Spotted this while on a business trip to Barcelona last yearFacel Vega Facel II 02 Facel Vega Facel II 07 Facel Vega Facel II 09
The Facel Vega 'Facel II' was a French Grand Touring car produced between the years 1962 and 1964.
By 1962, the Paris-based Facel Vega company was facing bankruptcy and the Facel II (pronounced '2') was to be the company's last attempt to create a luxury GT car in the French tradition.
The Facel ll was highly exclusive and expensive. Its handsome design led to famous owners, including Pablo Picasso, Lionel Bart, John Bloom, Lord Brabourne, The Chrysler Corporation (and Mrs Carr, Walter Chrysler's daughter), Joan Collins, Tony Curtis, Christian Dior, Stanley Donen, Charlie Drake, Max Factor Jr, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner (who bought three), The Marchioness of Huntly (whose car had full-harness seat-belts), Herbert von Karajan, Danny Kaye, Louis Malle, The President of Mexico, Princess Grace of Monaco, Yves Montand, Hassan ll King of Morocco, Baroness Sally Oppenheim-Barnes, William S. Paley, Prince Poniatowski, Anthony Quinn, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Ringo Starr, The Marchioness of Tavistock, François Truffaut, Robert Wagner, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, The Shah of Persia and Sihanouk King-Father of Cambodia. Race drivers Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant, Tony Vandervell and Rob Walker had Facels.
The Facel ll was powered by an American 6.3L (383 cu.in.) Chrysler 'Typhoon' engine which produced 355 hp (265 kW) in automatic-gearbox form and 390 hp (291 kW) in manual. The Facel company advertised it as Le Coupe 4-places le plus rapide du Monde. Using Chrysler's three-speed Torqueflite automatic gearbox, the 6.3 litre Facel ll could reach over 135 mph (225 km/h). With a French Pont a Mousson 4-speed manual gearbox the full-four-seater 6.3 litre Facel ll could attain over 150 mph (247 km/h) and out-accelerate its two-seater rivals, the Aston Martin DB4, Ferrari 250 GT and Mercedes-Benz 300SL to 60 mph (97 km/h) and all except the Ferrari to 100 mph (160 km/h). Dunlop disc brakes were fitted on all four wheels and power steering, leather seats and electric windows and radio aerial were standard. The later 'manuals' were fitted with the even more powerful 6.7L (413 cu.in.) Chrysler "RB" wedge engine.
Like its predecessor, the Facel Vega HK500, the Facel ll was heavier than its two-seater rivals, weighing 1,880 kilograms (4,100 lb) (37 cwt) 'dry' and almost two tons with four passengers and a full petrol tank. There was some question about its ride and rear suspension - it used suspension virtually unchanged from the previous HK500 - but certainly none about its speed or glamour.
England's 'Autocar' said of it, "To step down into a Facel ll and go motoring must be the ambition of many who can never fulfil it. Such an experience is reserved for the few who can afford to buy one and for their friends and acquaintances". For 'Motor', "There are faster sports cars, although very few, and there are more refined and luxurious saloons, but it is difficult to think of a more remarkable combination of these rather conflicting qualities ..... its unique combination of qualities left the most vivid impression on everyone who drove it. In particular one remembers the smoothness and silence, the effortless gate of a car which does 100 mph (160 km/h) at only 3,650 rpm. and the acceleration which leaves other fast cars far behind on every straight. One can enjoy the latest refinements of American brute force with European standards of control in an environment of British luxury and French elegance".
In 1964 the Facel company went into receivership, largely due to warranty claims against Facel Vega's smaller Facellia its troublesome engine. Facel ll production was discontinued with only 180 Facel lls ever built.
Jean Daninos, its creator and manufacturer, said of the Facel ll, "The HK 500 was the most interesting car we ever made but the Facel ll was by far the best. It was totally "elegant"'.
The Facel ll is now amongst the rarest and most sought-after of all 1960s Grand Tourers
check out my Glasgow collection at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertpool/sets/