383ci Chrysler 'Wedge' OHV V8 Engine
Single Carter AFB Carburetor
355bhp at 4,800rpm
3-Speed TorqueFlite Automatic Transmission
Front Independent Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Dunlop Disc Brakes
*One of fewer than 185 Facel II's produced
*Delivered new to France
*The 7th Facel II built
*The Burgundy Grand Cru of post-WWII tourers
THE FACEL VEGA II
"The HK500 was the most interesting car we ever made but the Facel II was the best. It was totally elegant." – Jean Daninos
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) specialized 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 WWII, 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 on 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-liter 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 examples. Today these rare Franco-American classics are highly sought after.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
According to Facel factory production records kept by the Amicale Facel Holland, chassis number HK2 A106 was built per order of the Dumond for the French market. The Facel carried a production number of '106', indicating that it was only the 7th Facel II produced. It was delivered with a 383 cubic inch Chrysler wedge V8, a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission, and finished in Gris (grey) Metallic over matching Noire (black) leather upholstery.
As standard equipment, the Facel II featured Dunlop disc brakes, a limited slip differential, power steering, a single four-barrel Carter AFB carburetor, power windows, clear glass, and HMV radio with automatic antenna.
It appears the Facel would remain in France for the majority of its life. While the original owner is not recorded, Facel Club records indicate that it was owned by serial Facel enthusiast Dr. Charles Mérieux of Lyon, France, president of his family's medical sciences company, Institut Mérieux. In 1988, A106 was acquired by fellow Lyonnais, Mr. Philippe Apostolou. It appears that Mr. Apostolou would keep the Facel for nearly a score of years before selling it in 2007. The current owner acquired the car a year later. Refinished in the metallic green it wears today, the interior appears to be largely original. On static display since joining the present collection, after 14 years off the road, recommissioning is recommended before active use.