Facel Vega Facellia FA Cabriolet 1961
As a contemporary French alternative for the successful Mercedes-Benz SL 190 and popular Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider the Facel Vega Facellia FA is now seen as a rare gem that sits in between, target market-wise. It was almost as luxurious as the Benz, but also nearly as sporty as the Alfa. The Facellia’s reputation among car collectors is steadily improving, especially the first series. Despite being smaller the Facellia FA offers the same fine shapes and details of its larger family members like the Facel Vega FV3 and HK500. And besides being sporty enough for most drivers, it’s also as comfortable as you can expect from a French car. Which makes it a refreshing early 60’s sports car for all kinds of drives.
The Facellia’s Achilles heel has always been the Pont-à-Mousson engine. Today the notorious PaM twin-cam engines are getting the overhaul they never had before, while previously the easier Volvo-swap was used to keep the cars running. This Swedish solution was not just done by private owners but by the factory as well. Volvo-powered Facellias are well-known and accepted, but the twin cam rebuild option is still quite new. With the example we offer for sale the new owner can go both ways, because this burgundy red Facellia is equipped with a 2 litre Volvo B20 unit. This swap is reversible. The original matching numbers 1.6 litre Pont-à-Mousson engine comes as a spare, together with its original gearbox.
For some rebuilding this unique PaM engine to newer specs is worth it, for others it’s easier to stick to the Volvo power and just drive regardless of originality. With dual SU carburetors it provides 118 hp and plenty of low end torque. Especially compared to a B18 it feels more responsive. The B20 is connected to a Volvo gearbox with the common Type J overdrive. Fine French suspension makes the Facellia handle very well and predictable. At any given speed the disc brakes are up to their task. Driving is where the fun starts for most Facellia owners.
The larger Facels were more Grand Tourers. That’s why in his brochures the Californian Facel distributor Peter Satori presented the Facellia as the French twin cam 1960 sports convertible. Among Satori’s customers were the rich and famous. This car, with chassis number FAC 171, was ordered by Satori with a batch of other Facellias. The Facel Facellia Cabriolet stayed in the United States until the Millennium. It was restored to its former glory and got road registered in The Netherlands. Two families took care of it since and they kept it in turn-key condition with some minor flaws, because it was occasionally driven. Epic journeys are awaiting a new owner.
Facel Vega Facellia FA Cabriolet
Chassis number: FA-C171
Ideal driver’s car (older restoration, well maintained)
Colour: Rouge Métallique / Noir (Burgundy metallic, with black leather interior)
Engine: Volvo B20
Gearbox: Volvo 4 speed with electronic overdrive
Spare engine: matching numbers Pont-à-Mousson
Spare gearbox: Original Pont-à-Mousson 4 speed