<b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z

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Lot 57
1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1
US$ 200,000 - 250,000
£ 150,000 - 190,000

Lot Details
<b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z <b>1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1</b><br />Chassis no. B104Z
1961 Facel Vega Excellence EX1
Chassis no. B104Z

5,913cc OHV Chrysler 'Wedge' V8 Engine
Single Carter Carburetor
360bhp at 5,200rpm
3-Speed Chrysler TorqueFlite Automatic
Independent Coil Spring Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Servo-Assisted Drum Brakes

*One of only 154 Excellences built
*Fresh, months old restoration
*In the present ownership since 1971
*Equipped with a sunroof from new—one of only 3 believed to have been built


THE FACEL VEGA EXCELLENCE

Founded in 1939 by Jean Daninos, Facel, an acronym standing for FACEL 'Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure-et-Loir' (in English: forge and construction workshop of the department of Eure-et-Loir), was a metal stamping company that built bodies for the likes of Panhard, Simca, and the aforementioned Delahaye. It was in 1954 the company decided to go into production of complete cars, with its first swing at the market coming in the form of a sleek and sporting coupe, designed by Daninos, and powered by a reliable Chrysler Hemi V8.

Open and airy in design, the pillar-less FV, and later HK500, was swift and luxurious—a unique alternative to a Bentley Continental or Maserati 3500. They were quickly snapped up by wealthy industrialists and glitterati alike, proving the company's slogan: "The Few Who Own the Finest". Improving on the concept, it was determined in short order that Facel's market could be expanded by adding a couple more doors. Only two years after the introduction of the first Facel Vega coupe, the Excellence sedan was unveiled.

Clocking in at just under 17.5 feet long, with 125 inches spanning between the wheels, and tipping the scales at 4,200 pounds the Excellence was made to American proportions—a Hermès suit in size 50, extra-long. Featuring elegant slab-sided styling with pillarless suicide doors (beating the Lincoln Continental to the punch by a full 5 years), a wrap-around windscreen and subtle fines held sway in the front and rear, respectively.

Inside, driver and passengers alike were coddled by soft and sumptuous leather seats, chrome fixtures, and the classic Facel Vega dashboard that featured an aircraft-like complement of gauges set in a dash of hand painted wood grain. In the back seats, the wood grain theme continued on the backs of the seats, along with a vanity and a second radio head unit. Power windows where, of course, standard.

Production began in May of 1958. Under the hood in the first edition of EX cars was Chrysler's 392ci Hemi V8, but this engine was virtually out of production by the time Facel released the Excellence, so only seven were built as equipped. The next iteration, the EX1 released in October of 1958, featured the 361ci, 360hp "Wedge" V8. Offered with either a TorqueFlite automatic or Pont-à-Mousson manual, the Excellence could reach 140mph with either transmission. From 1959 on, optional disc brakes hauled the big car to a stop. July 1961 saw the introduction of the final version of the Excellence, the EX2, which dropped the wrap around windscreen, smoothed out the tail fins, added turn-down door handles with improved latches, chassis improvements derived from the HK500 and Facel II mitigated earlier chassis flex problems, and featured the big 383ci, 390hp V8 under the front lid.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The offered example is a from the latter half of production of the EX1. The current owner acquired this Excellence in 1971 from Walter Wolfson's Pennington Enterprises in Edison, New Jersey. A copy of the Pennington Enterprises New Jersey title indicates that the car had been acquired by them in July of 1970, before which the history of the car is unknown. Equipped from new with a sunroof—and understood to be one of only three Excellences so equipped—it also carries a MPH speedometer which seems to indicate that it was also one of the few Excellences delivered new to the United States (although this cannot be confirmed at the time of cataloging).

One of 17 Facel Vegas the current owner has had in his collection, it has been garage kept since his purchase. In the fall of 2017, a ground-up restoration was begun—a process that was completed just a few months ago. The interior and paint were stripped and all the brightwork was removed. Refinished in an elegant shade of blue, the freshly refinished chrome and stainless steel trim shows beautifully. Inside, a new tan leather interior, fresh wool carpeting throughout and matching headliner shows nicely. Unique details to the model, such as the hand painted faux woodgrain dash and seat backs were duplicated using the techniques employed when they were made originally.

As one of only 137 EX1s built, and 154 Excellence sedans ever made in all three of its iterations, it a rarely seen machine. With its unique, totally pillar-less four-door design, it will stand out no matter where it goes.
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