Coys will auction the 1958 Facel Vega previously owned by Ava Gardner during InterClassics Maastricht

In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel Véga produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. At the very pinnacle of these was the Excellence, a glamorous, high-performance and extremely expensive luxury saloon that cost almost 4,000,000 francs, or roughly as much as four Citroën DS saloons. Facel Véga’s only four-door model, the Excellence was based on a lengthened FV coupé chassis and featured striking, low-slung, pillar-less coachwork, the rear ‘suicide’ doors being hinged at the rear. After the first ten cars had been completed with Chrysler’s legendary high-performance 6.4-litre ‘Hemi’ V8 engine, the succeeding versions were equipped with the ‘Wedge’ unit, production of the ‘Hemi’ having ceased. There was a choice of either the Pont-à-Mousson four-speed manual gearbox or Chrysler Torqueflite automatic transmission, and as time progressed the Excellence could be ordered with options such as power-assisted steering, power brakes, air conditioning and electric windows.

The EX1, released in October of 1958, featured the 361ci, 360hp “Wedge” V8. Offered with either a TorqueFlite automatic or Pont-à-Mousson manual, the Excellence could reach 140mph with either transmission. The Excellence was a glamorous, high-performance and extremely expensive luxury saloon that cost almost 4,000,000 francs, or roughly as much as four Citroën DS saloons. Facel Véga’s only four-door model, the Excellence was based on a lengthened FV coupé chassis and featured striking, low-slung, pillar-less coachwork, the rear ‘suicide’ doors being hinged at the rear. The first ten cars were completed with Chrysler’s legendary high-performance 6.4-litre ‘Hemi’ V8 engine.

This ultra-rare ‘1st Series’ was owned by film star Ava Gardner, who took delivery directly from the factory. The last of the ten built, it was delivered in September 1958 when Ava would have been about to start work on the movie, ‘On the Beach’, co-starring with Gregory Peck. Ava Gardner’s ownership is confirmed by the chassis records. Subject to an older restoration, the Excellence shows a wonderful patina and is said to run and drive nicely. A once in a lifetime opportunity to own one of the fastest and certainly most glamourous cars of the 1950s.

Source Coys of Kensigton

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