1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner owned by Stephen Siben
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Since Ford produced almost 1.2 million 1954 cars in an epic sales battle with Chevrolet, it’s hard to imagine that any of its models could be rare. Yet the top-of-the-line Crestline Skyliner – with its Plexiglas roof insert – accounted for just 1.1% of production. And if that’s not enough, the word among Ford enthusiasts is that only 200 models, including Siben’s, featured a factory-made and dealer-installed hood with a see-through display window to show off the company’s new “Y-block” overhead valve V-8 engine to prospective buyers. Siben says his car may be unique because it includes a total of 27 factory- or dealer-installed options, including power steering, windows and seat; “Magic-Aire” climate control with air conditioning; scads of chrome-trimmed items, both inside and out; and even a “Coronado” deck lid, a fake metal spare tire carrier that attached to the trunk. It was highly unusual for these plebeian Fords to carry this many options, he notes. “Most of them wouldn’t be on anything but a Lincoln (Ford’s luxury brand). The older people see it’s a Ford and look down on it.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
Siben bought it through an online auction. “I love shopping online,” he says, “and there was an auction in Washington, D.C. Every once in a while, they have a car that was owned by the FBI. I was the high bidder.” Siben says he has confirmed the car was owned and stored by the FBI for two decades in an air-conditioned garage in Quantico, Virginia, but he has yet to find out how the agency obtained it.
“It was almost perfect,” he says. “There were just a couple of scratches, but on this car, I didn’t have to do very much. I’ve never seen a glass top in as good a shape as this one. It’s like brand new. It was said to block around 60 percent of the sun’s heat and 72 percent of the glare, all while providing an open-air feeling.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“A ’54 Ford isn’t an expensive car,” he advises, “but you’re not going to find one like this.” Because it’s a Ford, he says, parts are easy to come by.
“I don’t know,” says Siben. “The right guy might pay $50,000 to $75,000 for it.” Hagerty, the classic car insurer, places a value of $47,100 on a pristine ’54 Skyliner without all the options and special hood.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“It drives beautifully,” he says, “and it’s unique.” Among the Ford’s records is a 1954 speeding ticket issued to the original owner.