Chrysler-Powered Exotic: 1958 Facel Vega FVS

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Update 9/20/19 – It’s been almost 4 years since we first featured this Facel Vega and unfortunately it still hasn’t found a good home. After selling in 2016, the car made its way to Portland, Oregon. It has now been relisted here on eBay with the old photos from 3 years ago. Hopefully, someone will actually do something with it this time and we won’t see it here again in a couple of years!

From 9/13/16 – It’s time to check your 401k balance again, this one will take a good chunk of it. This is a 1958 Facel Vega and it’s in Brunswick, Georgia and is listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of only $80,000 or best offer. That may seem like a lot, and it is, but restored examples regularly sell for between $200,000 and $300,000+, so there’s some room there for a full restoration without being upside down on this French beauty.

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That’s a good looking rear end, in my opinion; not to be weird or anything. We recently showed a $50,000 Bargain, and this one is another potential bargain, especially if you can Rick Harrison that price down a bit (whoever thought that his name would become a verb?!) This is one imposing, beautiful design, in my opinion. The Facel Vega was first shown in Paris in 1954 and by 1956 they were known as the Facel Vega FVS, “S” for sport. The company made a drop-dead gorgeous four-door sedan called the Facel Vega Excellence and if I ever win the Powerball there will be one in my 100-car garage. Facel Vega built fewer than 400 of these cars so they’re a rare sight today. This car is the 229th one built and it was the 7th one delivered to the famous NYC dealer, Hoffman Motors. Only 85 Facel Vega FVS cars were made in 1958.

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This car has been in storage since 1977 and it has 56,000 original miles on it. It was originally a silver car, and with a red interior, it’s hard to beat that combo. Although, a red interior goes with just about anything in my opinion. It looks like there’s a lot of rust lurking underneath the white paint on this car, “but the floors, sills, rockers, frame, etc, appear to be in good condition”, according to the seller. The underside shows a lot of surface rust, but this car deserves a full, frame-off, nut-and-bolt restoration so you’ll be redoing the frame anyway. You’ll be spending at least what you paid for the car on the restoration or more, and if you don’t cut corners you should have a winner on your hands, not to mention a good investment. You can pay back your 401k with interest.

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A weekend of detailing and.. well, it looks like the interior needs a full restoration, too. But, once the restoration is done, viola! These were uber-luxurious cars, especially for the mid-1950s. The infamous French carmakers such as Delahaye, Avions Voisin, and Bugatti set the stage for the Facel Vega. Hollywood stars owned these cars, and if you need further proof that they were considered the ultimate in cool, Dean Martin even had one. The quilted, padded headliner, rear seats, and the intricate dash and gauges look great, or they will once they’re restored.  The trunk will hold your golf clubs or a set of custom made fitted luggage.

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Facel Vega used several engines in their cars, mostly American V8s from Chrysler Corporation. They ranged in power from a DeSoto Firedome 276 V8 with 172 hp all the way up to a Chrysler 300 sourced Hemi 392 V8 with 354 hp! This looks like the later to me, I can see a Chrysler 300 badge on the air cleaner; score! What an engine, this thing will be a work of art once it’s restored. This is an amazing car, a post-lottery-win car for a lot of people. I would rather have this than a new Lamborghini or Ferrari, but I guess I’m weird. What do you think about the Facel Vega, and about this car in particular? If you could work the numbers I think this could be a good investment, but plan on spending probably $100,000, or more, on the restoration. You may be able to find one for somewhere in the low-$200,000 range so would it be a good buy? Have you ever seen one of these in person?

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Comments

  1. brakeservo

    When I was a kid, there was a service station in Burbank, California that had three or four of these just rotting away in the back. Hard to imagine such a thing happening now.

    Like 5
  2. Mike

    When The Beatles first hit it big Ringo bought one. He liked to brag he could afford the car but couldn’t spell the name.

    Like 6
  3. Luke Fitzgerald

    Wow – imagine the fun that would be found with this one – craftsman only, need to apply

    Like 1
  4. michael streuly

    What a crappy looking car. Ugly Ugly Ugly. I say sell it for scrap.

    Like 2
    • Saabist

      Michael streuly you are truly a philistine ( look it up)

      Like 19
      • Will Fox

        I was going to say he’s a cretin, but yea–philistine fits him too. He obviously has not only no knowledge, but no taste in cars either. He doesn’t even know what this is.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Yeah okay.

    • Dan h

      WHAAAAAA??
      Never have I heard such blasphemy…..

      Like 5
    • CrazyGeorge CrazyGeorge

      Mike, how can you condem this vehicle ? It’s a HEMI ! I don’t care if it’s made out of corigated feathers, it’s a HEMI and I want it !

      Like 8
      • Keith

        (Crazy George) A True Mopar freak……”it’s a HEMI and I want it”! Haha!……Wow!

      • Will Fox

        He’s busy trying to figure out what a Hemi even is…

      • Brakeservo

        Heck, even Chrysler no longer knows what a Hemi is, judging by the way they use the term now. Just a combustion chamber design, I’ve had hemi- head engines built by BMW, Toyota, Fiat, Ferrari, Porsche and even by Communists – Tatra!!

