Facel Vega HistoryIn the mid-1950's the French metal produced Facel, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure et Loire, entered the car manufacturing industry. Created by industrialist Jean Daninos, they had achieved success in building complete body-shells for manufacturers such as Simca and Panhard.
In 1954 Facel introduced the Vega, a luxury Grand Tourer with elegant design and powered by an American power-plant. Most of the vehicles were intended for export due to taxation existing in France. Vehicles were taxed based on the amount of horsepower they produced. A Chrysler/DeSoto V8 engine with various displacements was used to power the Facels.
In 1958 the car received a face-life and re-engineering and was transformed into the HK500. The Vega II followed soon after bringing with it a 383 cubic inch Chrysler V8. During this time, it was regarded as the world's fastest sedan.
The 383 cubic-inch Chrysler V8 power plant was capable of producing 360 horsepower. The Facels could race from zero to sixty in 8 seconds and achieve a top speed of 140 mph. Finned alloy drums were used until 1960 when they were replaced by disc brakes.
The HK-500 carried a price tag of $9,795 meaning only the well-to-do were capable of affording one of these masterpieces. From 1958 through 1961, only 458 HK500's were produced ensuring the vehicles exclusivity in modern times.
Brasseur and Danios were responsible for creating the styling of the vehicles body. The chassis was the result of Lance Macklin of HWM. The interior was elaborate, elegant, and trimmed in wood and leather. The instrument panel was exquisite, inspired by Duesenberg airplane instrument panels.
A smaller edition, the Facellia, was introduced in the early 60's featuring a Facel derived twin-cam engine. The combination, coupled with poor reliability, did not work and Facel went out of business.