Facel Vega Excellence EX2 C007 restoration
Facel Vega Excellence (EX C007): is currently being restored in the Amicale Facel Holland (AFH) workshops on behalf of its owner from Finland. The automobile was delivered to AFH in partly dismantled and obviously very rusty condition. Luckily the car proved to be quite complete. After the body was reinforced it was welded onto a temporary ‘work’ chassis. The bodywork was sand blasted, some collision damage was repaired, and all the sheet metal work was carried out. After that the bodywork was smoothened and finished with a high-quality paint system. The chassis was dismantled. The chassis, the suspension, the engine and all the other components have been fully restored and overhauled to brand new condition! Recently the ‘marriage’ of the restored chassis and bodywork has taken place. This is an impressive step in the restoration process, at that moment you see how large a Facel Vega Excellence is!
To be continued.
Facel Vega Excellence type 1 and type 2 additional information
Facel Vega has manufactured 145 examples of the first series (type 1). Near the end of the production run the need for a face lift became evident. The somewhat dated panoramic windshield was replaced by a ‘flatter’ version and the tail-fins where rounded off to suppress them a little. Mechanically the type 2 was given disc brakes as standard equipment and the door locking mechanism had been improved.
Of the second series (type 2) only 8 cars have been built in the years 1961 and 1962. The last examples were road registered as late as 1964. All 8 Excellence type 2 cars are still in existence. On this moment AFH has three of these rare cars in restoration. Two of these restoration projects are presented on our ClassicarGarage site.
The Facel Vega Excellence was presented as a luxury limousine for the worlds richest people. The Excellence was based upon the legendary Facel Vega HK 500 which was the fastest four seater production car of its day.
The 5.23 meter long Excellence features four doors of which the doors at the rear are so called suicide doors. The Excellence was built without a B-post. When the doors were opened the large opening was very inviting to enter the fantastic interior. As the other Facels the Excellence was an extremely luxurious automobile with a gorgeous finish and beautiful details. The interior is majestic with it’s mock walnut (in the French tradition) dashboard and beautifully chromed handles and switches. The leather upholstery is of an exceptionally high quality the comfort it offers reflects this. The car comes with all of the novelties which were common on the American market at the time. The robustly built automatic windows and the gear shift with it’s stylish buttons are extremely reliable and never fail. Chrome was used sparingly on Facel cars; the bumpers and side strips are all constructed of stainless steel. The Facel Vega Excellence is built upon a welded steel chassis within which the strong 6.2 litre Chrysler V8 is mounted. The undercarriage has independent wheel suspension with coil springs at the front and a live axle leaf spring suspension system at the rear. From 1960 onwards, the Excellence was equipped with disc brakes all round. Only 150 cars of this model have been built.
Engine: 6.2 litre (383 Cui) Chrysler Wedge V8
Carburettor: 1 "four barrel" Carter AFB carburettor
Capacity: 355 SAE bhp. at 4800 rpm.
Gearbox: 3- speed, automatic (Chrysler Torqueflite)
Top-speed: 121 mph. - 200 km/h.
Weight: 1920 kg.
Facel Vega history
The French company Facel (Forges et Ateliers de Construction due’s et Loir) 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 it’s own motors, 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.
© Marc Vorgers