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manufacturer of steel furniture and pressed steel components, later complete aut

omobiles to their own design, founded in 1939 to make components for Bronzavia's
military aircraft. In 1945 in conjunction with Metallon Facel began to make sho
rt-run special bodies, coups or cabriolets, for Simca, Ford, Panhard and Delahaye
Monocoque bodies without a chassis became general for mass-produced cars and Fac
el lost their big customers. French niche manufacturers ended production. Metall
on left the partnership in 1953. Facel set about designing and making their own
complete cars using engines made by Chrysler, Volvo and Austin. Their first desi
gn named Vega was shown to the public in 1954.
Though initially successful Facel closed its factory in October 1964. Their Face
llia model introduced in 1959 was under-developed and losses brought about by it
s warranty problems became impossible to recoup. Prior to closure Facel had been
placed under the control of Sud Aviation subsidiary SFERMA.
Contents [hide]
Business history
Facel Vega
External links
Business history[edit]
Facel, Forges et Ateliers de Constructions d'Eure-et-Loir, was founded 20 Decemb
er 1939 by Bronzavia, a French manufacturer of military aircraft to make special
components. Jean Daninos, technical director of Bronzavia, had begun his career
with Citroen where he assisted in the design of the Traction coups and cabriolet
s. He moved to Morane-Saulnier then to Bronzavia. During WW II he worked with Ge
neral Aircraft in USA who were using Bronzavia patents but he returned in 1945 a
nd took charge of Facel. Facel merged with Metallon, a tie maintained until Janu
ary 1953.[1]
Daninos put Facel to the manufacture of short-run and special complete finished
bodies for the major French brands. In conjunction with l'Aluminium Franais Facel
designed the all-aluminium alloy Panhard Dyna X and then built around 45,000 ex
amples for Panhard.[1]
Luxury cars
A luxury car division was established in 1948. It made various models of Simca S
port and drew publicity by designing with Farina and then building a special bod
y on a Bentley Mark VI chassis. The car was named Bentley Cresta. The exercise w
as repeated in 1951 and named Cresta II. September 1951 saw the introduction of
their Ford Comte. Production of the Comte ended in 1955 when Simca took over Ford
France. The styling of the Crestas and Comtes was developed into the shape of the
first Vega.[1]
Scooter bodies, truck bodies, tractor bodies, jeeps and smaller components
During the same period Facel-Metallon pressed out body panels for: Delahaye's ar
my jeeps (painted and upholstered) ; Simca, Delahaye and Somua's trucks (painted
and upholstered); scooters by Vespa, Piaggio and Motobcane; tractors by Massey-F
erguson and stainless-steel bumpers, hubcaps and grilles for Simca and Ford and
for Renault.[1]
In conjunction with Hispano-Suiza Facel-Metallon and Facel also turned out for R
olls-Royce combustion chambers in special metals for their jet engines.[1]
postwar coups and cabriolets

Panhard Dyna X dcapotable

Simca 8 sport cabriolet
Ford Comte coup
Simca 9 sport coup
Simca Aronde coup
Facel Vega[edit]
Facel-Metallon bodied 1951 Bentley Mark VI
The marque Facel Vega was created in 1954 by Jean Daninos (brother of the humori
st Pierre Daninos, who wrote Les Carnets du Major Thompson), although the Facel
company had been established by the Bronzavia Company in 1939 as a subcontractin
g company for the aviation industry. FACEL (Forges et Ateliers de Construction d
'Eure-et-Loir, in English: forge and construction workshop of the department of
Eure-et-Loir) was initially a metal-stamping company but decided to expand into
car manufacturing in the early 1950s.[2] Facel entered the automobile business a
s a supplier of special bodies for Panhard, Delahaye and Simca.
Facel Vega FV, HK500 and
Main article: Facel Vega
Main article: Facel Vega
Main article: Facel Vega

Facel Vega II
Facel II

Facel Vega HK500 1961

The Vega production cars (FV, later and more famously the HK500) appeared in 195
4 using Chrysler V8 engines, at first a 4.5-litre (275 cu in) DeSoto Hemi engine
; the overall engineering was straightforward, with a tubular chassis, double wi
shbone suspension at the front and a live axle at the back, as in standard Ameri
can practice. They were also as heavy as American cars, at about 1,800 kg (3,968
lb). Performance was brisk, with an approx 190 km/h (118 mph) top speed and 0 t
o 100 km/h (62 mph) in just under ten seconds.
Most cars were two-door hardtops with no centre pillar, but a few convertibles w
ere built. Fully 77% of production was exported, due to the punitive Tax horsepo
wer system in France.[2]
The 1956 model was improved with a bigger 5.4-litre (330 cu in) Chrysler engine
and updated transmission and other mechanicals. In the same year production bega
n of a four-door model, the Excellence, with rear-hinged doors (suicide doors) a
t the back and no centre pillar. The pillarless design unfortunately made it les
s rigid and the handling was thus poorer than that of the two-door cars, and sur
viving examples are rare.
1959 models had even bigger engines, a 5.8-litre (354 cu in) and later a 6.28-li
tre (383 cu in) Chrysler V8, and were quite a bit faster despite their extra wei
ght. The final evolution of the V8 models came in 1962 with the Facel Vega II, w
hich was lighter, with sleeker, more modern lines, substantially faster still, a
nd famously elegant.
Facel III

