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Please note this vehicle is titled 55050.
One of only three FV-1examples sold new to the US, this Facel was delivered in California on July 12, 1955, to a Mr. Milestone. It is almost certain that this was Mr. Lewis Milestone, the Academy Award-winning director best remembered for his films All Quiet on the Western Front, Two Arabian Nights, and Ocean’s Eleven. Mr. Milestone spent much of the 1950s working in Hollywood, bringing his bold style to the silver screen. He also had a new home in Palm Springs and his fabulous new Facel Vega would have been the perfect car for the trips between LA and the desert.
When new, this FV-1was finished in a metallic silver gray with a black roof, and included the options of a radio, twin antennas, and automatic transmission. This last item is noteworthy, as prior to this time all Facel Vegas had featured the four-speed manual Pont-à-Mousson gearbox. This was one of the first three Facels fitted with Chrysler’s two-speed automatic transmission.
It is not known who owned this Facel in the years immediately following Mr. Milestone, but the FV-1is noted to have been in the stewardship of a Mr. B. Rutan by 1990. Several years later, a well-known figure in the collector car community, Mr. Martin Button, acquired the car. Under his ownership, the Facel received a full restoration by Alan Taylor Company of Escondido, California in 1994, after which it appeared at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
During the restoration, the FV-1 assumed its current striking color scheme of white with a black roof, and white leather with black trim and carpeting. The effect is truly stunning and suits the shape quite well. This livery showcases the myriad details of the design, not least of which are the eggcrate grilles, extensive stainless steel bright trim, and exquisitely fashioned pillarless hardtop with overlapping side glass. Distinctive and oh-so-Facel, the authentic and original Robergel wire wheels add a dashing touch.
Inside, the cockpit-like environment is simultaneously simple, clean, open, and elegant, with an abundance of marvelous details such as the deeply dished steering wheel, twin storage compartments, cigar lighters, and console- mounted Jaeger clock.
Following the restoration and show appearance the Facel was also enthusiastically enjoyed in the California Mille rally – a natural fit as its pre-1957 build date makes the car eligible for that and many other prestigious driving events. Its wonderful combination of rarity, comfort, and Detroit power would make this FV-1 an ideal event entrant.
The current owner has enjoyed this car since 2010, driving the Facel in and around Southern California where it resides as part of his considerable collection. Nearly 20 years after the restoration, the presentation of this Facel Vega remains remarkable. In fact, it was impressive enough for the car to garner two Second in Class awards at the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance in 2011 and 2012 against stiff competition, the former in a special all-Facel class, the latter in the very competitive European Post-War class.
All Facel Vegas possess an elegance and sophistication hard to match among post-war luxury touring cars. The earliest of them are even close in spirit to the magnificent Bentley Cresta II by Jean Daninos, and embody the very essence of the legendary French grand touring cars of the 1930s. This ultra-rare FV-1 will have a significant presence in any collection fortunate enough to include it.