Hemi Powered! 1957 Facel Vega FV2

OK, I am recognizing a trend here. I gravitate towards higher-end, large, two-door European coupes like this Jensen Interceptor and this Bristol 411. What’s the draw? Probably the big Mopar V8 engine and here’s a third one to make a troika, a 1957 Facel Vega FV2, located in Santa Barbara, California, and available here on eBay for a current bid of $34,100, reserve not yet met.

Facel (1939-1964) started out as a French military contracting company and then migrated towards the automobile body manufacturing business after 1945. A luxury car division was started in 1948 and the Vega (no, not that Vega) went into production in 1954. The majority of Facel Vegas were constructed as two-door hardtops and built for export with a total production of all versions (FV, FVS and HK500) reaching about 880 total units – 118 in 1957. For the purpose of clarity, the new for ’56 FVS model, identified by its novel wrap-around windshield, was synonymously referred to as an FV2.

The listing states, “Great car- lots of money spent recently on sorting it out. Ready for inspection at our workshops. Low reserve”. You now know as much about this Facel Vega as I do, that’s it, there is no more. Worst of all, there is no image of the engine or reference as to how it runs. Well, no image of the engine in this listing but I did find one on the seller’s website, Winning Makes. Research tells us that power is provided via a 300 HP, 331 CI Chrysler “Hemi” V8 engine. Earlier Facel Vegas employed a Desoto version of the Hemi but the Chrysler version was substituted in 1956. Power to the rear live axle is via a push-button actuated Powerflite automatic transmission.

The body, trim, chrome, and finish look fantastic. There is no sign of age or weather-related wear and certainly no evidence of crash damage or obvious body panel repair. The rocker panels, below the lower stainless trim spear, would seem to be darker or a different shade than the general silver hue of the body. Perhaps that’s intended and normal? The grille work, coupled with the subdued, wire wheels present a very dignified appearance. The exterior oozes a purposeful refinement.

Speaking of purposeful refinement, the interior nails that concept perfectly. The red leather upholstery contrasts and compliments the silver exterior exquisitely. There is a perfect arrangement of chrome-trimmed gauges set in dark grained, wood paneling. It is an old-world European and totally functional environment all at the same time. The mileage on this Facel Vega is listed as 64K miles but nothing viewed in the interior indicates that usage or the passage of 63 years.

It’s unfortunate that the listing is so parsimonious with details. It would be easy to assume that this Facel Vega is good to go and needs nothing but that would be the exception and not the rule. The seller probably assumes anyone with a genuine interest will just make contact, not much of a selling technique. The seller’s website, referenced above, provides no additional details, just a few more images. Whatever the case, this is a magnificent automobile, the likes of that we will probably not see again. There’s no telling what the reserve is, the seller’s website gives no indication, but unless it is outrageous, it stands to reason that a car of this rarity and quality will find a new home very soon, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    This car checks all my boxes! Given the rarity of these cars one in good shape will bring a lot of money. These are way out of my league so I will have to appreciate from afar.

    Like 21
    • Mike

      All my boxes checked too. Way back in the 80’s, I saw a project FV in Seattle at a repair shop for $5,500. I knew what it was and I tried to get my dad on board (needed his $$ help), but he told me to stick with my 914. Years later, he saw one at a car show and told me I should have been more persistent. I’ll keep that in mind dad when the next project FV pops up for $90k :I

      Like 6
      • JP

        You could barely give these away 15-20 years ago. Now they’re the new Ferraris (almost), or will be… Good investment – much better than an Interceptor or Bristol, imho.

        Like 4
  2. MattR Member

    Same here. I’ve never seen one before, but I love it inside and out. That’s a classy ride.

    Like 5
  3. Turbo

    A friends dad had a slightly newer one when I was a kid. I want to say a 58 or a 59 that, if I recall correctly was a cream yellow with a dark red interior. I don’t remember much more other than I think it might have been fiberglass

    Like 2
    • Turbo

      Oh, and a 392 hemi

      Like 2
  4. CJinSD

    The shifter keypad sure looks like a five-button one for a Torqueflite three-speed transmission to me. The top buttons are R-N-D and the bottom ones are 2-1. This car was a no-sale at $88,000 in July on Bring-A-Trailer. There was far more information on that listing, begging the question of what is going on this time.

    https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1957-facel-vega-fv2b/

    Like 9
  5. Elanguy

    Last fall I saw one of these in Waikiki roll up past the Hawaiian Village Beach Resort. Frank Sinatra should have been at the wheel, but whoever was driving looked darn good. Serious styling!

    Like 5
  6. Will Fox

    Well, it’s a Chrysler Hemi but most likely the `56 354 cube unit, not the 331. in `58 Chrysler gave them 392 Hemis to install, and not many left with that engine. Notice this one is just a single 4bbl. carb. version, so closer to 350HP instead of 375.

    Like 1
  7. Farhvergnugen

    Fleabay? Srsly?

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      Farhvergnugen,

      It’s likely you’ve never sold on ebay, especially in the last few years. Names Like fleabay, fleecebay, and numerous other descriptive names not fit to print here, accurately describe the lack of respect from sellers, because of the terrible antics the company routinely pulls on sellers. Anyone who has stock in this company would be wise to sell them now, while they can.

