- Chassis FV3-57174
- Ground up restoration by marque experts Tisserand
- The most refined French car of its time
- A great addition to any important collection
The Facel Vega FV3
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 WW2, 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 coupé 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-litre, 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 and by the end of 1956 the car was being built in 200bhp FV3 form.
Chassis FV3-57174. Finished in a most elegant white with beige hide to the interior, this exquisite and exceedingly rare FV3 Coupe was first registered on Mar 27, 1957 and supplied new to the Swiss market, as per Facel Vega’s production records, to a certain Mr Dornier from Geneva. In 2010 the second last owner purchased the car in very sound original condition, yet needing serious attention. It was taken to the world’s best marque expert Ateliers Tisserand for a thorough restoration. The bodywork was completely stripped down to bare metal. All mechanics have also gone through a complete overhaul as well as the electric components. The whole interior has been redone to exacting original standards and to the highest level. A very large photo folder details the whole restoration process and comes with the car. By 2015 the work was completed and the car used only sparingly ever since. FV3-57174 is powered by a very reliable V8 Plymouth de Soto engine and is equipped with the regular automatic gearbox. Finished with the desirable and fully refurbished Robergel wheels (not original to the car), this extremely collectible example represents the pinnacle of the post-war’s luxury for a French motorcar.