Facellia F-2, 1959 to 1963

In 1960, Facel entered the sports car market with the Facellia, a small car simi
lar in size to the then popular Mercedes 190SL. Facellias were advertised in thr
ee body styles: cabriolet, 2+2 coup and 4-seat coup
all with the same mechanical p
arts and a 2,450 mm (96.5 in) wheelbase. Styling was similar to the Facel HK500,
but with rather elegant (though fingernail-breaking) flush door handles. Follow
ing Facel Vega's demise several of M Daninos's styling cues were "borrowed" by M
ercedes-Benz. Prices were roughly US$4,000 for the Facellia, US$5,500 for the Fa
cel III and US$6,000 for the Facel 6.[3]
With the idea of creating a mass-produced all-French sports car competing with t
he Alfa Romeos, Facel moved away from American engines. The Facellia had a 4-cyl
inder 1.6 L DOHC engine built in France by Paul Cavallier of the Pont--Mousson co
mpany (which already provided manual gear boxes for the company's larger models)
. The engine had only two bearings supporting each camshaft, using special steel
s, as opposed to the usual four or five. Despite the metallurgical experience of
Pont--Mousson, this resulted in excessive flex, timing problems and frequent fai
lures. Famed engineers Charles Deutsch and Jean Bertin were called in to solve t
he issues, but it was not enough and the engine was pronounced a disaster and th
e Facellia with it.[4] Company president, Jean Daninos having been obliged to re
sign in August 1961 in response to the company's financial problems, the new bos
s, a former oil company executive called Andr Belin, gave strict instructions to
the after-sales department to respond to customer complaints about broken Facell
ia engines by replacing the units free of charge without creating "difficulties"
.[5] The strategy was intended to restore confidence among the company's custome
r base.[5] It would certainly have created a large hole in the income statement
under the "warranty costs" heading, but it may have been too late for customer c
Volvo engine
The troublesome engine was replaced with a Volvo B18 powerplant in the Facel III
, but the damage was done. Production was stopped in 1963 and despite the vision
of it being a "volume" car only 1100 were produced - still enough to make this
Facel's highest production number. Facel lost money on every car they built, the
luxury car side of the company being supported entirely by the other work done
by Facel Metallon, Jean Daninos's obsession being very similar to that of David
Brown of Aston Martin.
The small Facellia met with little success and the losses from this, due to stro
ng competition at the luxury end of the market, killed off the business which cl
osed its doors at the end of October 1964. What was, according to some, the best
small Facel, the Facel 6, which used an Austin-Healey 2.8-litre engine, came to
o late to save the company with fewer than 30 having been produced when the fina
ncial guarantors withdrew their support.
Prominent owners of Facel Vegas (mainly of Facel IIs) included Pablo Picasso, Av
a Gardner, Christian Dior, Herb Alpert, Joan Collins, Ringo Starr, Max Factor Jr
, Joan Fontaine, Stirling Moss, Tony Curtis, several Saudi princes, Dean Martin,
Fred Astaire, Danny Kaye, Louis Malle, The President of Mexico, Franois Truffaut
, Robert Wagner, Anthony Quinn, Hassan II, King of Morocco, Debbie Reynolds, the
Shah of Persia, Frank Sinatra, Maurice Trintignant, Brian Rix and French Embass
ies around the world.[6][7][8] Race-car driver Stirling Moss would drive his HK5
00 from event to event rather than fly.
The French writer Albert Camus died in a Facel Vega FV3B driven by his publisher
, Michel Gallimard.[9] At the time of his death, Camus had planned to travel by
train, with his wife and children, but at the last minute accepted his publisher
's proposal to travel with him.[10]

In the 1989 film "Dealers", Paul McGann, as Daniel Pascoe, drove a Facel ll.
A Facel Vega HK500 appears in computer-animated form in the film Ratatouille (Pi
xar, 2007), driven by one of the main characters.
A Facel Vega Facellia appeared in the music video for Caravan Palace's Dramophon
A 1958 Facel Vega HK500 appeared in the 1961 Movie Goodbye Again starring Ingrid
Bergman, Yves Montand and Anthony Perkins.[12]
Vega FV
Facel Vega FVS
Facel Vega HK500
Facel Vega II
Facel Vega Excellence
Facel Vega Facellia
Facel III
Facel 6
^ Jump up to: a b c d e L'Histoire Facel-Vega accessed 25 August 2015
^ Jump up to: a b Sedgwick, Michael. "The Facel Vega 1954 - 1964".
Jump up ^ "New Car Prices and Used Car Book Values". NADAguides. Retrieved 201605-15.
Jump up ^ Bjrklund, Bengt, ed. (March 1962). "Frn skilda fronter" [From different
fronts]. Illustrerad Motor Sport (in Swedish). No. 3. Lerum, Sweden. p. 28.
^ Jump up to: a b "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures franaises 1962 (salon Paris
oct 1961). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 19: Page 34. 1200.
Jump up ^ Herv Alphand, the French Ambassador to the United States, used theirs,
an Excellence, from 1956 to 1965. It was sold @ Bonhams in Philadelphia 8 Oct 20
12 for $159,000.
Jump up ^ "Top Gear Facel Vega HK500". YouTube. 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2016-05-15
Jump up ^ Tegler, Eric (March 1, 2007). "1959 Facel Vega HK500: For the Few Who
Own the Finest". Autoweek.
Jump up ^ de Gaudemar, Antoine (1994-04-16), This one's had a good start born in
the middle of a move, Guardian, retrieved 2008-12-21
Jump up ^ "KIAD MA in Fine Art: a student run seminar". Raimes.com. Archived fro
m the original on May 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
Jump up ^ "Caravan Palace - Dramophone". YouTube. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2016-0515.
Jump up ^ ""Goodbye Again, 1961": cars, bikes, trucks and other vehicles". IMCDb
.org. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Facel S.A..
The Facel Vga Home Page
Facel Vega Club Germany + Spare Parts!
Motorbase profile
Facel Vega article on Allpar
Retro Website about Facel Vega
Categories: Defunct motor vehicle manufacturers of FranceManufacturing companies
based in Paris
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