Facel Vega, Facel II
The HK500 was the most interesting car we ever made but the Facel II was the best. It was totally elegant.' – Jean Daninos. Sold Thank You.
In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, they were necessarily very expensive – the Facel II was priced in Rolls-Royce territory – and bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. The roll call of owners includes royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers: Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Ringo Starr, Joan Fontaine, and Ava Gardner being counted among the latter. Confirming that there was high-performance substance behind Facel's unquestionable style, they were owned and driven by great motor racing figures such as Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant and Rob Walker.
Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) specialised in the construction of aircraft components and metal furniture. After the war the company engaged in the supply of car bodies to Panhard, Simca and Ford France, before branching out into automobile manufacture in its own right with the launch of the Vega at the 1954 Paris Salon. Government legislation had effectively killed off France's few surviving luxury car manufacturers after WW2, but that did not deter Jean Daninos in his bold attempt to revive what had once been a great French motoring tradition. A luxurious Grande Routière, the Vega took its name from the brightest star in the Lyra constellation and featured supremely elegant coupé bodywork welded to a tubular-steel chassis. There being no suitable French-built power unit, Daninos turned to the USA for the Vega's, that chosen initially being Chrysler's 4.5-litre V8, while there was a choice of push-button automatic or manual transmission.
Launched in 1961, the Facel II was destined to be the last of the V8-engined models, production ceasing in 1964 after an unsuccessful venture into engine manufacture effectively bankrupted the company. Production of the preceding HK500 amounted to only 500-or-so units between 1958 and 1961 and that of the Facel II to a mere 182. Today these rare Franco-American classics are highly sought after. Of the 183 Facel II examples produced only 27 of these were right-hand drive.
One of only 27 built in right-hand drive configuration, chassis number 'HK2A122' was delivered new on 26th March 1962 to International Cars, London. It was finished in Iridescent Blue metallic with Luxan Blue Connolly hide and featured three-speed automatic transmission, power assisted steering, a radio, and Borrani wire wheels. According to the information supplied by Amical Facel, this car was sold to its first owner in March 1962, the powerboat-racing, Ferrari collecting stockbroker, Dick Wilkins.
In February 1963 the Facel was sold to a Mr Marriot, and then to a Mr Cowley in 1966. The car had two further owners in the UK before being exported to Malaysia in 1997. It spent 13 years in the Far East before returning to Europe in 2010, when it was purchased by a German collector. By this time the car was still in completely original and un-restored condition. It was purchased as a restoration project by a well-known British collector of Facel Vega motor cars in February 2013. This car retains its original 6.3-litre Chrysler TY8 Typhoon V8 engine producing 360bhp, making it capable of reaching 150mph.
In September 2015 the Facel was purchased by my Company, which set about totally dismantling the car prior to carrying out a complete restoration to show condition. This lengthy process involved a bare metal re-spray in the original factory colour, while the interior was re-trimmed in new Luxan blue Connolly leather with new dark blue Wilton carpets, new black Wilton carpet in the boot area, and new dark blue Alcantara headlining, correctly stitched. All gauges and the electrical wiring loom have been fully reconditioned, and the car's underside and engine bay fully detailed. The stainless steel bumpers have been fully restored and polished as per factory specification.
The engine, gearbox, and rear axle have been completely overhauled, and the suspension fully rebuilt with new Polybushes. The braking system likewise has been fully rebuilt, and now features 4-pot Coopercraft front callipers. Other noteworthy features include a new custom-built polished stainless steel twin exhaust system; new 205/70 R15 tyres; five new stainless steel wire wheels; full tool kit (restored); oak chocks (in boot); special hub spinner tool; and a leather tool roll with embroidered 'Facel' logo.
Over 3,000 man-hours have been invested and over £200,000 spent to make this gorgeous Facel II one of the best for sale on the open market. Complete with MoT until June 2018, it simply radiates French sophistication and elegance, and would suit any serious collector that likes to stand out from the crowd. SOLD, Thank You.