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Car Tales: The Car Of Stars, The Facel Vega FV2B Coupe

‘What links some of the most chic and definitively stylish artists in all fields of a certain post-World War 2 age? 
‘Let me throw you some names: Pablo Picasso, Ava Gardner, Christian Dior, Herb Alpert, Ringo Starr, Frank Sinatra…
1956 Facel Vega FV2B Coupe for sale
‘Nothing too impressive there, I know…Well, all those world-class stars would drive home in their Facel Vega automobiles, splendid examples of a short-lived French lineage of staggering motoring beauty.

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‘Born out of a local French engineering firm founded in 1939, Facel – as it was at first known – specialized in stainless steel, which would become a central component when the company moved into car production in 1954. In fact, before then the Facel company produced the bodies of custom cars like the Panhard Dyna cabriolet and the Ford Comète.
1956 Facel Vega FV2B Coupe side view
‘It was Jean Daninos, of French and Greek extraction, who had founded Facel. The name Facel derived from the initial letters of Forges et Ateliers des Constructions d’Eure-et-Loir – which translates as forge and construction workshop for the department of Eure-Et-Loir, an area to the immediate south-west of Paris.
‘But always the intention of Jean Daninos, whose brother was the writer and humorist Pierre Daninos, was that Facel would evolve into a manufacturer of its own brand of automobile.
‘And the first Facel Vega car – the name by which Jean Daninos’s firm was rebranded – was unveiled at the 1954 Paris Salon, on July 22 of that year. It was equipped with a 4.5 liter Chrysler V8 engine, one of the most powerful motoring powerplants there was. The Vega was an authentic Grand Tourer, a very classy and original-looking car indeed; but only 47 of these first Facel Vegas were manufactured.
‘Two years later, in 1956, the Facel Vega Sport was launched. The FVS2B, as it would become known, added a panoramic windshield and increased its horsepower from 180 to 250. A larger 5.4 liter Chrysler engine was fitted into the FV2, creating the FV2B. And Facel upgraded the electrical system to 12 volts. Incidentally, that 5.4 liter Chrysler Typhoon V8 also powered the DeSoto Firelite of the same year.
‘The manual FV2B was capable of running side by side with a Mercedes-Benz 300SL up until the Facel’s top speed. Heavy, large and very expensive – higher priced than an Aston Martin DB4 and three times the cost of an XKE – the FVS2B was also one of the very greatest French cars of its era.
1956 Facel Vega FV2B Coupe rear view
‘We have one of these 1956 masterpieces right now at Beverly Hills Car Club, and are excited to present this rare 1956 Facel Vega FV2B Coupe that is finished in a color scheme of brown complemented with a black interior. This hand-built French motorcar is equipped with an automatic transmission, V8 engine, Carter 4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust outlet, Jaeger instruments, three-spoke steering wheel, chrome trim, interior wood trim, forward-folding front seats, push-button radio, door pockets, vintage Mobil Golden Circle tires, Facel-branded hub caps, and a full-size spare tire fitted in the trunk.
‘Don’t miss out on this phenomenal opportunity to acquire an exclusive piece of French automobile history that is currently not running, yet nonetheless is a perfect addition to any car enthusiast’s collection.
1956 Facel Vega FV2B Coupe interior
‘Only 74 examples of this quintessential classic were ever built.
‘The Facel Vega FV2B could exceed 200kmh. The car received rapturous reviews from the press who dubbed it ‘the world’s fastest 4-seater silent sports car.’
‘As a piece of art, a living, driving sculpture, the Facel Vega FV2B was almost unsurpassed.
‘The exquisite detailing and sexy bodywork of the car’s exterior was only balanced by its equally considered interior, especially when reflected in its panoramic windshield, set above a painted steel dashboard with its own wood grain. The Facel Vega FV2B’s architecture is timeless.
‘It should hardly be surprising then that Jean Daninos’s clientele for his magnificent car included a pair of the greatest racing-drivers of his age, Britain’s Stirling Moss and Maurice Trintignant, the French driving ace. Rather than fly, Moss would drive his Facel Vega – the later HK500 – from event to event.
‘Indeed, it can seem that with such limited production runs every Facel Vega purchaser was a household name. As well as the giants I have listed at the beginning of this article, there seem to be almost as many as there were cars manufactured. For example, if you have Frank Sinatra, then you are almost guaranteed to also have Dean ‘Dino’ Martin.
1956 Facel Vega FV2B Coupe engine
‘Then there was the great Tony Curtis. And Debbie Reynolds, Danny Kaye, Joan Collins, Robert Wagner, Anthony Quinn, the great English comic actor Brian Rix, King Hassan II of Morocco, the then President of Mexico, the Shah of Iran, and a number of Saudi princes. A good thing that neither you nor I wanted to buy a Facel Vega straight off the production line.
‘Do you think we would have needed to show our credibility credentials first?
-Alex Manos, Owner
Facel Vega FV2B buyer Alex Manos

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