A right hand drive Facel II for sale in Paris.

Facel-Vega was the last French Sports & Luxury car manufacturer in History, celebrated as the challenger of no less than Maserati, Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Successor of the mythical Bentley Continental R for luxury, speed and prestige, the Facel Vega HK2 was the epitome of wealth, elegance and power… Probably the most exclusive and costly Gran Tourismo in the sixties, it was the automobile of the happy few.

With over 250 km/h and a timeless, breathtaking beauty, the Facel II was the automobile of the elite : Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant, the Shah of Iran, the King of Morocco, Prince Saoud of Arabia, Prince Charles of Belgium, the President of Mexico, Joan Collins, Tony Curtis, Anthony Quinn, Ringo Starr, Ava Gardner all drove Facel Vegas.

Comparable to the contemporary Ferrari 500 Superfast, Aston Martin DB5, or Maserati 5000 GT for fascinating beauty, speed and prestige, the HK2 is almost impossible to find in Right-Hand drives.

This example may be the most perfect in the world, after a complete restoration by prestigious Carrosserie Lecoq (Paris).

FACEL_VEGA_HK2_1960_3-4_front

A right hand drive Facel II for sale in Paris. The sales commentary with the car;

The engine is the powerful 6,3 litre Chrysler mated with the lighter Aluminium 3-gear automatic gearbox. This fine automobile is fitted with the indispensable power steering option. Thanks to the enormous torque and power of the engine, driving is easy and relaxed with the automatic gearbox. In spite of the complete restoration, mileage shown on the odometer has been kept at 91.000 miles, a probably correct figure, which is part of the History of the car. Of course, when you admire this automobile, when you open the door, sit inside and start the engine, it looks and sounds new.

The wheels are locked with race-style central hubs & butterfly nuts.
Inside the cockpit, the impressive panel of Jaeger instruments gives an aircraft-like feeling while you cruise at high speed, sitting low and close to the road, which provides an extraordinary pleasure…

Some useful details have been taken care of : for example, an additional electric fuel pump triggered by a hidden switch allows to fill the carburettor before launching the starter – as in a racing car ; this smart feature saves battery power since it is used only when the engine is ready to start.
Otherwise, the car is absolutely authentic and looks like a new one : it brings you back to the glorious sixties when people of taste and wealth could take possession of this ultimate luxury Coupé, the best that money could buy.

This fine automobile has a very interesting history, most of which was spent in England, with the same registration number. First registered on January 1st 1960, it kept the same registration number until it left England. The first owner was Mr Jack Bowthorpe, founder of an electronics Company, Bowthorpe Holdings, now Spirent, quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

A few years after, this HK 2 belonged to a most controversial personnality, a Mr. Anton Von Kassel, who had a much publicised affair with Alexandra (Sasha) Bruce, daughter of a former UK American Ambassador.

One of the famous owners was Brititsh race driver Ron Fry, winner of several important races, with a Ford GT40 and a Ferrari 275 LM.

The car then remained in England until the mid-eighties when it was bought by a French businessman. In the last couple of years, an ambitious and comprehensive restoration program was entrusted to Carrosserie Lecoq, arguably the best specialist for Classic Cars “concours” restoration. Every time Lecoq completely restores a fine automobile to its original glory, a prestigious brass plate – with individual number – is fitted in the engine bay, as a signature of a famous Artist.

A true sculptural master piece, this Facel HK2 is today among the best investments for those looking for a Classic Automobile icon. Its market value is on the rise, based on rarity, prestige and beauty : a Work of Art.

The Story of Facellia Chassi No: FAD 144

In the fifties and sixties the de Havilland aero factory car park would have done credit to any vintage or classic show of today. Among the humdrum were Morris Oxfords, Hillmans and Triumph Heralds, not to mention everything from Fiat to Frazer Nash. .These machines were not however the pampered collectibles they were to become, but our daily transport, then of little financial value but greatly appreciated by their enthusiastic owners.
Into this motley gathering there came one day a jewel, in the shape of a dark blue Facellia owned by one of our more affluent colleagues, Iam Brocklebank. The details escape me but another chum was so inspired that he determined to acquire a similar car, and turned up forthwith in 1967 in the seat of FAD 144. It was alleged to have been owned by one Brian Rix, star of stage screen and trouserless farce at that time. In response to my enquiries he confirmed that he and his wife had both owned Facels, his and hers on personal number plates. The specification fitted and he was confident that FAD 144 was the car that he had owned. I spent some time driving and being driven in both cars, one immaculate and the other tired but happy, and found it to be an agreeable experience.