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Interesting that you can confidently say,

    “there’s some room there for a full restoration without being upside down”

    AND,

    “but this car deserves a full, frame-off, nut-and-bolt restoration so you’ll be redoing the frame anyway.”

    I think you may want to crunch those numbers again.

    Like 2
  6. Yellowjax Member

    If only I was a member of the 1%. It would be this one or a Healy Nash .

    Like 1
  7. Yellowjax Member

    I mean Nash Healy

    Like 3
    • Rob'sGT

      You mean Nash-Healey!

      Like 5
  8. Brad

    Starting with one in this condition, I’d be tempted to remove, restore and crate the original Hemi… and put a brand new 6.4 Hemi / 8-speed auto in here.

    Add lots of Dynamat, include the original motor in any future sale, and I think you’d have one hell of a cool (reversible) restomod.

    Like 1
  9. matt grant

    to me, this is one of the most stunning examples of automotive art, ever. i have seen only one up close and the car was mesmerizing in person. i liken it to the dual ghia, rare, limited in production, expensive; all the signs of a classic.

    Like 8
    • 68custom

      The Cistilia was nice as well.

  10. 68custom

    Nice car after restoring. Look’s like a hemi too!

    Like 1
  11. redwagon

    look gradma’s red quilt ended up on the ceiling!

    i get it. one helluva nice looking car – from 3 different views. head on i am not feeling the love. the front clip looks awkward. still, would not through this one out of the garage based on looks. she’s a keeper. high maintenance but a keeper.

  12. Robert

    Over Priced

    This was sold several months ago for $31,000.00

    See:1958 FACEL VEGA TYPHOON “BARN FIND” Complete! DUAL CARB FV4 French Supercar Rare
    Price: US $30,100.00 Item location: Murrysville, Pennsylvania, United States

    This just a money grab after buying it cheaper and now wants $50,000.00 more.

    Like 1
  13. ccrvtt

    “The infamous French car makers such as Delahaye, Avions Voisin and Bugatti…” Infamous? Famous, perhaps, but definitely NOT infamous. Sorry, pet peeve.

    Like 6
    • Scotty Staff

      Ha, sorry, a little poetic license there, ccrvtt. You’re correct, I was just being flippant about how some folks view French cars as being “disreputable, known for bad quality, etc.” (i.e., infamous)..

      Like 3
      • ccrvtt

        You’re absolutely right about the French. I was too dense to pick up the sarcasm. I heard a long time ago that the French don’t copy anybody and nobody copies the French. I would have used Renault & Citroen as makers of remarkably shitty cars rather than Bugatti and Delahaye, but as the French themselves say, “Chacun a son gout.”

    • Eric Dashman

      Agree CCRVT. It’s a pet peeve of mine too, along with the its syblings the oft-used ‘notorious’ and ‘notoriety’ when the real intention is ‘famous’ or ‘celebrated’. There’s another word butchering that George W. used all the time…nucular (sic) energy :-) and I still hear folks tripping over it. While languages are dynamic, I do wince a little when it occurs.

      Like 1
      • Scotty Staff

        I butcher both the written and spoken language quite a bit, mostly for “affect” (effect).. A couple of my favorites are:

        -saying “orientate” instead of orient, as in, “let’s orientate the building this way.”
        -saying “electronical” instead of electronic.

        Of course, there’s the famous/infamous: “AC needs charged”!

        Like 3
      • Robert L Roberge

        ….and doncha just love ‘anyways’. Nails on a chaulk board for me.

        Like 1
  14. G.P. Member

    If cars like this and many others are so great in the first place, why didn’t they sell thousands and thousands of them??

    • Dolphin Member

      1. Very expensive to buy new, like other handbuilt cars that are now among the most valuable collector cars on the planet

      2. No widespread dealer network, little advertising

      3. French, which for some reason disqualifies these as worth owning according to some people

      4. Low production numbers, which was typical with handbuilt cars, so there weren’t thousands and thousands of them to sell. The total number of all the FV models built was 353

      5. I guess there was no burning desire to outsell Ford / GM/ Chrysler / Mercedes / Austin / etc, etc

      Like 6
      • G.P. Member

        Thanks for the information Dolphin. I guess I don’t know why people would go through all this planning and work to sell 353 cars. It seems they could of done so much more, and it’s to bad they didn’t. Very talented.

    • Will Fox

      G.P., these were 100% hand-built. They took months to complete sometimes. And most were probably built-to-order. They were coveted when new, and even junkers can go for over $10K., although I think this seller’s price is why it’s STILL for sale.

  15. Gear Head Engineer

    G.P., they didn’t sell thousands because they were so expensive. And the factory probably couldn’t handle that kind of volume anyway.

    I saw one of these about 15 years ago. Tucked away in an old barn where I was buying a bunch of MG parts. That one needed work too, but looked more solid than this one. I didn’t even ask if it was for sale – I knew I could not afford it.

