Facel Vega Classic Cars for Sale
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Facel Vega was a French manufacturer of automobiles established in 1954 by the industrialist Jean Daninos. The company was known particularly for its successful production of high-end luxury cars during the post-war period, operating from 1954-1964.
Facel Vega: Origins and Reinvention
Facel Vega was originally known simply as Facel, and before entering the luxury car market, it specialized in the construction of mechanical parts for automobiles, aircraft, and even created kitchen and office furniture. During the forties and early fifties, Facel was in demand, conducting high-end metalwork for car companies such as Panhard, Simca, Ford-France and Delahaye. Facel specialized in stainless steel, a material that would later become a hallmark of their car production. This expertise prepared them well for their new endeavour, and led by the vision of Jean Daninos, they released the Vega, and the company was rebranded as Facel Vega.
Facel Vega on the Rise
Unveiled in 1954 at the Paris Salon, the Vega was a bona fide Grand Tourer, fitted with one of the most powerful engines available - a 4.5 litre Chrysler V8. Only 47 of the original Facel Vegas were produced. 1956 saw the emergence of the Facel Vega Sport (FVS for short), which upgraded the original build by adding a panoramic windshield and increasing the horsepower from 180 to 250. Later versions of this model featured disk brakes, power steering and a further horsepower increases. From 1956 to 1958, 310 Facel Vega Sports were produced. The subsequent model, named the HK500, featured a redesigned body and upgraded engine. With a top speed of 140 mph, it was not only one of fastest production cars in the world, but it was also the most successful Facel Vega: 489 were produced over a four year span. While production numbers may have been relatively low for the Vega line, Facel Vega was heavily committed to the exclusive end of the market, as demonstrated by their slogan, “For the few who own the finest”.
The Facellia, Facel Vega II, and the Decline of Facel Vega
1960 saw Facel Vega venture into the sports car market with the Facellia. Jean Daninos aspired to bring back the all-French, mass-produced sports car, seeking to redress their conspicuous absence since the pre-war years. Departing from the builds of previous Facel-Vegas, the company opted to avoid American engines altogether and instead commissioned the French company Pont-a-Mousson to create their own. This decision would ultimately prove disastrous, as the Facellia engine was plagued with timing problems and frequent failures. Facel-Vega fell behind on orders, and the dream of a mass-produced, all-French sports car crumbled. With this, Jean Daninos resigned in 1961. In total, only 1100 Facellias were ever produced. In 1962, Facel Vega returned, on the brink of bankruptcy, to the Grand Tourer market with the Facel-Vega II. The Vega II was an elegantly designed powerhouse fitted with a 6.3 litre Chrysler engine. In true Facel Vega style, the car was highly expensive and of prestigious standing, and fewer than 200 were produced. The Vega II's acceleration, handling, refinement, and luxuriousness attracted high praise, and owners included some of the best known film stars, monarchs, and racing drivers of the day. The Facel 6 was their final car, but it proved unable to stop the decline. After a ten year run, the company was shut down in 1964.