Time passed and FAD 144 with its second owner left our employ and disappeared – likewise the shiny one, but in a different direction. Around 1972/73, whilst wandering around leafy parts of Hertfordshire, I stumbled upon some derelict farm buildings, the gloom in which failed to conceal the outline of a white Facellia. Further probing revealed my old friend FAD 144 and more investigation turned up a disenchanted farmer who was pining for his unpaid rent and was about to dump the car. (Sounds like the infamous Bouquillon, owner and destroyer of so many Facels – Ed).

In the halcyon days before data protection I was able to trace the whereabouts of the owner to Saudi Arabia, a popular venue for ex-de Havilland employees at that time and renewed our acquaintance by sundry calls and letters. We did a deal whereby I paid the outstanding rent, plus some supplementary beer money, receiving it and I the relevant documents in return. The naïve intention was to preserve the car for eventual restoration and use – this was 1973 but this ambition did not come to fruition until 2010. (Not unusual amongst Facel owners! – Ed)

The car was fundamentally sound and was laid up because the previous owner somehow broke a camshaft bearing carrier. I have the receipt from H.W.M. (the importers for Facel S.A. for the UK) for the replacement part for £6.50, which subsequently broke as well, whereupon he lost interest in the car.

Having had less than ten years use and 38,000 recorded miles, it is by no means worn out, just a bit frayed around the edges, and the subsequent forty years suspended animation awaiting its turn for restoration have done it no harm at all.
(This is most unusual, unless the car was in an oxygen free cocoon; the rust bug is normally hard at work on these occasions, and often results in a heap of brown powder and not much else after such a long time – Ed)

It was to have been a post-retirement project when I retired in 1993, but inevitably succumbed to more pressing tasks until now – a process known as ‘slippage’. At my advanced age I was reluctant to dismantle a complete and original car only to be incapacitated, or drop dead, before completion, with consequent complications or loss of the car. It then occurred to me that, since I derive more pleasure from the restoration than ultimate use of the end product (a conclusion arrived at over many projects) a little self-indulgence was in order. Thus reassured I dismissed the death event as someone else’s problem and decided to proceed regardless. After further thought I compromised with a solution acceptable, hopefully, to anyone interested or posthumously concerned. Rather than stripping the car to a shell and embarking on major bodywork first, a process which created the illusion of imminent completion, but which, in reality, leaves an accumulation of tedious detail still to be resolved, I started the other way round.

As each component is removed I comprehensively restore it and then store it while maintaining a log of work done and relevant information regarding replacement.

This seems to be working well and the storage cupboards are filling with shiny operational components. Over the winter I hope to prepare the shell for bead-blasting so that I can enjoy the bodywork renovation and preliminary painting next season. It is basically sound and is not particularly daunting and, if inclined toward a bout of depression, I can always gloat over the finished parts.
As the foregoing implies I am fairly self-sufficient so only minimal outside special involvement will be required. The intention is to meticulously maintain the originality, warts and all, so no ‘improvements’ or modifications to spoil the authenticity. Having said that, if time allows after completion I will construct a ‘mod-kit’ for the engine, a decent manifold and carburetion for the stores.
The camshaft bearing is still missing but unless I fall over one in my travels, I will make a new one. Everything else is there and restorable. Whilst partially dismantling the car I removed the hardtop and with some trepidation the hood, which has remained unseen for forty years. To my amazement when raise it was as good as new and fitted perfectly. The spare wheel is unused and the road wheels are still shod with the original French Michelin X, which seems to verify the mileage.

Restoring each component reveals excellent detail workmanship, especially stainless steel parts, of a standard which goes some way to justifying the original new price of the car – considered excessive at he time. Each handmade part is inscribed or punch marked with the number 342, perhaps a serial number for the car (the chassis number – Ed).

I write this in the [pious hope, that whatever transpires, the car’s history and whereabouts will be known to the Club or any interested parties such as our reverend historian, executors, bailiffs et al.
Thank you for all you do on our behalf. As a ‘passive’ member the magazine provides us with an insight into the F.V. culture!