    Hard to believe that these, just like many Packards, Cadillacs, and even Duesenbergs, were just old cars at one point. Left in barns, outside in fields, etc.

    Like 3
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I agree Gear Head, I can understand the life and rust cycle barn bound Camaros and Mustangs go through, but this? I will never understand, if you had the big money to get in the game, maintaining this would be chicken feed.

      • Brad

        “if you had the big money to get in the game, maintaining this would be chicken feed.”

        Leiniedude – 60 years is a long time, though, no? The person who bought this was probably scurrying around getting their kids to baseball practice in the 1970s; those kids are now grown with their OWN kids. Sure, Grandpa had the dough to buy his little sports coupe … but two generations is a long time for priorities and finances to remain the same.

        Like 1
      • Bobsmyuncle

        Well said Brad.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hi Brad, thanks for your explanation. I would agree if Grampa had a 1958 Impala. Having turned 61 last Labor Day I know 60 years is a long time. I doubt you would have bought a two door hotrod in the 70’s to take your kids to ball practice. It sure would have been a cool ride to the ball park! Assuming it stayed in the family, anything is possible. Take care, Mike.

        Like 1
  16. Fred W.

    Just where is the new owner going to find the multitude of Facel-Vega specific parts needed for a full restoration?

  17. Brakeservo

    Well, I’ve got a brand new back-up lamp/license plate light assembly still in the original box! I am out of Bugatti parts however . . .

    Like 1
  18. 57Wayne

    Where will the owner find parts?
    Partly from guys like me who still have parts from when we had one or six. The Chrysler engine and trans makes that part easy. Steel body panels can be found or fabricated…pretty flat underneath. I had new steering arms made for mine; originals break. There are a few people with a line on parts. San Bernadino CA was a focal point for parts. If you pay to have it done you might break even.
    The odd body feature is the outward flare of the sides of the body as it goes down to the rockers.

  19. Tony C.

    !2 years ago my wife said she had seen this old car in a driveway while out walking so I jumped in my car and drove round for a look, you got it a Facel Vega, got talking to the guy and he offered to take me for a run around the block. Not the most comfortable ride but suspensions were a little crude back when it was built, the dash looked like something someone had made out of a sheet of veneered timber and a bunch of gauges and toggle switches. He told me he had picked the car up for a friend In New Zealand and it was due to be shipped from Australia in a week. I noticed the doors and panels were not a good fit and finish and in my opinion it didn’t give the impression of being a high priced limited production luxury car, but that’s just my opinion, perhaps it’s all in the name. All it needed was a little TLC, everything worked and it drove well, he didn’t tell me what his friend paid for it, but who knows, it wasn’t something I’d pay big money for. I’ll stick with my 62 Imperial, now that’s LUXURY with a capital L — and it didn’t break the bank!

    • Bill McCoskey

      Tony C,
      That wood panel on the dash is actually a thick panel of aluminum, painstakingly hand painted by artists, to look like fine burl walnut. Nice thing is the panels never crack or warp, but it’s costly to have an artist recreate the look again!

      Like 2
      • Kurt

        I had my Packard trim redone by a retired casket maker. He was a true artist who could make metal stamping look like walnut burl, cherrywood, or whatever you needed.

        Like 1
  20. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    What Robert said…..now being filliped….or trying to…..

    Like 2
  21. Wildfire

    I saw one of these running parts for Auto Zone and the Hemi I was amazed of course I had to go get the part because the car was not listed ANYWHERE in the parts books (if they would have said 58 300 it would have saved us a lot of stress
    never the less ~It was only when I spotted the air cleaner and the Mopar emblem and part number were we able to realize it was a real Hemi and a day later a Texas Rangers player drove his new toy home

    Like 1
  22. Clay Byant

    I look at things like around the fuse holders under the hood where this shouldn’t be but sure looks like this has been really subjected to some heavy duty water at one time and over a long time. I wouldn’t chase that in a million years. Every little switch , every everything…………………50 bucks an hour work..no way.

  23. William C Member

    Flippers should be flogged. Sell it to someone who will care for it, not some bozo trying to rip people off. Sold off my grandfathers collection and told off the brokers and flippers who kept calling. Made sure the buyers had knowledge of what they were interested in and followed up with them to see how the cars were doing. Even sold one for $2500 that a broker kept hounding me about offering me 4 times as much. Buyer cried when he picked it up said he always wanted one and he did restore it. Grandpa would be happy.

    Like 2
  24. luke arnott Member

    Very pretty cars,but by all accounts handling was poor except in a staright line.

    Like 2
  25. Kurt

    Don’t these have an overheating problem in hot climates? They are nice looking cars when finished but that big engine wedged into a small bay looks like trouble. Sartre was killed in one of these but not due to over heating just bad (driving) philosophy,btw…too fast around a curve..

    Like 2
  26. Jimbosidecar

    There’s one on e-bay right now, in way better condition for $125,000 BIN. As a kid there was one in the local imported car showroom along with a BMW 507, AH 100-6 and a few other gems that I had no idea as to their rarity. But any time I’d get into town on a Saturday morning I’d be in the showroom just admiring them.

    Like 3

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