Retromobile, the famous Parisian classic car show, is coming up on February 4-8, 2015 and – amazingly, perhaps – there are five Facel Vegas consigned in two auctions in the first couple of days. Even more amazingly, three of these are rare Excellences which aren’t often seen at auction. Descriptions of all five cars follow this introduction, in most cases, those of the auction house with maybe comments from me.
One of the Excellences belonged to the American actress Ava Gardner – she had three Facels in her lifetime – and the early FV3B belonged to French F1 driver Maurice Trintignant, so there’s some pretty good provenance there. I have to point out that all five of the cars on offer at the Bonhams and Artcurial auctions are left hand drive.
One slight complication is that there were three different types of Excellence. The first ten, plus the prototype, had EX chassis numbers and 6.4 litre engines. This is the ‘1ere Serie’ referred to by Bonhams for the Ava Gardner car. The second, larger batch, had chassis numbers EX1 and 5.9 and 6.3 litre Chrysler engines. These include the other two cars up for auction. And the final batch of eight cars were the EX2 chassis numbered cars, mainly distinguished by different bodywork and windscreens. None are offered at Retromobile.
The first of the auctions is that of Bonhams on February 5 starting at 14.00hrs in the Grande Palais, while the Artcurial auction is in Hall 2 1 on February 6. The Baillon collection cars start at 14.00hrs and the rest of the auction begins at 17.00 hrs.
If you’re going to Retromobile itself, you might like to visit the Amicale Facel Vega stand, where a Facel 11 – belonging to club vice-president Michel Revoy – will be exhibited, as well as the original wooden bodywork buck which has been loaned by a museum in Brussels.
So there’s a lot going on at Retromobile. I will not be going myself, but check back here for further information, and of course, more content as I complete it.