Melting Pot of Style: 1964 Facel Vega Facel III

1964 Facel Vega Facel III

Update 4/17/15 –  Looks like this Facel Vega is still on the market. It has been relisted a couple of times, but is having a hard time generating a bid much higher than $20k. That’s a lot of money, but considering how unique these are, you would think it would be worth it?

From 6/10/14 – French cars just have a certain character and flare that not even Italian cars can claim to have. Of course they aren’t fast, loud, or high strung stallions like what comes out of Italy, but they are quirky and unique. Facel-Vega was one of the few French brands that aimed to build a French car that could rival the Italians on the style and class front, while still retaining its French character. This 1964 Facel III is highly original and was under the same ownership for over 40 years. It needs some work, but looks to be in solid shape. It is one of only a dozen or so in the States and is definitely worth taking a closer look at.  Be sure to check it out here on eBay.

Facel Vega Interior

The Facel’s interior is one of its strongest points. It is as luxurious as anything to come from Italy or England and just as sporting. This one is showing its age, but has great patina and should clean up nicely. We aren’t normally fans of red interiors, but this is one of the few we don’t mind. We especially love the wood grain dash and the leather seats. It wouldn’t look out of place at all in a Ferrari or Jaguar.

Facel Vega Engine

Early Facel-Vegas were powered by Chrysler V8s, but to make for a better handling car and to offer more of a European sports car experience they decide they needed a lighter engine. At first they used a Pont-à-Mousson developed 4 cylinder, but it proved far too unreliable and hurt the brands image. When the Facel III was introduced it debuted with a Volvo P1800 engine. The engine was not only more dependable, but offered better performance as well. Sadly the damage was already done and the brand would never recover. The seller doesn’t state whether this one’s motor currently runs, but from the photos it appears to be in great shape.

1964 Facel III

Whether you like this Facel’s style or not, you have to admit it isn’t your typical oddball French car. We could see this parked at an Italian car show and it could almost fit right in. At the same time, we see design elements from all over the world, including a little bit of American style. It certainly has its own unique style and character! So would you drive this French car or would you want something quirkier?

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    I like odd and unusual cars as much as the next guy, and this Facel III with the Volvo 1800cc engine is a far better choice than the Facellia, but the body has always seemed awkward, with some bits looking like they were cherry-picked from other cars and blended together.

    Josh’s “melting pot of style” in the title for this listing is the perfect way of putting it.

    I like the Euro look of the grille and Mercedes-style headlights, but the slab sides, squared off rear end, and awkward, oversize roof are dealbreakers. When you get to the interior it looks good compared to the awkward body, even with those odd plump stuffed seats.

    As “incredible” as the seller thinks this car is, it will still need everything gone over to make it into a decent #2 driver, and that’s going to cost bigtime. I guess this might make an OK little Facel for somebody, but at $20K-and climbing, with the reserve nowhere in sight, it’s beginning to look pretty expensive.

    • kman

      I agree with everything Dolphin says about the styling but would add that the Volvo engine might have beeb reliable but certainly not enough power or torque to move this or any other car with aplomb. Best description I ever heard of the p1800 was: ” A sheep in Wolf’s clothing”. Why not just get a p 1800 which has the decent styling and is probably a good deal lighter than the Facel.

  2. Horse Radish

    wow, looks like Gullwing Motors and the socalled BH CarClub have got some junk peddling competition.
    Another dealer, who won’t spend money or work on a car but would looooove the profit (Reserve NOT Met !)

  3. jean Lecointe

    Nice to see another french car on BF.
    Do you know that the dashboard panels are not wood but hand painted steel sheets?
    The front headlights were taken from Mercedes. The designer was Jean Daninos and the factory built bodies for Panhard, Citroen and Simca.
    FACEL stands for “Forges et Ateliers de Construction d’Eure et Loire..
    .

  4. Rich Truesdell

    I agree with Dolphin, with the price at $20K and climbing, I don’t see a financial upside on this car. It’s going to cost nearly as much as a Porsche or a Ferrari to restore the body and interior. The saving grace is the Volvo drivetrain which is robust and even if it needs a total rebuild it will be a fraction of its German or Italian rivals.

