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Did Ford ever use this in 1958???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mart3406, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    I came across an old magazine ad for Ford's supposedly "optional, new for 1958" air suspension system. I know General Motors offered an ill-fated and short-lived air-suspension system option on some of it's 1958 models, but I've never, ever seen or heard of a '58 Ford with factory air suspension. I vaguely remember seeing an an ad for the 1958 Edsel once, that alluded to there being an air-suspension system available as an option, but I've heard that none were actually produced and sold to
    the public with it.Was this ad for something that Ford killed before it ever reached production??


    Attached Files:

  2. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    I mentioned in my post that GM offered air-suspension
    on some of their 1958 models. I was asking specifically
    about the Ford system shown in the ad and whether
    it was ever actually produced and released to the public..

  3. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,501

    Little Wing
    from Northeast

    Sorry ,,brain fart :)
  4. This is a good question to post at on the late V-8 ('54 up) forum. Somebody there will know.

  5. Yeah they did, I do believe most got recalled and turned into standard sprung cars. I bet there are a few examples left over

    Here's a nice short read on it.

    I can't seem to find much more information on it, but I'll do some further research
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  6. teddyp
    Joined: May 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,197


    it was like the gm not good and change to standard springs. i have a motor trend from 1958 that pick the ford the worst of the low price 3 funny causre my 58 fordf is the best car i ever had and i,m a sbc,s man
  7. Not really relevant, but I believe Packard had an air suspension that worked in 1957. A former employer had a 57 Packard Caribbean that had self leveling suspension. When you sat on the rear bumper, you could hear the compressor come on and the car would raise back up to it's unloaded height.
  8. SquireDon
    Joined: Aug 8, 2010
    Posts: 600

    from Oregon

    The Packard's were full torsion bar suspensions with an Electric motor that leveled out the suspension. No air involved. And it was either a 55 or 56 . Not a 57.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  9. SquireDon
    Joined: Aug 8, 2010
    Posts: 600

    from Oregon

    58 fords did have that air suspension. Most were recalled. The cars that had that air suspension had a special chrome badge that went on the back of the car.

    We had a 58 thunderbird come into the shop once with the old air pump and some of the air system still in place. I remember it also having 4 shocks on the front of it.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  10. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    No Caribbean For 1958. The last
    Packard Caribbean was 1956 model.
    Packard never used air-suspension
    and also, for 1957 and the final 1958
    model year, Packards were relegated
    to being nothing more than re-badged
    and re-trimmed Studebakers, with
    the exact same engine, chassis and
    suspensions used on the low priced
    (and compared to "real", traditional
    Packards) strictly utilitarian Studes.
    What you probably heard about and
    thought was air suspension, was
    the so-called "Torsion-Level"
    suspension used for two years only,
    on the '55 and '56 Caribbeans and
    400's and optional on the Clippers.
    The Packard Torsion-Level system
    was truly unique and made the cars
    equipped with it ride and handle
    amazingly well for their time. It
    used two, parallel, longitudinal
    torsion bars that ran the entire length
    of the wheelbase and connected into
    the front and rear suspensions at each
    end, so that the front and rear
    suspensions were linked and worked
    together, to cancel out and even
    anticipate bumps and dips.. Also, there
    was an electric motor and ride height
    and level sensors that connected to each
    of the two torsion bars to compensate
    for passenger or trunk load and kept the
    car level and the ride height the same,
    regardless of the load. The noise you
    mentioned, that sounded like a compressor.
    was actually the electric "ride height motor'
    switching on and off and running while it
    automatically levelled out the ride height.

  11. Ahh, interesting. Never really did anything with the car, so I never knew exactly how it worked.
  12. Fidget
    Joined: Sep 10, 2004
    Posts: 1,011


    SquireDon, do you know what the suspension badge looked like?

    I had a 55 Packard. Had a jungle gym of torsion bars, electric motors, and sensors across the bottom. Vintage electrical nightmare.
  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike

    Squire Don... I had a customer that had a '58 T Bird with air suspension, never saw a '58 Ford (proper) with it...
  14. alphabet soup
    Joined: Jan 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,420

    alphabet soup

    My uncle bought a '58 Merc wagon to get the 312 out of. It had a load of options. And one of them was rear air ride. Don't remember if it self leveled or you had to adjust it. But it was there and it was factory, or at least dealer installed.
  15. green53ford
    Joined: Mar 4, 2009
    Posts: 206

    from Wisconsin

    One of my neighbors had a 58 retractable with every factory option including air suspension.
  16. 59ab
    Joined: Feb 19, 2009
    Posts: 221


    My uncle had a 58 Chev with air suspension. Was a lot of trouble. Was replaced with coil springs.
  17. rld14
    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,609


    The 58 Lincolns were originally scheduled to have air suspension as an option but it was cancelled before production started.
  18. 5CHERO8
    Joined: Feb 22, 2013
    Posts: 71


    I parked - actually directed - cars at a summer resort when I was a young teenager, and after parking a Packard, I sat on its rear bumper. The rear sagged under my weight and then lifted back up to normal height. When I got off the bumper, the car raised slightly and then settled back down to normal height. During the day, I "rode" the Packard bumper numerous times. When the driver came to retrieve his car, the battery was dead. He claimed that that was the third time in the last year that that had happened. His kids snickered. These and other adventures are captured in my book entitled Davies Lake Episodes, available from
  19. Dakota Boy
    Joined: Sep 8, 2010
    Posts: 173

    Dakota Boy
    from Racine, WI

    '58 T-birds had coils on all fours; with the expectation that air suspension would be added later that year or the following year. It never happened; the 59's had leafs in the back.

    My 58 was converted to leafs at some point in its distant past.

    There is no mention of air suspension in the Ford Shop Manual for the 58 T-Birds either.
  20. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    Even today the air stuff isn't that reliable. Best example is the GMC motorhome. Ever seen one that wasn't squatting? If you did they just spent some heavy money to get the bags replaced.
    Also, Lincoln actually offered a retro-fit dual spring kit to replace the defo air ride in their Town Sedans.
  21. Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 480

    Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    from Outside

    I like how even 60 plus years later there has never been a successful production car with air suspension that actually worked properly, just a bad idea then and now. Aftermarket stuff is ok because it's controlled by a human. Never send a computer to do a human's job and expect it to have good outcome.
  22. Aireride58
    Joined: Jul 30, 2013
    Posts: 1


    I have two 1958 Ford "Aire Suspension" cars. A Skyliner and a Fairlane 500. The Skyliner is frame off restored and the suspension system functions perfectly. The mechanical leveling valves would never function in temps below freezing. That was Fords major flaw in their design.
  23. BigMikeC
    Joined: Apr 18, 2006
    Posts: 449


    I have owned 3 Lincoln Town Cars with rear air suspension. I still have 2 of them. All had or have close to 200k miles. No problems. I used to pull a 16ft boat and then load the trunk with beer coolers and food, and then load 5 people in the car, and loved the leveling quality of the air suspension.
  24. Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 480

    Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    from Outside

    I've spent most of my life driving Lincolns and never owned one that had an air ride that actually worked right. The last two I had, I pulled the air out and put in coil springs even before they started leaking. It's just such a stupid idea in my opinion that I can't understand why they still do it guess they make lots of money be selling replacement parts and charging $100 hr. to fix it at the dealerships.

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