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Designed to be a grand tourer beyond reproach, the French brand Facel quickly earned a reputation for style, speed, and quality through the ’50s as it wood the European elite. The company’s slogan was, “For the few who own the finest,” and it’s easy to see why Facel cars are still highly prized today.
For restorer Jasper Beukenkamp, Facel cars are a special sort of passion. “The cars used to be purchased by wealthy people,” Beukenkamp says, “artists and even kings. Known owners of Facel Vegas were Ava Gardner, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, and Stirling Moss.”
The car here is a Facel Vega Facel II, first introduced in 1962 as a replacement for the company’s earlier designs. Though it looks quite familiar to Facel models produced before, the Facel II was by many measures the better car—even calling it the “Fastest 4-seater coupé in the world.”
With lots of Chrysler V8 power under its hood, the Facel II is, as Beukenkamp says, still very sought-after but very hard to find; over two years of production, only about 180 Facel IIs were produced before the firm went bankrupt. Production of the expensive grand tourers used to be subsidized by Facel-Metallon’s steel stamping factory and car body production line, but the losses were too great.
Now,12 years after a fire had consumed Beukenkamp’s workshop, he’s helping to restore and bring these French beauties back to life. “Restoring a car is like making a puzzle,” he says, “You know in advance how it will look…and only have to put each piece in the right place.”