The mainstream Ford line of cars grew substantially larger for 1957, a model which lasted through 1959. The Crown Victoria with its flashy chrome "basket handle" was no more, and the acrylic glass-roofed Crown Victoria Skyliner was replaced by a new model, the retracting-roof hardtop Skyliner.
The new chassis allowed the floor to be placed much lower, which in turn led to a lower and longer look overall. The major component of this chassis was a differential whose pinion gear was exceptionally low relative to the axleshafts, lower than in conventional hypoid differentials.
The 1957 models retained a single-headlight front end like their predecessors, but were unmistakable with their long flanks and tailfins. A plethora of trim lines was introduced, starting with the base "Custom", "Custom 300", "Fairlane", and top-line "Fairlane 500". The two Custom lines used a 116 in (2946 mm) wheelbase, while the Fairlanes had 118 in (2997 mm) between the wheels. A new car/pickup truck hybrid based on the short-wheelbase chassis was also introduced, the Ranchero.
The 223 CID (3.7 L) OHV Straight-6 continued, now with 144 hp (107 kW). The V8 lineup included a 272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block making 190 hp (142 kW), a 292 CID (4.8 L) Thunderbird version making 212 hp (158 kW), a 312 cubic inch V8 making 245 HP and a supercharged 312 CID (5.1 L) Thunderbird Special making 300 hp (224 kW), and designated "Police Interceptor" on the glove box. A dual 4 barrel version of the naturally. aspirated (non-supercharged) 312 cubic inch V8 rated at 270 HP (some sources report 285 HP) was reportedly available, although that engine option was not listed in most Ford sedan factory literature and is more commonly associated with one of the optional Thunderbird engines. This option was dubbed "E code" and featured a unique camshaft, cylinder heads, intake manifold and various other performance enhancements. It came standard with the deep-dish steering wheel. The radio became transistorized. There were lights for the generator and oil instead of gauges. The controls became reccesed for more safety (the Lifeguard safety package was still available)
A new frame was used for the 1957 Fords. It moved to perimeter rails out, so that they would fully envelope the passengers.
In a survey of 1957 Ford owners in the March, 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics, only 6.2% of owners ordered seat belts.
This model was very successful, being the best selling car in America, overtaking arch rival Chevrolet for the first time since 1935.
The line was freshened with a simulated hood scoop and dual-headlight front clip for 1958. The rectangular grille openings gave way to circles, and a simulated hood scoop was added. A new 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic was optional along with the 2-speed Ford-O-Matic and manual transmission. Engines were also updated, with the 272 CID dropped, the 292 CID making 205 hp (153 kW), and a new-generation 332 CID (5.4 L) FE V8 rated at 240 HP in 2 barrel form and 265 HP in 4 barrel "Interceptor" form. The new 352 cubic inch V8, also dubbed "Interceptor" and rated at 300 hp (224 kW) made its debut. Galaxie production was started in Lorain, Ohio at Ford's Lorain Assembly plant for 1958 and continued through 1959 with 102,869 Galaxies produced there. Air suspension became optional.
The convertible version of Ford Fairlane 500, Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner (also called Skyliner Retractable Convertible), had been sold for three years - 1957, 1958, and 1959. It was the most expensive vehicle offered by Ford. The 1958 Skyliner sold for $3,163 while the standard convertible sold for $2,650 and the sedan went for $2,055. A total of 14,713 units were produced in 1958. Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner weighed 4,609-pounds.
The top-line spot for 1959 was the new Galaxie, positioned above the continued Fairlane 500. The Custom line was dropped, with Custom 300 the lowest rung on the ladder, and all 1959 Fords used the long 118 in (2997 mm) wheelbase. New for safety was fully padded armrests and rear door locks that were child proof. American prices ranged from the mid-1,000 to the low 3,000s.
This version was also assembled in Australia, beginning in late 1959. Local models were the luxurious Fairlane 500, the lower-priced Custom 300 (both sedans), as well as the Ranch Wagon. The Australian models were powered by the 332 cu in (5.4 L) "Thunderbird" engine, producing 204 hp. For 1960, the range was updated with the grille and trim from the 1959 Canadian Meteor.