A Facile Star – The Facel Vega

Cottesloe car 80

I bought a book in the Hudson’s Bay Company store in Calgary, Alberta in 1963 – ” The Observer’s Book Of Automobiles “. I studied it religiously – a little bemused by their descriptions of American cars that I could see on the road at the time, and totally uncomprehending of all the other continental or British makes. I was to learn on emigrating to Australia just how true it all was…

Cottesloe car 78

One car that riveted my attention was the Facel-Vega. I couldn’t believe the 6.6 Litre size of the engine until I realised that it was a Chrysler V-8 – and I suspect it was a hemi at that. The styling was sleekly European and the whole thing seemed ultimately desireable.

Cottesloe car 79

So it has turned out to be, at least for three lucky owners who exhibited at the Cottesloe Civic Centre. They all own 500HK coupés from the late fifties and early sixties. The greenhouse of the cars are a little different from the 1963 illustration in that they use wrap-around windscreens and softer roof lines – reminiscent of some of the GM cars of the time. I wonder if they are using moulded glass from the US? In any event they do have the characteristic stacked headlight arrangement of the later cars.

Cottesloe car 86

There is a center grill and two side grills as intakes and enough chrome on the bumpers to set the look off. No bumper riders, I see. The tail lights are paired vertical insets into the top of the wings – I always wondered if they were a real design thought or just a hurried finish. There is a clever rocker panel finish to diminish the visual depth of the body.

Cottesloe car 83

I do believe I would love to have one, though I doubt I could pay for it. I settled for a Sun Star 1:18th model of one and am looking for a suitable Continental Honey to pose with it. My recollection of the appearance of French actresses of the period is vivid, and I look forward to meeting someone who can act out these small scale fantasies. I am hoping for a blonde…


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