Vintage Pin Up: Love In The Rain

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Saturday Car Post: The FACEL Vegas

The French-made
Facel Vegas, particularly
the FV, HK 500,
and Facel II —
are rarely seen items at
most American vintage
car shows–

but were some of the most luxurious and stylish
non-domestic cars made in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Ford Comete

Facel started in the automobile
business after World War II
by manufacturing special
order car bodies for
companies like Simca,
Bentley, Panhard, and
Delahaye – although their
first real mainstream
marketing challenge was
with the Ford Comète.

They started building their
own models in 1954, with
the FV and then the HK500.

These were American style
luxury coupes made for the
European market – and were
equipped with Chrysler built
V-8 Hemi engines like the
DeSoto 276 c.i. in 1954 – 1955,
the Chrysler 331 c.i. in 1956,
and a 354 and 383 available
after 1958.

So, despite their size, these
cars made good off the line
speed and handled extremely
well.

Still, a smaller sportier model
to compete with the Mercedes
Benz SL class , especially the
190 SL, was the goal of their
engineering team in 1959 –
and in 1960, they released the
Facellia – available in three
body styles –  a cabriolet,
a 2+2 coupé and a 4-seat
coupé.

Since their intent was to create
a more ‘European’ sports car,
they replaced the Chrysler made
powerplant with a badly designed
Pont-à-Mousson manufactured
4 cylinder 1.6 liter engine.

That turned out to be a serious
mistake for the company, with
the resulting disastrous warranty
repair costs threatening to
bankrupt them-

Facel switched over to
a practically bullet-proof
Volvo-made B-18 straight
four engine – but the damage
to the company’s image was
already done.

Even a last minute model release, in 1964, of
the Facel-6, with an
Austin-Healey made 2.8 liter
engine failed to revive the
company.

Their main claim to fame these
days is the number of famous
celebrities who were Facel Vega owners –

– Frank Sinatra owned a
Facel II, as did Ringo Starr,
Princess Grace, Pablo Picasso,
the Shah of Iran,
and many others.

Ava Gardner
owned three.

The magazine “Motor”
described the Facel II
in it’s heyday the best :

” One can enjoy the latest
refinements of American brute
force with European standards
of control in an environment
of British luxury and
French elegance. ” 

And it’s hard to argue with
any car that matches THAT
description.

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!!! HOY !!!

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The Postcard Art of Achille Mauzan

I have repeatedly
been told in the past
by readers and
collectors alike,
that my tastes in
postcard art run a
bit into the obscure –

and,
that’s probably true.

I’ll admit,
for instance,
that there are certainly
artists a lot of folks
have never heard of –
who nonetheless
consistently created
pieces that really sing
to me.

It could be a matter
of color, shading, lines,
or just a witty sense of
humor or an interesting
perspective that grabs
my initial attention —

(and of course,
a pretty girl with a hint
of stocking never hurts )

but there are relatively
few that can combine
all those elements to
create a lasting impression.

One of those artists
would be Achille Mauzan –
although,
I must add,
his work does have
a very large following internationally.

Born in the scenic town of
Gap in the French Alps
in 1883, and a graduate
of the École des Beaux-Arts
in Lyon, he quickly became
one of the leading lights
of the Art Deco movement
in the first part of the
20th Century.

This style and influence
can clearly be seen in his
best poster and postcard
work .

And of course,
flappers, galore.

Although many remember
his advertising posters for
Italian products, and is
often thought of as an
Italian himself, he actually
divided the time of his
working life between
nationalities —

–working for years in
Milano and Turin,
several more in
the Argentine,
and finally back in
Paris and Lyon.

He is especially adept
at communicating
a simmering sense
of sensuality in some
of his saucier postcards–

and while the pastel
colors in the cards are
generally muted,
dabs of bright hues bring
the point of focus exactly
where he wants it to be.

After producing literally
thousands of beautiful
posters, lithographs,
illustrations and postcards,
he finally retired to his
hometown of Gap,
where he spent all
his remaining
time painting until his
death in 1951.

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!!! HOY !!!

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