Post-WWII, France witnessed the decline of luxury car manufacturers like Bugatti, Delahaye, and Talbot-Lago. Rising from this aftermath, Facel Vega emerged in 1954, transitioning from a metal stamping company to producing complete cars. Founded in 1939 by Jean Daninos, the company’s acronym, FACEL, stood for ‘Forges et Ateliers de Construction d’Eure-et-Loir.’ Their debut was a sleek coupe in 1954, designed by Daninos and powered by a reliable Chrysler Hemi V8.
The pillar-less FV and later HK500 offered an open and luxurious design, attracting wealthy patrons and validating their slogan: “The Few Who Own the Finest.” Expanding their market, the Excellence sedan was introduced just two years later, featuring elegant styling, suicide doors, a wrap-around windscreen, and a lavish interior with soft leather seats, chrome fixtures, and a classic Facel Vega dashboard.
Production began in May 1958, initially equipped with Chrysler’s 392ci Hemi V8, later replaced by the 361ci, 360hp “Wedge” V8 in the EX1. By 1961, the EX2 version refined the design, addressing previous issues and showcasing a powerful 383ci, 390hp V8. The Excellence exemplified a distinctive blend of size, luxury, and performance, making it a notable competitor in the automotive landscape of the time.