16-17 August 2013

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Lot 139

1958 Facel Vega FVS Series 4 Sport Coupe

  • Chassis no. FV457H41
  • Body no. 0207

Sold for $302,500

325 bhp, 354 cu. in. OHV Hemi V-8, dual Carter four-barrel carburetors, Powerflite pushbutton automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms, coil springs, and telescopic dampers, live rear axle with longitudinal semi-elliptic springs and telescopic dampers, and four-wheel Lockheed-Bendix hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 104.8 in.

  • Restoration completed in 2012
  • Two Texas owners from new
  • Never publicly shown

Viewed with a decade or two of perspective, the change in France’s automotive scenery from the 1930s to the 1950s was breathtaking. The era of Bugatti, Avions Voisin, Delahaye, and Talbot-Lago abruptly evaporated, until, in the early 1950s, any remnants of that power and style were aberrations. The war was not the only culprit; after all, Jaguar had the XK120 ready almost immediately afterwards, and Ferrari offered the 166 Inter a year after that. Even in Germany, Mercedes-Benz’s 300 series was available in 1951 and the 300SL was available a few years later, with BMW’s 507 on its heels. But, while there were holdouts in France, a crippling tax on engines over 15 chevaux (about 2.9 liters) stifled major French manufacturer’s interest in anything other than small-displacement cars. That left the business of building performance cars to small, independent automakers, such as Jean Daninos’ Facel Vega.

With domestic manufacture of large engines quashed, Facel Vega followed a pattern established by the likes of Delaunay-Belleville before the war, sourcing an American eight-cylinder engine, which had the great advantages of quality and high production numbers. Starting in 1954, their engine of choice was from Chrysler.

As with so many small manufacturers, Facel Vega built their cars in short series, with 10 different models over 10 years. The same decade corresponded with a rapidly developing horsepower race in America, and Facel Vega’s Chrysler V-8s increased from a 172-horsepower, 276-cubic inch DeSoto Firedome to a 354-horsepower, 392-cubic inch Hemi V-8 from the Chrysler 300. Of the approximately 357 Series 2 through Series 4 FVS that Facel Vega built, only 36 are thought to have been equipped with this car’s 325-horsepower dual-quad Typhoon Hemi engine.

Facel Vega’s drivetrain was powerful and largely conventional, but the results were not. Under the beautiful skin of an FVS lurks a fascinating combination of muscle car and GT. It is unhappy when asked to ease off the line, instead requesting the driver to put a foot to the floor and enjoy a sub-10-second 0–60 time. Thank the Hemi’s 430 foot-poundsof torque for moving a 4,100-pound car up to speed so fast. At the same time, handling is surprisingly confident and sporty. With a top speed in the neighborhood of 130 mph, it is supremely exciting when driven properly hard, yet it is also relaxed at highway speeds.

The car offered here was sold new in the Dallas, Texas, area and street driven until 1968, when it was disassembled for restoration. It was still apart when purchased by the consignor, who completed it to show quality in 2012. It includes a full six-piece set of factory luggage, correct wire wheels, Connolly leather, and Wilton wool carpets. The windshield, which was once referred to as “maddeningly” irreplaceable, does not display the common Facel Vega cracks, and the exposed exhaust tips at the other end are not damaged.

In 55 years, with two owners, this car has never been shown or sold publicly, and it might never even have left Texas. As a dual-quad Series 4, it is a rare jewel in its own right, but there are unlikely to be any others making their public debut at this point. It’s as close as one can come to buying a new Facel Vega.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more