      To learn more, check out this site: Ecommercebytes.com, & look at various comments about ebay.

      Like 2
  8. SquareLeft

    Very pretty car, and rare too. My only complaint is that the modern carburetor and air cleaner look REALLY out of place!

  9. Larry Brantingham

    The “wood” dash is actually painted metal.

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey

      Larry Brantingham,

      You are 100% correct, it came as a shock when I discovered the beautiful burl walnut dash on my Facel-Vega was in fact hand painted metal, and not the printed painted dashes common to American cars in the 1930s & 1940s. It really did look like real burl walnut.

      Like 1
  10. JBD

    These are serious Eurotrash eaters for their time. Quicker & faster than an Aston DB4 or 5?

  11. Joe Machado

    A neighbor here is selling his 1971 Jensen. It is inside a storage building about 4 miles away. I am not into them, but he placed an ad , think, on Craigs List.
    Palm Desert, Ca.
    Also, 3 miles from me, a shop licensed to build the Eleanor Mustang, just finished another one. On Hemmings.
    I have driven a couple of these. Magnificent machines.
    Took some to Barrett before.
    The Jensen is not all there, but what a great looking car. Silver. No Interior

    Like 1
  12. hemidavey

    Wow, what a ride!

    Like 1
  13. Chris

    The car Albert Camus died in. RIP.
    I love the styling though, very sweet ride.

    Like 3
    • Mike W H

      I hope they can get the smell out

      Like 4
  14. Bob Roller

    Grand elegance and always one of my favorites.I know where there is the remains of one of the FV’s under a shed in West Virginia.I don’t like carburetors either but they were state of the art when this car was built.Ditto for standard shift transmissions and drum brakes.

  15. 57Wayne

    Below the side trim was covered with a ribbed aluminum sheet. I would love another Facel but they are way out of manageable price range now, even for Facellias. @Bob Roller, I wouldn’t mind knowing where the remains are down in WV!

  16. Harriston Richardson

    wow. if only ,,,,, beautiful and classy ,but if only ,

  17. Darrel Miller

    please check engine,,, That is either a 54 331,, not 300 hp or a replacement Ind engine… I would check the numbers on the block,,, easy to do.

  18. Dave Mazz

    JB Classic cars had a 1960 Facel Vega listed on their website, with a “Chrysler Wedge 279 cc (sic) V-8” engine that developed 330 h.p. Wow!! that little engine must have been a real rare one, since most of the other 1960 F-Vs used the Chrysler 383 big block V-8. Well, at least they got the “wedge” part right. No sale price was given and the car was sold to someone in Germany. I hope the German gentleman who bought it wasn’t too upset to see the 383 CID Chrysler V-8 instead of a 279 *cubic centimeter* engine :-) :-)

    Like 2
  19. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Unless something has changed, that “woodgrain” is paint on a metal dash.

    Like 1
  20. Glenn heigl

    331 Chrysler Hemi is 1953 , 54 354 Hemi is 1955,56 and 1957 its a 392 Hemi

    Like 2
  21. gerardfrederick

    I heard years ago, that this car suffered from a serious design flaw, namely a frame which eventually bend in the center, making it impossible to open or close the doors. This model was so plagued with problems, that they decided to build a much smaller version which reputedly was a fine car. Alas, after the bad reputation of the original, it never caught on. Usually there is a good reason why makes disappear.

    Like 2
    • 57Wayne

      The Excellence, a 4 door small limo with rear suicide doors had a flex and latch issue. There was a factory fix for the latches. The car that killed Facel was the Facellia, the small car with their own Pont a Mousson 4cyl twin cam. The weak points on these are the drum brakes and the steering arms. Power steering is a strange setup, very much an afterthought. Steering arms break. Mine did on an HK500, fortunately, in my driveway shortly after getting off the highway.
      HK500 had disc brakes and the 383. And then there was the Facel 2; gorgeous. But bankruptcy was from the Facellia engine problems.

      Like 7
      • Bill McCoskey

        gerardfrederick & 57Wayne,

        You are both correct, I used to own a 1961 Facel-Vega Excellence #101, and those doors NEVER gave any trouble, they actually latch into special tapered “bullets” in the floor, that means there is NO center post at all.

        Like 3
  22. gerardfrederick

    Thanx for the enlightenment. One always learns something new.

    Like 3
  23. Timmyt

    Flaw was in the steering system on an oversteer the center link would flip around and left became right and right became left I sold a basket case one for 2k about 10 years ago it had a complete 331 hemi the guy is building a rat rod yet in a decade not finished

    Like 1
  24. chrlsful

    french cars all ways hadan appeal as different. Like them or hate them.
    This 1 (F. V. co) is too european/usa-ish to get into that debate. It’s all car – this one (all the facile vega models) ! Altho ‘the 3 boxes’ design make it different than the 300SL, ’56-’60 vette (& ’63) and some others (’50s-’65 italian/brit, ’36-’52 usa ‘classics’) I’d say, for me, it’s among the all time most appealing.
    I have eleanguy’s image in my mind’s eye as well…

    Like 1

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