Press Watch

As you know, I usually take Classic & Sport Car each month, and check out the mentions of Facel Vegas in that magazine. Sometimes there’s very little, other times a little more. It has a curious habit of publishing a magazine called the April edition at the start of March – I’m sure there’s good reason for it – but this lot have arisen in the April edition which is out now. (Now if only they could add some of April’s horse racing results…)

You only have to go three pages in to find a big ad for the Coys auction coming up at Techno Classica on April 9 to find a pic of an FV3B which will be auctioned there. This will be LHD of course, they didn’t make them in RHD.

Appropriately opposite Facel biographer Martin Buckley’s column on Page 33, Brightwells, the auction house, have a success ad with a large pic of the HK500 sold in 2014 for £99k, 935BLX. Hope the new owner’s wife knows that’s how much he paid for it!

Much further in, after the main dealer ads, is a little two page article about a bunch of what are called Euro American hybrids on page 151. Number four is a Facel Vega Facel 11 with a pic of 958XPF, the Intercontinental Cars demonstrator which sold recently. There are 12 lines of complimentary copy followed by what is called an Anorak Fact: that Ringo Starr bought his car directly off the firm’s stand at the 1964 Earls Court Motor Show.

Now our supremely hip historian Richard Stevens has heard this story and has queried it: can you imagine the riot that would have erupted if Ringo Starr had turned up in person to buy his Facel? Mike Harting, sales director of IC, has suggested the same thing and is then dissuaded by the argument above, admitting that probably an agent actually bought it.

Anyway, the Facel is in good company with AC Cobra at number one, Bristol 407 at number six, de Tomaso Pantera at number three, Sunbeam Tiger at number five, Railton at number two, Allard J2 at number seven, Iso Grifo at number nine, TVR Griffith at number eight and Jenson Interceptor at number 10. Gordon Keeble is a glaring absentee –and there are probably others.

Finally on pages 176 and 180, is C&SC’s report of Retromobile including the sale of 1954 Facel Vega prototype. Four pages later are the prices fetched for all six cars sold in Paris by the three different auction houses.

Now I recently published the rather scruffy article about an HK500 to be auctioned by Silverstone Auctions last weekend, March 6; it is below this one. The car didn’t reach its estimate of £45-55k although I have also heard that the owner wanted at least £65k for it. This is a trifle fanciful as it will need a complete restoration which will probably cost £100k. However, the last time I looked at the Silverstone Auction website, I had the impression that it was for sale at £45k.

And finally… the start of the Grand Prix season is a few days away and that means I shall be off to Australian soon. I’m then going on to Perth where my younger son now lives and so does former Facel owner Paul Blank, classic car expert of that parish. He has given me the hint of a really fantastic story surrounding an HK500, resident in Perth which will soon be coming up for auction and I hope to bring you for the full story of that when I’m there. It’s a great story; you’ll find it here.

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