More Facel Vegas needed !
Hi Chris. I am not fond on Facel Vegas, but I reckon I was surprised when I saw this big one, road legal, in France in 2011. With Lincoln Continental doors too. Perhaps you know which one got it first.
Hard to explain my irrational love for Facel Vegas, maybe as an Englishman who always liked American cars and French style, they tick the right boxes even if the end result is a bit flash, a bit over the top and not the best engineering.
To most, the HK500 is probably the definitive FV and of course the later smaller Facellia is known for it's engine troubles which are usually blamed for the company going bust under the cost of warranty claims.
The Excellence Mario spotted above was one of 156 built and probably not their best effort. Ridiculously expensive it reputedly suffered from chassis flex such that the pillarless design often resulted in the doors not agreeing to close and meet in the middle. For what it is worth though, the prototype was first shown at the Paris Salon in 1956 although production did not begin until '58 while the more succesful Lincoln Continental with the same door design was made between 1961 and '69, so yes, Jean Daninos got there first, and it may well have been an influence on the design of the Lincoln.
The latter was obviously much more common, if that is a term that can be applied to either of these luxo-barges, with over 300,000 built in both sedan and convertible form. Also, as far as I know, the Lincoln did not suffer the same door problems as the FV, although I guess today, a 50 year-old with some wear and corrosion in the structure could by now have alignment problems. The engineering of the Lincoln, (and of course Ford would have had access to far more experience and better r&d facilities) proved such a design could be made to work, and these cars are probably among the most under-rated future classics of post-war American production cars.
While I admire the Facels, even I would probably think twice about restoring an Excellence, but the Lincoln I would go for immediately.
Meanwhile, here is me and a '66 in my mid-eighties Sonny Crockett gear! Sorry about the suit, but a great car.
Two HK500, of which 489 were produced, are looking for new owners. They were for sale at Maastricht and then at Antwerp shows.