We use cookies to remember choices you make on functionality and personal features to enhance your experience to our site. By continuing to use our site you consent to the use of cookies. Please refer to our privacy and cookie policies for more information

Skip to main content

The Audrain Concours Auction / 1963 Facel Vega Facel II Chassis no. H2KA186 Engine no. TY8-712-203

Lot 110
1963 Facel Vega Facel II
30 September 2022, 16:00 EDT
Newport, Rhode Island, International Tennis Hall of Fame

Lot to be sold without reserve

US$140,000 - US$180,000

Ask about this lot

1963 Facel Vega Facel II
Chassis no. H2KA186
Engine no. TY8-712-203

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 the United States
*Well optioned from new
*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 A186 was built per order of Max Hoffman for the American market. The Facel carried a production number of '186', indicating that it was the 87th Facel II produced. It was delivered with a 383 cubic inch Chrysler wedge V8, a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission, and finished in Silver Grey over matching Silver Grey 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. Options on this car included wire wheels and air conditioning.

Although the original owner is not known, on file are some copies of old title documents from which we can ascertain that by June 1972 its owner was Rudolph Laho of Bensenville, Illinois. Laho who would sell the car to Gerald and Ethel Maresh of Englewood, Colorado the following month. In 1986, the Facel II passed to Roger Spaulding of Riverside, California in May 1986, who ran the Facel Vega Owner's Club. A few years later Mr. Spaulding sold the car to David Stone of Arcadia, CA. By this point it was clearly in need of restoration, and Mr. Stone commissioned Spaulding to refurbish it for him. A summary of the work completed at this time, together with some invoices an assortment of invoices for parts and some of the work remain on file. Mr. Stone appears to have kept the car through to 2008, selling it to Jose Rodes of Sierra Madre at that point. Domiciled in the United States, for the majority of its existence, the current owner acquired the car in 2013.

Today, its 30-year-old restoration has now aged somewhat, with the common issues of wear to the leading edges of the used extremities such as door and hood edges, but in general its paint presents quite well. The interior leather appears to have been redone at the time of restoration to the light beige color that we see it today, this aspect shows some creasing, but also remains presentable. The carpeting to both the rear seating area and the trunk require replacement.

On static display since joining the present collection, it was recently made to start and run during a recent inspection by Bonhams specialists, but after 14 years off the road, recommissioning is recommended before active use.

Additional information