Remarkably, the car had never been repainted. The body received walnut-shell blasting and was stripped to bare metal. Although it was basically rust-free, the body was acid-dipped when bare metal was found inside the inner doors and under the top. Now, all body surfaces have four-layer primer and paint. And to top it off, Sikkens paint and primer at $500 per gallon were employed, matching the original Wedgewood Blue and Colonial White finish.
The car's 352 engine and Cruise-O-Matic transmission was rebuilt by Tom Denchel Ford in Yakima. The only changes incorporated were hardened valves and seats for unleaded fuel. A stainless steel exhaust system was installed for long-life operation.
Among the mechanical components replaced were the scarce electric motors that operated the fold-away top. Fortunately, Frank was able to get these at a swap meet. Their replacement ensured dependable operation, not to mention his peace of mind! Other hard-to-obtain items included air-conditioning parts and Ford emblems.
On the inside, the seats, carpet, and paneling were redone to the original color and pattern using SMS fabrics. The car is loaded with options, which include Cruise-O-Matic transmission, Master-Guide power steering, Swift-Sure power brakes, power windows, AM radio, and the very rare Select-Aire factory air conditioning.
On the outside, there are chrome fender skirts that blend well with the aluminum rear-fender shields. The red, white, and blue tri-color wheel covers were an option in '59. The original-type bias-belted 8.00-15 BFGoodrich Silvertown tires were chosen over radials, finishing the restoration in the spring of 1998.
Frank MacKenzie has driven his '59 Ford Retractable 5,000 miles since its restoration. The car is a crowd favorite and turns heads wherever it goes. At the '99 International Retractable meet in Reno, Nevada, the Skyliner won a silver medal, lacking only four points for gold-quite an accomplishment for a car that was driven nearly 1,000 miles from home!