Rare Rides: A 1957 Facel Vega Typhoon, for Luxurious People

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 1957 facel vega typhoon for luxurious people

As I was perusing the eBay listing for the Dual Ghia we previously featured in this series, another blue two-door classic appeared as a recommended listing at the bottom of the page. It’s from the same seller as the Ghia, and is remarkably similar in concept, execution, and customer.

Presenting the Facel Vega Typhoon, from 1957.

Facel started out in the steel business back in 1939, making pressed steel aircraft components and various pieces of steel furniture. Facel was created as a division of larger parent company Bronzavia, whose main business was producing military aircraft. The company’s first venture into the automotive realm occurred in 1945, as companies like Simca, Panhard, Delahaye, and Ford contracted with Facel to produce limited-run coupe bodies.

The end of World War II, combined with technological developments in car production lead to lower demand for Facel’s two main skillsets: aircraft parts and coachbuilt cars. Facel decided it was time to enter the luxury car game and make cars of their own. A luxury car division was started in 1948, as the company continued to develop some bodies for other manufacturers. Notably Facel produced the body for the French market Ford Comète, which it would later develop into the Vega we see here.

The all-new Vega model made its public debut in 1954. Originally using 4.5-liter DeSoto Hemi engines, 1956 saw a replacement 5.4-liter Chrysler engine under the long hood. At the time France imposed a car tax according to horsepower figures, which ensured 77% of all Vegas would be exported to other countries. All Vegas were two-door pillar-less models, in either convertible or hardtop format.

Much like the Dual Ghia, the Vega was aimed squarely at the luxury customer, with a Connolly leather interior trimmed with a high level of workmanship. The aircraft-inspired dashboard also featured a padded center console, and was one of the first vehicles to implement such a feature over the transmission tunnel.

Continual improvement and evolution of the Vega occurred each year, bringing us this FV4 Typhoon model. As the model was developed, generational numbers were added after its model abbreviation “FV.” The Typhoon script on the lower fender is in reference to Chrysler’s 5.8-liter Typhoon V8 under the hood. Today’s example is a bit of a crossover – a 1957 chassis, and an engine not available until 1958. The seller notes it was not registered until the 1958 calendar year. Such was the way with small manufacturers in the 1950s.

Continual improvement of the Vega ended when the Vega II debuted for 1962. By that time the company branched out into other models of two- and four-door guise. However, subsequent models utilized a more mass-market approach to manufacturing, and quality concerns quickly arose. Funding faltered, production slowed, and Facel was defunct by 1964. Parent company Bronzavia is alive and well today, and still produces high-tech airplane equipment.

Today’s 1957/58 Vega Typhoon has been the subject of an extensive frame-off restoration over a seven-year period. The seller indicates only 37 of this particular combination Vega were produced, which sounds accurate given the nature of the company. It’s yours for a hair under $300,000.

[Images via seller]

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  • Null Set Null Set on Apr 17, 2018

    Just to be accurate, Sartre did not die in a car crash. He died in a hospital. It was Camus who died in a car crash.

    • Snakebit Snakebit on Apr 19, 2018

      In the Facel Vega article in Automobile Quarterly 14-3, the late author Michael Sedgewick mentioned that it was Camus, as well, who actually died in his Facel Vega.

  • Varinki Varinki on Apr 18, 2018

    I want it.

  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.
  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.