I’m a nut for Facel Vegas, at least the big sedans with Chrysler Firepower Hemis installed…they’re the best combo of French style and a reliable, powerful Yank engine. The very height of chic in the 1950s and 60s, big Facel’s – made in Paris! – were favorites of movie stars and the denizens of le demi monde. Famous owners included Pablo Picasso, Ava Gardner, Ringo Starr, Joan Fontaine, Stirling Moss, Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, Fred Astaire, Maurice Trintignant….and the list goes on. Nobody wanted an old Facel 10 years ago, and prices languished (meaning, you could find one cheap!), but now shiny ones are selling for six figures.
These photos recently surfaced of an original-paint Facel Vega FV-2 Convertible, the only one made in this model, of 11 total big Facel ragtops. The very essence of faded glamour, her lipstick red leather interior beckons…
The Facel Vega marque was created in 1954 by Jean Daninos; although FACEL had been in business making metal parts since 1939, a lucrative contract with Ford to build 54,000 Simca/Ford Cométes gave Daninos the impetus and capital to build a car of his own. After the gorgeous, expensive, and powerful FV and HK models, using big American V8s, Facel Vega branched out to a smaller sports car, the Facellia, which used a disastrous Pont-á-Mousson engine, whose utter unreliability caused the downfall of this once spectacular marque by 1964.
- Paul d’Orléans