Presented at the 1961 Paris Motor Show, the Facel II or HK2 marked the pinnacle of achievement for Jean Daninos, who had been striving to create a French de luxe range worthy of the great pre-1950 road cars by Delage, Delahaye, Hotchkiss, Salmson and Talbot. Power grew from 203-253bhp on the FV between 1956-58 (a period characterised by the FV's panoramic windscreens), then to 335bhp or 360bhp on the HK 500 of 1959, which could top 140mph - making it the fastest four-seater coupé in the world. FACEL also produced a long-wheelbase, four-door limousine called Excellence which, despite its price, met with some success until 1961.
But in 1959 Jean Daninos created a new, lower and even racier-looking model: the Facel II (or HK2), a large-windowed coupé with rounded windscreen and rear window, and a thin roof barely visible in profile. Derived from the HK 500, this gave supreme expression to Daninos' ideas about performance, style, capacity and general quality. With its Chrysler engine; superb interior lined with the finest available leather; refined dashboard and airy interior, this immediately became a classic embodiment of luxury à la française, without excess or ostentation. Of the 183 Facel II example produced, only 27 of these were right-hand drive.
Chassis number HKII-A122 was delivered new on 26th March 1962 to Intercontinental Cars, London in very rare right-hand drive specification. It was finished in Iridescent Blue and featured an automatic gearbox, radio and Borrani wheels. According to the information supplied by Amicale Facel, this car was sold to its first owner in March 1962, a Mr Dick Wilkins of powerboat racing notoriety. It was sold to a Mr Marriot in February 1963 and to a Mr Cowley in 1966. The car had two further British owners 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 had been left in completely original and unrestored condition and was purchased by the current owner, himself a passionate Facel collector, as a true restoration project in February 2013.
This car boasts its original V8 Chrysler TY8 Typhoon engine, a 6.3 litre producing 325 bhp and capable of 240 kilometres per hour. This was comprehensively rebuilt by John Pearson along with the gearbox, which was rebuilt under the supervisoin of Orchard View Classics. The bodywork was resprayed in its original colour of Iridescent Blue and the interior trimmed in quality beige leather with matching carpets. The history file details invoice and expenditure of the restoration, along with copies of factory build sheets, owner's manual and early servicing records. In total, over £50,000 has been invested in this vehicle and many hundreds of hours have contributed to a beautiful finished car. The only modification Silverstone Auctions would recommend would be power steering, as the car featured power steering when new.
Complete with a fresh MoT until July 2015, this Facel II simply radiates French sophistication and elegance. An unquestionable future concours entrant, this car would suit any collector who likes to stand out from the crowd. Other notable owners of Facel II's include Ringo Starr, Pablo Picasso, Joan Collins, Tony Curtis, Christian Dior, Ava Gardner (bought 3), Princes Grace of Monaco, Frank Sinatra and Sir Stirling Moss. Chassis number A122 represents an unparalleled opportunity to add one more name to that illustrious list.