1963 Facel Vega Facel II
- Year of manufacture1963
- Mileage49 988 mi / 80 448 km
- Car typeOther
- Lot number213
- Exterior colourOther
"Built by one of France’s most famous manufacturers of high-speed grand tourers, the Facel II continued the marque’s tradition of American performance coupled with French styling. Powered by a 355bhp, Chrysler V8, the four-seater Facel II could sprint from 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds and achieve a top speed of 134mph while carrying its passengers in total luxury. This intoxicating experience made the Facel II one of the most desirable cars of early 1960s society. Approximately 180 of the Vega II were manufactured between 1962 and 1964. In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced around 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand-built, they were, of course, necessarily very expensive, the Vega II was priced in Rolls-Royce territory and were bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. 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 Motor Show. Government legislation had effectively killed off France's few surviving luxury car manufacturers after the Second World War 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 featured supremely elegant coupé bodywork welded to a tubular-steel chassis. The roll call of esteemed owners includes royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers such as: Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner and Ringo Starr as well as great motor racing figures such as Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant and Rob Walker.
Originally registered on 16th April 1963, this car was on the Facel stand for the London Motor Show and an interesting, yet slightly chequered history, accompanies this Vega. We do know this vehicle was for sale in Roy Salvadori’s showroom on the A3 and appears to have been sold and financed by Southern Organs who were part of a relatively large Hire Purchase scam. In 1972, the car was owned by a Jon Wilson who was detained in H.M. Prison in Cardiff. A letter in the file, written by Mr. Wilson authorises a Mr. Angelo Papacosta to sell the car on his behalf. Little is known of the cars whereabouts after then, however we are aware the car spent some 25 years in a barn where she was recovered from in 2017.
This Facel Vega II is one of only 26 right hand drive examples manufactured. In need of total restoration in 2017 it has spent the last two years undergoing a painstaking restoration with 125 hours spent on the paintwork alone, culminating in the stunning example presented today. It has a 383ci Chrysler engine mated to a TorqueFlite automatic transmission and is finished in, what is thought to be, its original factory colour of grey with red leather trim. Fitted with power steering and rare chromed disc wheels, the interior of this handsome Facel is an area of beauty, the magnificent dashboard is akin to a piece of furniture. Supplied with a UK V5C registration certificate and early duplicate buff logbook coupled to a bill of sale from A. Papacosta and accompanying correspondence in October 1972 and an MoT test certificate from the following year.
Also present are copies of the UK Facel sales data, an article written about the car and its owners in 2015 by the Facel Vega Car Club and cuttings from tales of the infamous previous ownership which is a thoroughly interesting read and much of the provenance for this fabulous motorcar.These are very stylish cars and are relatively simple mechanically, Jean Daninos was once quoted as saying The HK500 was the most interesting car we ever made but the Facel II was the best. It was totally elegant. This Facel Vega II offers excellent value given the rarity and to this day is seen as one of the most iconic pieces of automotive design."