Grandfather of Moonroofs

Greg Zyla
Q: Greg, I own a 1954 Ford Skyliner and enjoy your column very much.  I have read somewhere that Ford tested two Skyliners in 1954, one with the plexiglass top and one with a steel top in Arizona with all of the windows up. The result was the Skyliner only got five to seven degrees hotter than the steel roof.

I've had my 1954 Ford Skyliner for about nine years. 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 1954 Skyliners left. My car has a 1955 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 1954 Ford 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 1954 Skyliner the “Godfather of American sunroof/moonroof models.” I’m also impressed you have the 1955 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).
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