In 1950, the French Government imposed taxes which wiped out most of a magnificent tradition. Bugatti, Delahaye, Delage and Talbot Lago all disappeared together with the coachbuilders that clothed their chassis with sublime creations.
It was a surprise therefore that Facel Vega appeared in 1954. This was a French company offering very expensive cars, yet Facel’s customer list reads like a who’s who of the period.
Facel Vegas offered Gallic chic with good ol’ Yankee grunt – an understressed Chrysler V8. In fact, Facel was perhaps the first company in the post-war period to combine the best of Europe with the best of America.
The four-door Excellence was a fabulous confection intended as France’s ultimate luxury car, so it is appropriate that this example was first owned by Ava Gardner, once voted the world’s most beautiful woman. Now in the hands of its third owner, it has covered less than 87,000 kms and is in commendable condition in midnight blue with its original red Connolly hide upholstery.