Mike Stevens | Mar 15, 2012

A nameplate dead for almost fifty years could be reborn at this year's Paris Motor Show, according to reports out of Europe this week.

Embodied in a new low-slung coupe named Vega, the Facel name will reportedly make a comeback in September - with a little explaining to do.

As one of many long-gone and forgotten carmakers, Facel has a colourful and complicated history.

The name reaches back to before the second World War, from a company called Bonzavia, which established the Facel name for its sub-contracting activities in the aviation industry.

The car-making arm was established in 1954 by Jean Daninos, brother of French humourist Pierre Daninos.

While a little awkward to English-speaking eyes and ears, Facel is in fact an acronym that translates to "forging and construction company of the department of Eure-et-Loir." (Eure-et-Loir being one of the 'departments' or regions of France.)

Starting life as a coach-builder for Panhard, Delahaye and Simca, the company went into the car-making business on its own after supplying 45,000 bodies for the Simca Comete, including conversions of the Bentley Mark VI.

The 1954 Facel Vega was a successful debut for the company, selling its cars with the slogan, "For the few who own the finest".

The original Vega cars were mostly two-door hardtops with a range of punchy Chrysler Hemi V8s under the bonnet, and these were produced until 1962 before being replaced by another pretty Facel, the simply-titled II.

The carmaker introduced the Facellia in 1960, a sports car similar in size to the very popular Mercedes 190SL.

Much smaller than the Vega, the Facellia sported flush door-handles (much like the handles seen in the 2012 Vega teaser photo) and a French-made 1.6 litre DOHC engine.

The company positioned itself as something of a French Alfa Romeo, but the Facellia's engine was prone to failure and customers soon lost confidence in the marque.

A new CEO attempted a rescue, ordering the engines replaced free-of-charge with a Volvo P1800 unit, but it was too late.

Facel left the car business in 1964 - with a helping push from the French government - after selling just 30 units of the newly-launched Facel 6.

For now, little has been revealed on the new Vega concept, although it has been reported in Europe that a Chrysler V8 lurks beneath what looks to be a long and elegant nose.

If a concept is revealed in Paris this year, we might look forward to a production model appearing in time for the brand's 60th birthday in 2014.

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