    The rest, I agree with Jesse.

    I think I might have a photo of a series III in my archives, shot at a past Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance. If I find it I’ll post it here. In the meantime I’m going to share this post on my Facebook timeline.

    And what do we know of the dealer and their reputation?

  5. Dave Wright

    I obtained a Facillia about 10 years ago with an old boatyard that I purchased………it was another experiance that confirmed my dislike of most things French. It had been parked in a a leaky old barn for a decade or two but everything about the car was typical poor French design………it felt really good to get 1500.00 for it after a year of advertising. I sold it to a Hollywood movie car provider that was going to re power it with something Jappanese and put it out to be filmed in the movies.

  6. DT

    CAVEAT EMPTOR (hey I can speak a foreign languauge also)

  7. Rich Truesdell

    Here’s a photo that I just posted to my facebook timeline that shows the potential of this car.

    https://scontent-b-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/t1.0-9/q83/s720x720/10313078_10152892851939619_249879533643240878_n.jpg

    I’m not sure how or even if I can share this photo in the comments here. can someone tell me how? Or Jesse, would you like to add it to your description?

    • Henrie

      WOW. Nice. At first glance at looked like a Alfa. Real BLING

  8. Jim-Bob

    It’s interesting, and I hope it finds a good home, but no. I wouldn’t want it. The Volvo engine means that at least the engine would be reliable, but I don’t have anywhere near deep enough pockets to buy parts for a unique French car that went out of production around 50 years ago. No, for me the only French cars I could consider would be a Citroen 2CV, Ami 6 or 8 or a DS. Well, and maybe a Renault 4. I prefer my old cars to have been mass produced in large numbers so that I don’t have to spend a year looking for some obscure part that went out of production 40+ years ago. I have nothing against old, limited production cars but they just aren’t my style.

  9. Simcajet

    These are/were beautiful cars, meant for yuppies avant le lettre.
    In fact the wood grain on the dashboard is no wood grain; it has been painted!

  10. pbryantr

    This appears to be the same car that was offered through the Lucky auction a few weeks ago. The rust spot up on the nose is identical. Also the ebay seller’s name seems to reflect that of Cosmopolitan Motors. So I guess it did not sell at the Lucky auction?

    http://barnfinds.com/lucky-collector-cars-spring-auction-coming-up/

    • DT

      Luck can be good or BAD

  11. Marek

    While I completely appreciate the formula behind this car, there was a failure somewhere between concept and implementation. With Italian-quirky you always know you are getting character with a purpose. But French-quirky can range from clever to downright spiteful (towards those who will have to maintain the car).

    The body on this car is trying too hard – too many different queues that don’t play well together. And too bad, as that interior is outstanding for the times.

    Some cars tug at me emotionally and others intellectually. This one seems like it should do some of both; but really does neither.

  12. retroauto

    I had one fully restored and running which went back to France – parts are a salad of Facel Vega, Chrysler, Volvo with a smattering of Brit stuff. Cautions – non FV steering wheel, console incorrect & dash (half sort of re-done) is NOT as it looks (it is NOT wood, it is hand painted STEEL which corrodes), front suspension & steering parts are very tough to source as is the glass. OA when the money is spent and the car is as you imagined things…… it is NOT a very satisfying car to drive if you close your eyes you can imagine sitting in a Volvo 122S Its character does not seem to exhibit any of its ‘United Nations’ heritage, …………… and I have 5 other French cars to compare it – each I love dearly, each for their own foibles and excentricity.

  13. Doyler

    @Horse Radish

    It seems we have similar opinions…

  14. Dolphin Member

    Most times cars seem to bring the highest bids the first time listed on Ebay, and it’s downhill from there. IIRC it was bid to over $22K the first time last year, then to just over $20K the second time, and that’s where it’s bid to and stuck at now a year later.

    If it were me I would take that money and go out and buy myself one or two other cars that I like and could drive.

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