Saturday 14th September 2019 Goodwood Circuit, Chichester
From the collection of the late Barry Burnett
1963 Facel Vega Facel II Coupé
Registration no. 705 CUT
Chassis no. HK2AB104
* First owned Sir Arthur Frederick Wheeler, Bart
* One of only 182 made
* Rare right-hand drive model
* Acquired by Barry Burnett in 2003
"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 the 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, Facel engaged in the supply of car bodies after WW2 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 coupé 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.
This rare right-hand drive Facel II was first registered on 26th April 1963 to Sir Arthur Frederick Wheeler, Bart. The car retains its original registration mark, '705 CUT', and comes with its original buff logbook listing two further owners after Sir Arthur Wheeler, the last of whom acquired the Facel in 1966. '705 CUT ' was acquired by the late Barry Burnett in March 2003 and will have been serviced for the sale by Edwards Motorsports (near Bristol).
In addition to the aforementioned logbook, the car comes with a V5C registration certificate, sundry bills, some Facel Club newsletters, and various operating instructions.
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.
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