Rare French coupe owned by Beatles’ Ringo Starr headed to auction

1964 Facel Vega Facel II
This 1964 Facel Vega Facel II was bought new by Beatles member Ringo Starr in 1964. It has a 6.7-liter Chrysler V-8 engine and sold for $552,000.

Ringo Starr may have gotten by with a little help from his friends, but he got around with a little help from his cars. One of which is now headed to auction.

Bonhams auction house announced Thursday that it will be selling Starr’s 1964 Facel Vega Facel II at a London auction on Dec. 1. The car is estimated to sell for $485,000 to $566,000.

“As Ringo drove this car, he would have listened on the car radio to the Beatles’ total domination of the pop charts,” said Sholto Gilbertson, a director in the Bonhams collector car department. “The sale of this car represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone who loves cars and the Beatles.”

PHOTOS: Ringo Starr’s Facel II headed to auction


Starr bought a deep burgundy two-door coupe off the stand at a car show in 1964, Bonhams said. He paid the equivalent of $68,000 in today’s dollars and went on to own the right-hand-drive car for four years.

Facel was a short-lived French brand known for its immensely luxurious cars from 1954-1964. Prized for their exclusivity, style and power, the brand was considered on par with the Rolls-Royce cars of the day.

Facel built around 2,900 cars for customers that included the Beatles drummer, Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Ava Gardner and Sterling Moss.

This Facel II is one of only 182 ever made, with only 26 of those sold with the right-hand-drive setup like Starr’s. The four-seat coupe is also one of only two built with a manual transmission and a 6.7-liter Chrysler Typhoon V-8, Bonhams said. The motor is good for around 390 horsepower.


1964 -- the year Starr bought the car -- was a seminal year for the Beatles. It was this year that the quartet first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the U.S., and the group’s popularity was exploding internationally. For nine consecutive weeks, The Beatles held the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100.

Thus, it’s no surprise that the band mates would start enjoying the fruits of their success. In the past year, at least two other classic cars from this era that were formerly owned by Beatles members have sold at auction.

Bonhams sold John Lennon’s 1965 Ferrari 330 GT coupe for $582,000 at a July auction in England. A year ago, a 1964 Aston Martin once owned by Paul McCartney commanded just under $500,000 (before commission) at a London auction held by RM Auctions.

The Bonham’s Dec. 1 sale in London will also feature a collection of rare Ecurie Ecosse race cars, a Scottish team that surprised many by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1956 and 1957.


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