Lot 448: 1955 Facel Vega FV1 Coup�
In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, they were, of course, necessarily very expensive � the Facel II was priced in Rolls-Royce territory � and were bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. The roll call of owners includes royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers; Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Ringo Starr, Joan Fontaine and Ava Gardner being counted among the latter. Confirming that there was high-performance substance behind Facel�s unquestionable style, they were owned and driven by great motor racing figures such as Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant and Rob Walker.
Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d�Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) specialised in the construction of aircraft components and metal furniture. After the war the company engaged in the supply of car bodies to Panhard, Simca and Ford France, before branching out into automobile manufacture in its own right with the launch of the Vega at the 1954 Paris Salon. Government legislation had effectively killed off France�s few surviving luxury car manufacturers after WWII, but that did not deter Jean Daninos in his bold attempt to revive what had once been a great French motoring tradition. A luxurious Grand Routier, the Vega took its name from the brightest star in the Lyra constellation and featured supremely elegant coup� bodywork welded to a tubular-steel chassis. There being no suitable French-built power unit, Daninos turned to the USA for the Vega�s, that chosen initially being Chrysler�s 4.5-liter, 180bhp V8, while there was a choice of push-button automatic or manual transmission.
Improvements to the first FV model were not long in coming, the FV1, introduced in March 1955, featuring a lengthened wheelbase for increased rear seat room and a 4.8-liter, 200bhp Chrysler V8. A few FV1 cabriolets were built, but Daninos was not keen on soft-tops and production concentrated on fixed-head coup�s, although there was also the Excellence, a limited-edition four-door saloon on an extended wheelbase. The range progressed through the FV series to the HK500 and Facel II, all featuring Chrysler�s most powerful engines available.
This restored example of Facel�s rare FV1 Coup� is finished in black over white with blue-piped stone upholstery.
Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, Carmel, California
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||$102960|
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