The wonderful ‘marque’ of Facel Vega existed for only 10 years; from 1954 until 1964. In this period, only about 3500 automobiles were built. From 12 until 15 January 2017 all Facel Vega models are being presented in a special theme exhibition on the 2017 InterClassics show in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
The Facel Vega exhibition has been made possible by Amicale Facel Holland and their partner Classic Job. In the 1990ies Hans Ruhé of Amicale Facel Holland started his efforts to preserve this great ‘marque’ for future generations. He meticulously put together a Facel Vega register and he started sourcing manufacturers to have spare parts produced for the cars. Amicale Facel Holland (AFH) developed into the global Facel Vega specialist. AFH has restored dozens of Facel Vega automobiles and they have brought into production thousands of spare parts for Facel Vega. The future of the ‘marque’ has been secured for future generations!
The impressive and very special Facel Vega exhibition on the InterClassics 2017 shows all the Facel Vega models which were ever built. All the automobiles in this exhibition have been restored by Amicale Facel Holland. The cars have been picked up from owners all over Europe to be part of this show.
Facel Vega history
The French company Facel (Forges et Ateliers de Construction due’s et Loire) was first established in 1938 as a manufacturer of stainless steel products for the aircraft industry. After the second world war Facel began constructing automobile bodies for Simca, Ford France and Panhard.
In those days, the company was under the leadership of Jean Daninos.
Jean Daninos had always dreamt of manufacturing his own design of super car; the "Grand Routier" or in other words, a luxurious, comfortable and practical 4-person sports car. 1954 saw this dream become a reality with the introduction of the first ever Facel automobile onto the market, the Facel Vega FV1, equipped with a powerful and trustworthy American V8 Chrysler motor.
The addition of the Chrysler motor meant that Facel was one of the first manufacturers to combine European styled body work with a big reliable American V8...
The Facel Vega's were expensive and highly exclusive but they sold well, particularly amongst film stars and the rich and famous. With the passage of time the newer models became increasingly more expensive as extra improvements and features were introduced. At the end of the 1950’s, Facel had a motor designed specifically for use in a smaller model, the Facellia.
Unfortunately, these motors had so many teething problems that the huge amount of warranty claims they caused led the company into serious financial difficulties. The last ever models of the Facel line were fitted with Volvo P1800 (Facel III) and Austin Healey 150 pk six cylinder motors ( Facel 6). In 1964 this proud automobile finally went out of production.
Facel Vegas are cherished by enthusiasts all over the world to this very day. This extremely unique class of vehicle can easily be placed alongside classic makes such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley en Lagonda. Even though Facel did not manufacture its own engines (until the introduction of the Facellia), it is safe to say that the vehicle commonly known as the "Grand Routiers" of automobiles is of absolute top class and continues to leave a deep and lasting impression.
Text: Marc Vorgers