A far cry from its V8-powered big brothers, the 1959 Facel Vega Facellia was a cute little 2-seater sports car, which incidently was also the only Facel Vega model to be ever offered as a convertible. It offered its fans an interesting and fun design and styling lines, a fun and well appointed interior and good if not superb handling, all of it at a decent price.
Now the bad news: the Facel Vega Facellia was a lemon. It was all due to its 1.6 liter, twin-camfour cylinder engine, which had an unfortunate tendency to burn holes in pistons, leading to catastrophic engine failure and nasty, afternoon-ruining oil leaks.
Bu the time Jean Daninos, the car’s designer and his engineers clued in, it was too late: the Facellia’s reputation was in taters, and with it, Facel Vega’s. In order to salvage something – anything – from this oily mess, later Facellias were produced with Volvo and Austin Healey engines, but to no avail.
When it worked, the little engine produced 115 horsepower, propelling the Facel Vega Facellia to a top speed of 114 mph (188 km/h) and giving it a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.2 seconds, an impressive figure for the time.
Paying out of pocket warranty costs put an incredible financial strain on Facel Vega, one which proved to be too much, in the long tun, for the company to absorb, and directly contributed to its demise a few years later.