In spite of the fact that I seem to have been travelling for weeks – actually I have been travelling for weeks – I’ve managed to keep in touch with the World of Facel Vegas and what with one or two private messages and the odd trawl through the internet, I can confidently say that there are around five right hand drive Facels for sale at the moment, four of them different models.
The one drawback is that they are all in need of restoration. These aren’t necessarily barn finds but maybe they were at one time. What all the owners have found is that they can’t restore them themselves. This is no surprise. Restoring a car is not cheap and particularly one that is as rare as a Facel Vega. Finding the spare parts is just one of the problems but you need to find people to work on them who know the cars and therefore are confident in restoring them and know the shortest way of going about things, rather than learning the hard way – at your expense.
So there really is glut of Facels out there, all looking for a benefactor to restore them to their former glory and willing to spend up to £100k to get them there. You have to look at what a restored car fetches to have an idea of what to spend on the basic car before restoration in order to make it worthwhile. And that can change fairly rapidly from season to season.
One man who had the best of Facel prices is Justin Banks, who sold several Facels over the last ten years or so, but he’s just lopped ten grand off each of the two wrecks that he has for sale, one an Excellence, one a Facel 111. Both are rare cars but having restored Facel 11s, he’s decided against these restorations. He will have his reasons and we can only surmise.
I wonder if he will be bidding for the Facel 11 that comes up for sale at Bonhams on December 10 at Hendon. As I mentioned elsewhere on this site, its estimate is pretty sensible. It must be galling for an owner to send a car in for auction at £40k having seen a similar car sell for over £300k, but there are many reasons for this, quite apart from the celebrity former owner of the £300k car. (Banks has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t believe the fact that it was owned by Ringo Starr had anything to do with the price that it fetched, but that’s bollocks. The bloke who bought it also has a former John Lennon car.)
The other two Facels on the market at the moment aren’t really on the market except as restoration projects. They are a pair of HK500s which a well-known Facel restorer has available. He hopes to sell them as cars which he will restore, which surely is an ideal way of going about things. He will know what they can sell for on the market and how much a restored car would fetch, and how much it will cost to do the work, so the price will be realistic. However beware; I was once offered this course of action and I contributed a regular flow of money but no progress was forthcoming. It can happen.
I have also been contacted by an American who has an FV4 for sale on e-bay here http://www.ebay.com/itm/301806264944. Once again, it’s a barn find and amusingly he talks about this being the most expensive car he’s ever offered in the worst condition. I have no idea about the American market (apart from the stupid prices being asked for bits on UK e-bay) but I suppose there are specialist restorers in the USA. There are just so many cars out there looking for restoration. Can they all, ever, find salvation? I hope so.