Facel Vega EX2 Excellence

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Vega EX2 Excellence





The Excellence was a luxury saloon automobile unveiled by Facel-Vega of Paris, France, at the Paris Auto Show in October 1956 to rave reviews by the motoring press.

Production started in 1958 and lasted until the company ceased production in 1964. The car was based on an elongated chassis from the Facel Vega FV Coupé. It was the only four-door model the company ever made. Production ended after only 156 cars had been built. The low production figure is a direct result of the car's exorbitant purchase price. When new, it cost about as much as four Citroën DS saloons, which themselves were hardly to be considered cheap cars. The towering price could still be boosted by ordering optional equipment, which gradually became available over the car's production run, such as power steering, power brakes, electric windows, wire-spoke wheels, and air conditioning.

While the Paris Show Car of 1956 was fitted with a 331 CID (5.4 Litre) unit, the initial batch of production Excellences was equipped with the monster 392 CID (6.4 Litre) version of the Chrysler Hemi V8, shared, among others, with the Facel Vega HK500, and Chrysler's own Imperial. Facels could either be ordered with the Pont-à-Mousson built four-speed manual, or the Chrysler built Torqueflite three-speed automatic. Contemporary road tests showed, that they performed equally well with either gearbox. Arguably the most powerful Excellences to ever hit the roads, these were genuine 140 mph cars. Allegedly a mere eleven 'EX'-series cars were built, seven of which are known to survive.

The Excellence received its only significant facelift in 1961. It now came with a bigger 383 CID (6.3 Litre) engine, rated at 390 hp, a mindboggling figure back then, especially for a saloon car. However, no significant gain in performance could be noted in contemporary road tests, and the initial Hemi-powered cars remain the fastest Excellences ever built.

The 'EX2' lost its wraparound windshield and the tailfins were severely clipped, which resulted in a considerably less flamboyant appearance. Despite these measures, the Excellence did not gain significantly more modern looks in general. It rather lost some of its previous elegance. But a complete re-styling of the car would have been prohibitively expensive, especially given its low production figures. Of these "EX2" models, only eight were completed, when production finally ceased for good.

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