Journal: Choose a Bespoke, Coachbuilt GT

Choose a Bespoke, Coachbuilt GT

By Petrolicious Productions
May 9, 2013
13 comments

Bespoke 1950s and ’60s GT cars are some of our favorites. The hand-fashioned detail and high-style design typified by cars of this segment are simply beyond comparison with anything made since. How cool would it be to step out with your significant other for a night on the town in a car likely built to order for a politician, captain of industry, or celebrity of half a century ago? Either one of the below are well-suited to the task in a most elegantly over-the-top way.

Coachbuilt in France and among the most exclusive cars of its day is the Facel Vega FV. Simultaneously stately and sporty, it’s powered by a Chrysler Hemi V8 and fitted with an interior of lavishness and workmanship unparalleled even by contemporary Rollers and Bentleys. Pillarless, like all the best coupes are, the FV may not be the most obvious choice as a GT, but that’s exactly what makes it so spectacular.

Our other offering is a Maserati 3500 GT, the gorgeous A6’s replacement and Maser’s first attempt at the gran turismo market it later fully embraced. Powered by a twincam 3.5 liter straight six with Lucas injection, it made a healthy 240 HP and emitted one of the all-time great exhaust notes. Hand-built by Touring using the Superleggera technique, it’s bursting with delightful quirks and fascinating features we love about expensive old cars.

There’s no wrong choice between the two, both are superb examples of everything that was right about high-end car design and engineering in a very golden age. That said, if you had to make a choice, what would it be?

1956 Facel Vega FV2B                

Click here for the Facel details.        

1962 Maserati 3500 GT Touring

Click here for the Maserati details.

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Jarod A
Jarod A
9 years ago

Definitely Maserati, the 3500 GT is my absolute favourite car. A piece of excellence.

Louis Devineau
Louis Devineau
9 years ago

Tough one. The Maserati is by far the prettiest , but it’s also a more obvious choice. If the Facel Vega was the HK500 and not the FV, I’d go for the Facel, but between these two I’d have the Maserati.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
9 years ago

Although I’m a big fan of French coachbuilt cars, I tend to like the older ones more. Don’t get me wrong, the FV is one beautiful car and while I’d prefer the later HK500 with stacked headlights (I know the lower ones are aux), this earlier model is still very good looking. Also, you’ve just got to love the sound and torque of a Chrysler Hemi.

However, Maserati is one of my absolute favoritete brands and the 50’s-60’s coupes are my favoritete type of Maserati and Touring is one of my favoritete coachbuilders and I absolutely love the sound of a straight six. Pair that with a little sportier pretensions and the choice is obvious. I’d have to go for the Maserati.

Jan Christian
Jan Christian
9 years ago
Andre C  Hulstaert
Andre C Hulstaert
9 years ago

Although not the same “kettle of fish” I would prefer the Facel hands down. I do not particularly like the rear-end styling of the Maserati. And the Facel had a Chrysler V8 which detracts from its thoroughbred status but add to the reliability. Brute reliable force against refinement in the Maserati.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
9 years ago

It would be the Facel Vega for me the HK500 is a fabulous car in the flesh, and endorsed by Sterling Moss in its day.

I spotted this car at the weekend a HK500 with a ‘Zagato’ body http://twitpic.com/co6wen an amazing creation.

Alan Franklin
Alan Franklin
9 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Wow, that’s certainly distinctive. 575 HP!

Adam Holter
Adam Holter
9 years ago

Vega for me. Why? Because Hemi. Even its not the top-dog 413 or later (and totally different casting) 426 hemi, the 392 hemi is no slouch. 360hp, I believe? That will cover the miles rather effortlessly, I;d say.

Niklaus Gingro
Niklaus Gingro
9 years ago

Maserati hands down. That thing just looks so sharp, from the wire wheels to that sloping rear window, to that big trident up front – it’s a winner for sure.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
9 years ago

Have to agree with WolfTrax that there not the most comparable of cars, but that doesn’t stop it from being a question to be asked. I’d pick the Maserati of the two as it’s the sportier drive. As to Facel Vega’s I prefer that looks of the later Facel III.

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru
9 years ago

I would jump in the Maserati without thinking twice. I mean, i have to apologize but my automotive knowledge has never heard of the Facel Vega and i don’t like the French either. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good looking cars coming from France, but this one can never beat the exclusivity, the styling and the passion of Maserati..

WolfTrax
WolfTrax
9 years ago

Problem is, these two cars are not in same class. Facel Vega is grand tourer, big, heavy, full of steel (dashboard is steel not wood),seats four people, good for cruising on highways and showing off in Cannes and Paris. Maserati is a race bread GT, smaller, lighter and cheaper and for only two people.

In my opinion, Facel Vega should be compared to Mercedes 300S (W186/8), Bentley Continental Type R, Dual Ghia or Cadillacs of the period and Maserati should be compared to BMW 507, Jaguar E Type, Mercedes 300SL Roadster…

Alan Franklin
Alan Franklin
9 years ago
Reply to  WolfTrax

While we agree they’re not exactly the same class of car, we chose these two on the basis of them both being high-style, coachbuilt, luxurious, European GT cars of a similar period and exclusivity. The fact they’re closely priced was another factor.