Rare French Classic: 1960 Facel-Vega

When I look back at all of the various cars that I have written about for Barn Finds, I have definitely written about many that have been in a sadder state than this 1960 Facel-Vega, but I doubt that I’ve written about any that were cheaper. Barn Finder Jimmy referred this French classic to us, so thank you for that Jimmy. Located in Westminster, California, you will find the Facel-Vega listed for sale here on Craigslist. The price? How does $400 sound to you?

After a lot of careful digging, I’ve been able to establish that this car is not a 1960 model, as the VIN plate describes it as a Model FB. This would make it a Facel III, which was only in production during 1963, but examples remained on sale into the 1964 calendar year. This was available in both a cabriolet version or like our car, a coupe. When it was new it was a stylish car, but the company was also in its death throes due to various reasons, including a disastrous experiment with its own 4-cylinder engine that resulted in an enormous number of warranty claims. This car is missing a number of major body panels, along with the majority of its glass. There have been some repairs performed on the body in the past because there is Bondo visible in a few spots. The tubular steel frame may be okay, but the owner does say that the car is suitable for parts only.

Many of the cars produced by Facel-Vega were equipped with Chrysler V8 engines, while the company also flirted with their own DOHC 1,646cc engine. When this proved to be extremely troublesome, they then entered into a contract to fit the Facel III with the 1,778cc Volvo B18 engine and manual transmission. That is what is fitted to this car, but it isn’t clear whether this is the original engine for this car. With a vehicle weight of 2,336lbs, the 108hp engine failed to deliver the kinds of performance that had been one of the hallmarks of its predecessors. It isn’t clear how healthy the engine and transmission in this car are, but it’s well to remember that this is a cheap car that is being offered for parts.

The Facel III was envisaged to be a volume-selling car, but with the company being on the ropes, these volumes never materialized for Facel-Vega. In the end, only about 1,100 cars were produced before the company was forced to raise the white flag and admit defeat. Of that final production run of 1,100 cars, it is believed that less than a dozen were eventually imported into the US, which makes this a fairly rare car. That means that they don’t come onto the market terribly often, and when they do, a pristine example can fetch in excess of $90,000. This one is a long way from pristine, and I have my doubts as to whether restoration would be viable when you take into account the number of parts that are missing from the car, and how difficult (and expensive) some of these parts would be to source. Still, maybe someone out there is brave enough to take it on, although I suspect that the owner is on the money when he refers to it as a parts car.

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Comments

  1. CJinSD

    You could win the 24 hours of LeMons just by showing up.

  2. Mark

    Believe you have a typo….this appears to be a 60 Fecal Vega.

    • Will Fox

      When I failed to see the trademark taillamps on the tops of the rear fenders that the `56`60 models had, I knew it was at least a `62. Newer ones had small round taillamps set inside the ridges of the rear fenders. Too bad it doesn’t have the Chrysler supplied 383 V8; it used the hi-po version that put out 330HP. A famous writer of the day named Albert Camus had a `59. He took a curve at over 105MPH and launched into a tree, thus ending his life.
      This one having the enemic base 4 cyl. wouldn’t be worth as much restored at the Chrysler V8 powered Facels are. Those restored are $300K museum pieces.

      • IkeyHeyman Member

        Ok, call me a nitpicker, but Camus’s publisher was driving the car at the time of the accident.

      • Will Fox

        Ikey, surprised you found info stating Camus’ publisher was driving that car. All I read was, that he was WITH Camus in the car. Camus got thrown some yards away on impact; in multiple chunks I might add.

      • Rodney- GSM

        The basis of his 1971 book, “A Happy Death”…..

  3. don

    This WAS a parts car at one time , now its scrap

    • Bigblocksrock396

      $400 is a little unreasonable. Pay ME $250 & I’ll make it go away. People are such dreamers anymore.

  4. That Guy

    Usually I would make some snarky comment about jacking up the VIN plate and driving a new car under it. This time, I think the seller has it about right. It’s already been stripped to a shell, though it’s kind of amazing the engine and gearbox are still there. For someone who already has one, it’s got to be worth $400 just on the off-chance they can use pieces of sheet metal. It doesn’t look uselessly rusty, at least not totally.

  5. Del

    No parts left

  6. Doyler

    I always thought these would be great with an Alfa busso engine swap.

  7. sir mike

    IF you would even try to restore this it would either take really big $$$$ in which case you would never make money reselling it or a nice donor car that really only needs 2 pieces of 1/4 glass or a wheel.

  8. egads

    Looks better than the Pantera !!

  9. Danger Dan

    Not cool man, not cool.

    • Steven Ligac

      Well, doesn’t it? I’m new here so maybe I’m missing something.

  10. WillCorke

    It’s a Facellia, not a Facel III.

  11. TimM

    It appears to me to be lawn art!!!

  12. Martin Horrocks

    The rustiest car I ever saw was one of these. It is a Facel III, which was the Facellia updated with a Volvo engine/box. The Facellia had an unreliable twin cam engine devised for the car which was the most important element in the demise of the marque. A handful were produced with Healey 3000 engine and box as well.

    $400 seems reasonable for what remains. To restore it would be ruinous and pointless. You might find doors, for example, but whether you could make them fit is open to question. Trim and interior could only come from a complete donor, which would probably be a better starting point in any case.

    @TimM Lawn or other art is not a bad idea!

    Camus was the passenger in the fatal crash, car was a V8 Facel owned and driven by his publisher. C´est la vie, and now it isn´t. End of existential crisis.

  13. Del

    I gave Martin a thumbs up for mentioning Camus.

    Lost on the rest of posters here.🤣😁.

    Screw the lawn art.

    • TimM

      Hey Del if your going to screw lawn art watch the rust!!! It could be hell on your private parts!!!

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