The FACEL brand or Forges et Ateliers de Construction d´Eure-et-Loir ( Forges and construction workshops of the department of Eure-et-Loir) dates back to 1939 when a company manufacturing steel furniture and other steel components was founded in Paris.
After the World War II, the company’s designer, Jean Daninos, who had built up his experience working for Citroen, provided a Bentley-inspired prototype of a small automobile. At that time, the company was also producing component vehicles for Simca, Ford or Panhard, whose factories had been destroyed during the war.
In 1954 Facel introduced the first Vega car (as the star, Vega, in the Lyra constellation). The FV (also known as HK500) was sleek, elegant and original. It had a middle console over the gearbox, still very uncommon at that time, and its dashboard looked like aircraft’s. Vega accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2 seconds.
In the early 1960s the company was suffering financial difficulties and the competition in the luxury car sector was very strong. As a result, Facel went bankrupt in October, 1964. The company’s last model was Facel 6 with a V6 engine from Austin-Healey which was a vehicle between Facel III (four cylinders) and Facel II (eight cylinders) and was considered a promising development. However, there had only been 32 pieces assembled before Facel shut down.
Who Drives Facel Cars
One of The Beatles, Ringo Starr, owned a 1964 Facel Vega II Coupé, a muscle four-seater with a 6.7 l V8 engine that was sold for £337,500. There were only two Vegas with such specification ever produced. However, he was not the only famous person with interest in Vega. Other prominent figures who drove the car were Pablo Picasso, Christian Dior or Frank Sinatra.
Rarity & Exclusivity
The number of Facel cars produced was limited, there were 156 pieces of Facel Excellence, or 182 pieces of Facel II. Some models did not even meet these numbers. Therefore, at present Facels can only be found in collections of brand true enthusiasts and any newly emerging is sold almost right away.