It must have been a match made in heaven: one of the most beautiful and charismatic movie stars of the ’50s, and one of the decade’s most luxurious cars.
Now actress Ava Gardner’s Facel Vega Excellence is going to auction, meaning you could soon be driving around like Hollywood royalty. Well, if you can afford the £135,000 price tag.
The Excellence will be the star lot at Coys’ Interclassics Maastricht sale in the Netherlands on 11 January, and rightly so: it’s a highly desirable vehicle even without the star connection.
Only 152 examples of Facel Vega’s first four-door saloon were built, making it a rare machine by any standards – but as one of just 10 first-series models built, Ms Gardner’s car was more exclusive still.
Those first 10 vehicles all carried the gargantuan 6.4-litre version of the Chrysler Hemi V8, which pumped out 375bhp and could supposedly propel the Excellence to 140mph.
That power was hardly redundant, though: the Excellence was longer and wider than previous Facel Vegas such as the HK500, with its tubular chassis stretched by 20in from the coupé models that preceded it.