Facel 11 A172 for sale, now restored

You may remember that Facel 11 chassis number A172 came up for sale about two years ago. It was in a pretty poor state but was bought for £141k against an estimate of £135-£165,000. 

Well, now it’s up for sale again, but now restored in its original colour scheme of Dover grey with red interior. And what looks to be an immaculate car now has an estimate of £260-£310,000. It comes up for sale at Historics auction at Ascot racecourse in Surrey on Saturday April 17th, lot 213. And if it doesn’t sell there, it may well appear at an auction in Monaco a week later. 

This is an interesting car. It was shown at the London Motor Show in 1963 in its original colours and with solid disc wheels rather than wires. It is an automatic with the 6.3 litre V8 Chrysler engine. 

As I wrote at the time, Intercontinental Cars – against their better judgement – sold the car on hire purchase to John Bellord, who, with Jim Miller (aka Sydney) ran Honeywood House nursing home near Horsham in Sussex. The intensely religious pair were also hire purchase fraudsters who later went to goal for their part in the Southern Organs HP scam, a tale excellently told by Geoff Green in his on-line book Paying for the Past. 

The car later passed through the hands of the famous racing driver Roy Salvadori into the ownership of one Jon Wilson, a nightclub bouncer who offered the car for sale from his cell in Cardiff prison in 1972. It later passed into the hands of an MoT garage owner from Crawley (not so far from Horsham), who also had a Facel Vega Excellence. He basically stored it for 26 years. Among his sometime employees was a mechanic who is currently in goal for murder. 

At some stage the car was resprayed red and was registered 2900PJ. The Crawley owner, on its sale in 2017,  pointed out that it could be easily restored, particularly as all the parts were in place. 

Bought by a businessman with a restoration company, this car has spent the last two years undergoing a painstaking restoration with 125 hours spent on the paintwork alone, culminating in the stunning example presented at Ascot. It has a 383ci Chrysler engine mated to a TorqueFlite automatic transmission and is finished in, what is thought to be, its original factory colour of grey with red leather trim. Fitted with power steering and rare chromed disc wheels – although pictured on wires – the interior of this handsome Facel is – like all big Facels – an area of beauty, the magnificent (painted) dashboard is akin to a piece of furniture. 

It comes with a UK V5C registration certificate and early duplicate buff logbook coupled to a bill of sale from Angelo Papacosta who was authorised to sell it by Jon Wilson, and accompanying correspondence in October 1972 and an MoT test certificate from the following year.

Also present are copies of the UK Facel sales data, an article written about the car and its owners in 2015 by the Facel Vega Car Club and cuttings from tales of the infamous previous ownership which is a thoroughly interesting read and much of the provenance for this excellent car.

Jean Daninos was once quoted as saying “The HK500 was the most interesting car we ever made but the Facel II was the best. It was totally elegant.” This Facel Vega II offers excellent value given the rarity and to this day is seen as one of the most iconic pieces of automotive design.

It is one of 26 right hand drive Facel Vegas to be imported into the UK by Intercontinental Cars – part of HWM of Walton-on-Thames – between January 1962 and March 1964, the last of which went to Ringo Starr. Of those 26, ten have left the country – including the latter car – six have been restored and another four are being restored. Four have been scrapped; the rest are in unknown condition. 

Lot 213 is estimated at  £260-310,000. 

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