We had 2 FV3's in the toolroom I worked in from 1976 to 1984, so I guess they were late 1960s machines. Very versatile, though no swivel table. They had a power take off for a rotary table or dividing head and the handwheel at the front right of the table was a useful location rather than walking to the end of the table. Just above the rapid traverse handle, so don't hook your thumb around it! The vertical head is permanently attached to the machine, but easily swung clear for horizontal work. The double swivel is also very useful. As Tyrone correctly states, these machines were distributed in the UK the people who also dealt with Cazeneuve lathes, all part of the CATO group.They were Rudolph Carne of Isleworth, London.
I tried to get one of the FV3's when my old company were downsizing around 2000, but was told "they have done their best work", meaning they were worn out. Would still like to get a good one now.
Reliable enough machines though parts were very expensive, but aren't they all. Good to operate and accurate.
I am sorry and I appologize for my very bad english speaking and writting.
I am french.
Vernier was a famous french company. Vernier milling machines are well known for their versatility, precision, reliability.
But many people think they are complicated to disassemble and professionnal retrofitter do not like them because they think reshaping needs a lot of time. More than other french brands as Dufour or Huron.
My personnal milling machine is a VERNIER FV3S. Current geometry is very good. Less than 0.005 mm spindle runout, Less than 10 microns on 700 mm stroke and 25 microns on the total table stroke (1000 mm)
When I bought it, I hesitate between FV3 S and FV380.
FV380 is the biggest Vernier. Weight is about 4 tons. Only 2.7 tons for the FV3S.
So 380 can be difficult to move.
FV3 S is a very common machine here. And all over the world. FV380 is very rare.
Cazeneuve (15 km from my workshop) as bought Vernier company. But now they discontinue to sell spare parts for the old Vernier milling machines.
So,despite very good qualities, buying a FV380 consists in an important taken risk. If a part is broken you probably will have no other solution than making yourself a new one. With a 3 S, you can find a lot of second hand spare parts.
FV3, FV300, are a little bit smaller machines than the S model.
FV250 and FV270 are smaller machines than the 3 and 300 series.
FV250 is considered as a good school machine.
FV3 S is one of the best toolroom french machines.
FV 380 is more considered as a good roughing machine able to obtain precision. But in France Huron is considered as the king of this category. Even here FV380 are not famous despite certain qualities.
My advice : if you have no big roughing jobs, il you don't need very important strokes, you have better to not buy a 380. If you need precision and versatility, do not hesitate to buy a FV3 S.
If you need an intensive production machine do not buy a Vernier FV. These machines were not designed for massive production. In this case, a Huron will be more suitable.
But be carreful : Vernier are often in good condition, Huron are often completely worn...