French Tiger: 1960 Facel-Vega Facellia V8

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The words French, and V8, do not often come together. This Facel-Vega has interesting style, and is in superb shape. What makes this Frenchman special is that it boasts an all-aluminum Buick V8. The seller has named it a “French Tiger” and the name certainly presents an interesting idea of what it may be like to drive. The seller has not disclosed a price, but this Facel-Vega is interesting enough that we had to share. Find it here on craigslist out of Los Angeles, California.

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Looking under the hood of this Facel, you would think that this engine came factory installed. I am sure some Facel owners would have wished that it did. This is a Buick 215 cubic inch V8, more commonly known as the Rover V8. The fitment and installation of the engine is fantastic. The engine and the engine bay look clean enough to eat off of. The original Facel 4 cylinder engines were reported for suffering from failed engineering design and metallurgical issues. Later Facels came to be Swede powered thanks to the Volvo B18 power plant. But this all-aluminum V8 mated to a 5 speed gearbox has more power and torque, and offers a much more interesting driving experience compared to the original drivetrain. Although the seller has mentioned that the original drivetrain is available with the car if you desire to return this rare Frenchman back to stock condition.

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If you haven’t guessed by now this is indeed a rare car to find in America. According to the seller this is the 391st Facellia to be produced. The seller gives further detail explaining that roughly 400 1960 Facellias were made, but of those only 90 or so made it to the states. 1960 was the first year for the Facel-Vega Facellia. The Facellia was offered in a cabriolet, a 2+2 coupe and a 4 seat coupe. The Cabriolet has more pleasant proportions compared to the other variations of the Facellia. Besides, who wouldn’t want a plush French convertible? The face and lines on this Facellia are interesting to say the least. There is an ambiance of luxury to the car that separates it from its similar counterparts.  The exterior looks clean and straight, with a wonderful luster to the paint.

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This is easily one of the most welcoming interiors we have seen. Classic and simple, yet elegant. The seats look as if they would be comfortable, but supportive. The dash is wonderful with the gauges and switches laid out in a symmetrical fashion. It is easy to imagine the view and experience of driving this interesting car. There appears to be no evidence of the installation of the 5 speed gearbox. The level of detail put towards the conversion is phenomenal.

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Rowing through the gears in this Facel-Vega would be a joy. It is certainly an uncommon and interesting looking automobile. The Buick engine offers more power and torque than the original 4 cylinder, but we do not suspect that it is too much to make the car unpleasant to drive and live with. Do you think this “French Tiger” lives up to its nickname? Would you rather have a Sunbeam Tiger or this exclusive Facel Tiger?

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Comments

  1. Brian

    C-list listing already gone? How much were they asking?

  2. Squad41

    I love everything about this. The Buick 215 weighs 318lbs. The B18 weighs 315lbs. The diminutive aluminum domestic powerplant seems to be an excellent choice… Especially since almost every single Facellia has been repowered.

  3. Pfk1106

    Stunning in how it was converted. Really fantastic looking job.

  4. Dolphin Member

    The original engine was so flawed, this is probably one of the few vintage European 2-seat convertibles has its value increased by getting a different kind of engine than what it left the factory with.

    Half of the photos on the web show the kind of seats this car has, and half show a different pattern, so if you wanted the interior to look original you would need to check that out.

    Get rid of the red racing stripe, repaint the valve covers, make sure the early Buick 215 doesn’t have the dreaded cylinder liner movement problem, and you would have a good looking French convertible, probably the only one on your block even if you live in L.A.

  5. Don E

    Brian and BF: did u happen to save a screen shot of the contact on the listing? You know I LOVE these odd things. Would like to own it if you have the contact info, anybody? Anybody? Bueller …. Bueller … hello

    Personally I’ll take the Facel over the Tiger. Driven both and prefer the Facel

    • Dolphin Member

      I did some searches but only came up with this (different) one, also with a V8 and located in L.A. Text is in both French & English (below the French).

      http://paris.craigslist.fr/cto/5624191206.html

      It has a Ford 260 V8 “Cobra” engine + 4-speed that was installed in the 1960s. Not as nice as the white one, but better than most cars we see on BF.

      I think CL listings disappear from the web when they expire, unfortunately.

    • Michael Potiker

      Hey Don,

      I’m the current owner of the car and may be ready to part with it..

  6. Don E

    http://paris.craigslist.fr/cto/5624191206.html?lang=no

    This one is more appropriately named Tiger Facel.

  7. Donald

    The French part makes no sense (I know I am french…) Obviously the seller used google translate…Still a nice car…I would be very interested if I was in the market…

  8. Don E

    DOLPHIN: I saw that one. Tried to post it to this listing but my attempts failed twice.

  9. Tony S

    Sweet little car! Must be a blast to drive.
    Also I think the first V8 was French (Antoinette)

  10. James HGF

    The First V8 was indeed French. Clément Ader (a man with a truly unique portfolio of adventures and inventions to his name) installed a V8 in three of his 1903 Paris-Madrid race cars. Darracq had an automotive V8 in 1905 and De Dion-Bouton produced a small series of V8s beginning with a 6.1 litre engine in 1910.

    Per fr.wikipedia: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moteur_V8

  11. Steve P

    What is the difference between a 2+2 coupe and a 4 seat coupe?

  12. Jim Benjaminson

    I thought all Facel’s were powered by Chrysler V8’s?????

  13. Mike Burnett

    Am I alone in thinking that this car is really ugly, as though it was designed by an 8 year old?

  14. Mike Williams

    Other French v8’s, the Ford flathead V8 was licensed to other producers. It was used by Simca in France until 1961

  15. AMCFAN

    Original or not I think it is a beautiful car. I wouldn’t change a thing. Damn…Something else to add to the bucket list. Would be interested to know how much it sold for. When they end so quick means someone was on their game. Good for them

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