Facellia engines

 

Writing about the little cars the other day, I was reminded of a piece of paper given to me by our respected historian, Richard Stevens, when I first bought my Facellia back in the 1980s. He had kindly listed all the Facellias imported plus left hand drive cars and their owners, but particularly, their current engines.

The reason that they didn’t necessarily have the Facellia engine is detailed in my article on the little cars. Most people know the reasons for this but just to explain, the Facellia engine made by Pont-a-Mousson had a propensity to burn pistons, and although this was eventually cured, a lot of people claimed second engines on warranty from the company which in turn brought the Facel company to its knees and eventually its demise.

So there were lots of ‘solutions’ to the problem. Jean Daninos was always having trouble sourcing engines for the little cars; whereas the French government seemed happy for him to buy Chryslers as he wasn’t going to import that many and they also demanded that he exported five dollars for every dollar imported. He did that, but he was turned down when he wanted to import Hillman engines to power the Facellia and instead had to use the Pont-a-Mousson unit. Of course, eventually the French government appreciated the trouble he was in with that twin cam 1646cc engine and allowed him to replace it with the Volvo 1800cc engine to power the Facel 3, but by then, the damage had been done.

Interestingly, however, there were a number of potential solutions to replace the 1646cc unit. For instance, there was an 1800cc version which Pont-a-Mousson employees used in one of their company cars and even a two litre supplied by Salmson. Some of the two litre MM engines are still in existence.

In Britain, Facel importer HMW tried to persuade Daninos to replace the twin cam with Daimler’s V8, as seen in the Dart and 250. That same unit was at one time fitted in my Facellia but when I met the former owner of that car on a flight from Portugal – and what are the chances of that happening? – he said it was dreadful. My car now has a Rover V8 in it.

But looking at the list of cars supplied by Richard Stevens reveals some extraordinary lengths people went to to keep their cars on the road. There were 24 original imports and two more right hand drive cars which eventually came to the UK. Of these 26, two were fitted with Triumph GT6 engines, two with Jaguar 3.8 engines, two more with Rover 3.5 engines and one with a Ford 4.2 V8 so seven cars with non-original engines.

Furthermore, of these 26, eleven – possibly more – have either been scrapped or exported; only a few are still on the road. Of the 15 still in the UK, several more are definitely in a derelict state and possibly beyond reasonable repair.

Ends

 

 

The reason that they didn’t necessarily have the Facellia engine is detailed in my article on the little cars. Most people know the reasons for this but just to explain, the Facellia engine made by Pont-a-Mousson had a propensity to burn pistons, and although this was eventually cured, a lot of people claimed second engines on warranty from the company which in turn brought the Facel company to its knees and eventually its demise.

 

So there were lots of ‘solutions’ to the problem. Jean Daninos was always having trouble sourcing engines for the little cars; whereas the French government seemed happy for him to buy Chryslers as he wasn’t going to import that many and they also demanded that he exported five dollars for every dollar imported. He did that, but he was turned down when he wanted to import Hillman engines to power the Facellia and instead had to use the Pont-a-Mousson unit. Of course, eventually the French government appreciated the trouble he was in with that twin cam 1646cc engine and allowed him to replace it with the Volvo 1800cc engine to power the Facel 3, but by then, the damage had been done.

 

Interestingly, however, there were a number of potential solutions to replace the 1646cc unit. For instance, there was an 1800cc version which Pont-a-Mousson employees used in one of their company cars and even a two litre supplied by Salmson. Some of the two litre MM engines are still in existence.

 

In Britain, Facel importer HMW tried to persuade Daninos to replace the twin cam with Daimler’s V8, as seen in the Dart and 250. That same unit was at one time fitted in my Facellia but when I met the former owner of that car on a flight from Portugal – and what are the chances of that happening? – he said it was dreadful. My car now has a Rover V8 in it.

 

But looking at the list of cars supplied by Richard Stevens reveals some extraordinary lengths people went to to keep their cars on the road. There were 24 original imports and two more right hand drive cars which eventually came to the UK. Of these 26, two were fitted with Triumph GT6 engines, two with Jaguar 3.8 engines, two more with Rover 3.5 engines and one with a Ford 4.2 V8 so seven cars with non-original engines.

 

Furthermore, of these 26, eleven – possibly more – have either been scrapped or exported; only a few are still on the road. Of the 15 still in the UK, several more are definitely in a derelict state and possibly beyond reasonable repair.

 

Ends

 

 

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