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Facel Vega Excellence (1958 - 1964)

Last updated 7 September 2013

Amazing styling, interior room, simple, muscular power
Rust and rot in unrestored examples, a lack of structural rigidity


Facel Vega creator Jean Daninos was keen to extend the range while enhancing the appeal of his cars. With this in mind, the company displayed a prototype four-door car at the Paris Motor Shows of 1956 and 1957, and met a positive response. A production version was developed, and sales began in 1958. Called the Excellence, Daninos expected the car to appeal to heads of state and tycoons worldwide – and with styling that predated the similar looking Lincoln Continental, it was set fair to succeed.

Like the Lincoln Continental, the Excellence was pillarless, and the front doors hinged conventionally at the front while the rear doors were hinged at the rear in a 'clap hands' arrangement. The car was suitably large, and with considerable reinforcement in the middle, it was exceptionally heavy, and therefore ponderous to drive. However, it got worse: when loaded the Excellence would sag in the middle. The result of this was that the doors could not be opened or closed. However, with 355 bhp on tap, the Excellence had a surprising turn of speed, but this was not enough to convince the world's high rollers that this was the limousine to be seen in. The final eight models off the line were restyled and lost their fins and wraparound windscreen.