John, Paul, George and Ringo, the four men that made up The Beatles, lived in an interesting time when it came to the cars on offer. Power was cheap and fuel was cheaper, while the designs were some of the finest in automotive history. With fame and money, they could have nearly any car the 1960s auto industry could come up with, up to and including what you see above – a 1964 Facel Vega Facel II. This particular example was owned by Ringo Starr, and will be going up for auction at Bonhams in London, on Sunday, December 1.

The Vega Facel II, was the rock-and-roll era's equivalent of a Bentley Continental GT Speed - a brutally powerful, but supremely comfortable four-place coupe that didn't skimp on style. Power came from a thumping 6.3-liter Chrysler Typhoon V8 that turned out up to 390 horsepower and could scoot the Facel II to a reported top speed of 150 miles per hour.

Suitable for a member of a band that was "more popular than Jesus," Ringo's Vega was special. It's one of only two Facel II examples built with a 6.7-liter V8 in place of the standard 6.3-liter mill, which means it should be quicker than the numbers indicated above. It was also one of only 26 right-hand-drive Facel II coupes to be produced, making this a very unique example of an exceedingly rare car.

It is expected to sell for anywhere from 300,000 to 350,000 pounds ($484,770 to $565,565, at today's rates). Take a look below for the full press release from Bonhams, and then jump up top for a few pictures of Ringo and his FV.
Show full PR text
3rd October 2013

RINGO STARR'S FRENCH WHEELS FOR SALE AT BONHAMS

BEATLE DRUMMER'S FACEL VEGA BOUGHT AT THE 1964 EARLS COURT MOTOR SHOW AS THE GROUP DOMINATED THE CHARTS

Ringo Starr, (born Richard Starkey in 1940) the Beatles drummer, once owned this 1964 Facel Vega Facel II – 'the world's fastest four-seater' - which is estimated to sell for £300,000 - £350,000 at Bonhams sale on Sunday 1st December in New Bond Street, London.

Powered by a 390bhp Chrysler Typhoon engine and with elegant bodywork by Jean Daninos it combined muscle and traditional looks with a whopping price tag of £5,570, a huge price for a car at the time. The car was delivered to Ringo's home in Weybridge, Surrey. This glamorous grand tourer was perfect for long motorway runs with its huge V8 engine making light work of it. The car's current owner has it ensured for £500,000.

Ringo owned the car for a total of four years after buying it directly from the stand at Earls Court Motor Show in 1964. Credited with singing lead vocals on 'With a little help from my friends' and 'Yellow Submarine', he was co-writer of 'Don't Pass Me By' and Octopus's Garden'. When the Beatles formed in 1960 he was a member of another group, joining the Beatles in 1962 replacing Pete Best. Within two years he was shopping at Earls Court for this superb French car, one of only two such cars produced.

Ringo must have felt that he more than deserved a special car. The Beatles songs practically dominated the airwaves in the 1960's. This was especially true in 1964 when, for nine consecutive weeks the group held the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 with various singles and during that period the top five singles on the Billboard Hot 100 were all Beatles singles: 'Can't Buy Me Love' 'Twist and Shout' 'She Loves You' and 'I Want to Hold You Hand' dominated the airwaves.

Ringo Starr's car. Chassis HK2 B160, a Right Hand Drive Facel Vega Facel II, bought new by Ringo, was one of only two such cars with the larger 6.7 Litre engine and manual gearbox and the very last of only 26 RHD Facel II's produced

In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, they were necessarily very expensive – the Facel II was priced in Rolls-Royce territory – and bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. The roll call of owners includes royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers: Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Ringo Starr, Joan Fontaine and Ava Gardner being counted among the latter. Confirming that there was high-performance substance behind Facel's unquestionable style, they were owned and driven by great motor racing figures such as Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant and Rob Walker.

Launched in 1961, the Facel II was destined to be the last of the V8-engined models, production ceasing in 1964 after an unsuccessful venture into engine manufacture effectively bankrupted the company. Production of the preceding HK500 amounted to only 500-or-so units between 1958 and 1961 and that of the Facel II to a mere 182 (26 RHD). Today these rare Franco-American classics are highly sought after

Sholto Gilbertson, a director in Bonhams Collectors Car department, comments: "This car has to be one of the rarest and most collectable modern classic cars given its almost unique engineering and its place as part of pop music history. As Ringo drove this car he would have listened on the car radio to the Beatles total domination of the pop charts. The sale of this car represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone who loves cars and the Beatles."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      The classics were gorgeous with their almost minimal use of plastic with curvy uni-body shells. I know today's plastic dishtubs are cheaper to replace parts and such, but nothing captures my heart quite like the cars of the 1960s.
      56Jalopy
      • 1 Year Ago
      I bet it hits a million +
      artandcolour2010
      • 1 Year Ago
      My favorite Facel Vega model. The styling is still contemporary and clean without being over-the-top. I love them. The dash is woodgrained metal but beautifully done.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        Facel Vega..............oh just "Let it Be" it is such a lame car, "Imagine" pulling up to a girl and telling her "I want to hold your hand".
          56Jalopy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          If I told you you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me is better.
      Myself
      • 1 Year Ago
      Apparently, Ringo had more car sense than the three other Beatles combined....
      bluestarrlry
      • 1 Year Ago
      that was a very nice looking car for that time , i dont know why they had to throw in more popular than Jesus when John Lennon tryed to explain what he meant after he said it
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great car!
      Ed Baggett
      • 1 Year Ago
      ugh what a awful car !
        gmgpjandon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ed Baggett
        You probably have a lead arse so you wouldn't know the meaning of the word comfort. lol
      vendelavee
      • 1 Year Ago
      What an ugly car!
        cozmcrae
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vendelavee
        No, it's not ugly. Not sure why you think that. In (and for) their time, they were a very, very nice car. I think a Facel-Vega was used in one of Brigitte Bardot's movies.
      blasds78
      • 1 Year Ago
      I must be half-asleep... I swore the headline said something about Ringo Starr's *Fecal* Vega was for sale.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Facel Vega Excellence was the 4-door version and a dead-ringer for the forth-coming 61' Lincoln Continental that Ford totally copied. Right down to the c-pillar design, the suicide doors, and the slab-sides. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Facel_Vega_Excellence_EX2.jpg
      Lichtronamo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dean Martin drove one too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flakacars/2923962120/
      Gene
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like it had wire wheels and knockoffs back in the day.
    • Load More Comments