Head of Sale
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The Gstaad Sale / 1963 Facel Vega Facel II Coupe Chassis no. HK2B145 Engine no. TY8-718273
Sold for CHF207,000 inc. premium
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Head of Sale
European Sales Manager
International Chairman for Motoring
"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.
Forges et Ateliers de Constructions d'Eure-et-Loire (Facel) was founded in December 1939 as a subsidiary of the military aeronautics company Bronzavia. After WW2 Facel was headed by Jean Daninos, formerly Bronzavia's technical director, who merged the company with Mètallon. Facel engaged in the supply of car bodies to Panhard, Simca, and Ford before diversifying into automobile manufacture in its own right with the launch of the Vega at the 1954 Paris Salon. A luxurious Grande Routière, the Vega featured supremely elegant coupe bodywork welded to a tubular-steel chassis. There being no suitable French-built power unit, Daninos turned to the USA, that chosen being a Chrysler V8, setting the pattern for future models.
Launched in 1961, the Facel II was destined to be the last of the V8-engined models. Road testing one in 1962, Autocar commented: "A striking amalgamation of French, American and British components, the big Facel has a wonderful way of covering the miles extremely fast without mechanical fuss." Following an unsuccessful venture into engine manufacture that effectively bankrupted the company, production ceased in 1964 after a mere 182 Facel IIs had been built. Today these rare Franco-American GTs are among the most highly sought after of post-war classics.
Documentation on file reveals that Amicale Facel Holland (AFH) purchased this automobile from the first owner (a Mr Perez-Soto) in 2007. Their account of its history is as follows: "According to the history file the first owner bought the car directly from the factory in Paris. Being a diplomat in Spain he drove the Facel to his home in Madrid. As his work location changed to the United States he had the car shipped to New York. At least four times he shipped the Facel with vessel Queen Mary to the factory in Paris for service and repairs. The owner drove the Facel II almost daily until the mid 1990'ies (sic) and the car was serviced at a classic car company in his region. Then he had the automobile displayed in a classic car museum for some years."
According to AFH, this Facel II was still in good and presentable condition when purchased. Nevertheless, it was decided to undertake an extensive restoration, which included stripping the body back to bare metal and repainting in the original Bleu Facel Irisé colour. The engine, gearbox, suspension and steering were overhauled, and the electrical system fully checked and renewed where necessary. Modern air condition was fitted in the original style, while additional options including electric cooling fans, a brake fluid level warning lamp and a hazard warning system were installed also.
The restoration was completed in August 2009 and the Facel had covered only some 1,500 kilometres when it was sold to the current owner in March 2010. Accompanying documentation consists of copies of the following: old Netherlands registration papers, an old US Registration Certificate, the 2010 purchase invoice, and various AFH paperwork. An exciting combination of elegant European style and American V8 power, this beautiful Facel II is a worthy successor to the legendary French Grandes Routières of pre-war days.
Please note that if this vehicle is to be imported into Switzerland, Swiss Customs charges (Duty, Car Tax and VAT) will apply at roughly 12.5% of the Purchase Price. Included in this is the Swiss Duty which is calculated on the weight of the vehicle and shall be CHF 15 per 100 kg. Also included is Swiss Car Tax at 4% and this is calculated on the total Purchase Price (Hammer + Buyers Premium). Swiss VAT will then be applicable on the aggregated amount of the Hammer Price, Buyer's Premium, Swiss Duty and Swiss Car Tax at a rate of 7.7%.
Please note that customs rates to other countries shall vary. This vehicle will not be available for immediate collection after the sale and will only be released on completion of customs clearance. If you have any questions regarding customs clearance, please contact the Bonhams Motorcar Department or our recommended shippers.
This car is offered with an original Netherlands registration document as stated, but please note that the US registration document is a copy.