1960 Facel Vega Excellence
Year of manufacture1960
Chassis numberEX1 - B118
Number of seats2
French registration documents
Only 153 made
Interesting restoration/renovation project
The Facel Véga Excellence has a special place in automotive history, for at least three reasons. Firstly, launched in 1954 by Jean Daninos, the Facel Véga marque became a shining star in the firmament of French cars at a time when the country had no other prestige make. The second reason is its body, a low, exuberantly-styled saloon with pillarless ‘clap-hand’ doors. The third reason is its rarity: between 1958 and 1964, only 145 examples of the first-series Excellence were produced and just eight of the restyled second-series car.
Unveiled in 1956 and available from 1958, the Excellence was as luxurious as a Bentley while being as fast as a Jaguar, thanks to its powerful and reliable 6.4-litre Chrysler engine. Developing close to 400bhp, the American V8 made the car capable of nearly 230km/h (143mph), with an acceleration that put reputable sports cars in the shade. At the time, the Facel offered a characterful and elegant French alternative to a Bentley, Cadillac, Mercedes or Maserati. A symbol of French excellence, the four-door Facel Véga indeed fully merited its name.
This particular Excellence is a first-series model, and thus with finned rear wings and a dog’s leg panoramic windscreen. Information provided by the dynamic Amicale Facel reveals that the car has a well-documented history. It was delivered new to Jean Widmer, MD of electrical-engineering company Sautter-Harlé, on 8 December 1960, with the Paris registration 962 KL 75. It passed to René Puissieux on 25 October 1971, moving with him to the Isère region in January 1975 before being sold in January 1976 to an enthusiast in Marseille. In 1979 it was bought by a member of the Amicale Facel, who sold it to its current owner in 2016. With just five owners in 59 years, the Facel has clearly led a charmed life.
Today the car is in nicely original condition. It was repainted to a good standard some years ago and the body would appear to be in good order with no obvious corrosion or evidence of accident damage. All the brightwork is present and in good condition, including the hard-to-find front and rear light embellishers. The interior is original and the patinated leather seats would merit simply being fed. The carpet is in a relatively good state, as are the leather door panels and transmission-tunnel trims; that said, a demanding owner might well want to replace them in due course, as the passage of time has left its traces on these more vulnerable elements of the trim. Finally the dashboard, with its array of dials and emblematic Facel imitation-woodgrain finish, is in good condition, with just a slight and rather charming discolouration here and there.
Not running when we visited, the car has not been used much, but comparatively recently was put back on the road, with a change of carburettor and a brake overhaul. It should however be given a thorough overhaul before tackling long distances. That said, the Facel is basically sound. In fact there are at least two options open to the car’s purchaser. He could simply put it back on the road after a thorough service, majoring for safety on the mechanicals. Alternatively he could undertake a total restoration without necessarily becoming involved in a massive operation. It is important in this context to underline that the car is complete and there would be no need to expend time, effort and money on chasing after missing parts. Replacing the wiring loom, checking over the engine and gearbox and the running gear would be advisable, all the same, and need not be ruinously expensive.
ESTIMATE 110,000 – 160,000€
This car will be sold by auction by AGUTTES Auction House, in Paris, at the Espace Champerret, France, on June the 23th, 2019.
The digital catalog will be available soon on our website
Please contact us for any further details.
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