396ci Chrysler OHV TY6-Series Hemi V8 Engine
Dual 4-Barrel Carter Carburetors
375bhp at 5,200rpm
4-speed Pont-à-Mousson Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc Brakes
*Extremely rare example of the Typhoon model, one of 36 built
*Fitted with the highest performance engine available from the Chrysler 300C
*Ultra-desirable Pont-à-Mousson manual gearbox—one of eight examples so equipped
*A beautifully original machine ready for sympathetic recommissioning or complete restoration
THE FACEL VEGA TYPHOON
The Facel motor company was founded in France and named for the acronym of Forges et Ateliers de Constructions d'Eure-et-Loir. Originally a supplier of limited production automobile bodies for prestigious brands such as Panhard and Delahaye, Facel soon found that the post-war market for bespoke coachwork was dwindling, and hence, developed its own complete motorcar—the Facel Vega. Launched in 1954 and named for the brightest star in the constellation of Lyra, the Vega was indeed a heavenly body adorned with luxury and power and specifically positioned to appeal to "The Few Who Own the Finest." Extravagant aesthetics were Facel's strength, but to add brawn to its brilliance, the company looked westward towards Michigan. Here, Chrysler was producing its 276 cubic inch V-8 powerplant; thus, the match of French styling with American engineering was made.
The hand-built Facel Vega, with its cosmopolitan styling, was soon appreciated as la crème de la crème by Hollywood celebrities, socialites, and automotive personalities alike, boasting a client-list which included Fred Astaire, Pablo Picasso, and Sir Stirling Moss, who preferred to drive his Facel Vega from race-to-race rather than take a plane.
Several generations of the Facel Vega were developed over the next ten years, each one upping the ante on its previous standard of excellence.
The Facel Vega Typhoon—also known as the FV4—was launched in 1958 and produced for just one year. This fourth generation FV was designed by Jean Daninos, Lance Macklin a celebrity from HWM racing, and M. Brasseur. The new Vega exuded class and strength, with its minimalistic styling and masculine stance. It sported several improvements upon its predecessor, including some profile adjustments to the front end with double stacked headlights. Most significantly, the Typhoon featured the extremely high performance 345 cubic inch V8 Hemi engine. The "Firepower" Hemi was Chrysler's first overhead valve V8 motor which was fed by to two four-barrel Carter carburetors and mated with a "Torqueflite" three-speed push button automatic transmission –a commanding combination capable of summoning 325 horsepower, with 425 feet/pounds torque. The new Facel Vega was based upon a 104" wheelbase and marketed as achieving 0-60 in just over 8 seconds with a top speed of 140mph. This was particularly impressive in the 1950's for a car weighing over 4,100 pounds. Despite the French marque's popularity with the well-heeled elite, only thirty-six of these opulent automobiles featuring the FirePower Hemi were crafted, making the few survivors especially collectible.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
With only 36 examples of the FV4 'Typhoon' built, you had to be in the know to have gotten one in the first place. But if it wasn't enough to just have one of the rarest Facel models, and if the FirePower V8 just didn't have enough beans, there were quiet options to take this Grand Routier to the next level. The original owner of this FV4 was clearly not happy just buying off the rack. Production number 312, according to Hans Ruhé's Facel Register, this is the penultimate FV4-specification example built prior to the start of HK500 production later that year. Bound for the United States and ordered through Max Hoffman's dealership, the FV4 went out with a bang with this example getting just about every box ticked. Powered by a rip-snorting 396ci V8 from a Chrysler 300C, the engine was mated to a 4-speed Pont-à-Mousson manual transmission—giving the owner not just an extra cog, but an additional 20bhp over the TorqueFlite equipped models. Additional options included knock-off wheels, tinted glass, and a 2.93:1 rear axle. Finished in Verte Foncé (dark green) over beige leather, the Facel would avoid molestation and modification over the ensuing decades, with only a repaint and interior redye separating it from how it left the factory.
Today the exceedingly original machine is an honestly presented example, ripe for sympathetic refurbishment or total restoration. Where the paintwork has been knocked back on the nose and left front wheel well, rust-free metal has been exposed. Save for tin worm near the left front headlight, the car appears very sound. Inside the original interior has held up well, although it is fraying in places. In the trunk a toolkit hides in a tray at the top of aperture. Assorted spares, as well as a jack, are with the car.
One of only eight FV4s to roll off the line in this top-of-the-line specification, this is among the Holy Grail of Facel Vegas. Representing the savoir faire of a bygone automaker, this gorgeous and rare Facel Vega Typhoon is the perfect companion for luxury touring, and an excellent candidate recommissioning by the new owner.