Star cars go under the hammer at Coys

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Headlined by Ava Gardner's 1958 Facel Vega and Phil Collin's Austin A35

A rare 1958 Facel Vega Excellence supplied new to the legendary Hollywood actress Ava Gardner recently went under the hammer at COYS Interclassics Maastricht Auction in Netherlands. 

The Gardner Facel Vega ‘Excellence’ was the last of the ten Series 1 versions built, with Chysler’s high-performance 6.4-litre V8 Hemi engine and was delivered directly from the factory in September 1958, to Gardner whose ownership is confirmed by the chassis records.

COYS-Facel-Vega-Ava-Gardner.jpg

It was at this time that Gardner flew to Melbourne to start work on the movie, ‘On the Beach’, co-starring with Gregory Peck.

In the late fifties and early sixties the Fasel Vega became the default choice for well-heeled buyers and in addition to Gardner, who owned three, others to slip behind the wheel included Tony Curtis, Pablo Picasso, Christian Dior, Frank Sinatra and Ringo Starr.

In its relatively short life Facel Véga produced approximately 2,900 cars, its pinnacle model being the Excellence; a low-slung pillarless, high-performance and extremely expensive luxury saloon with suicide rear doors that cost almost 4,000,000 francs, or roughly as much as four Citroën DS saloons.

Phil Collins's Austin.JPG

Another car going under the COYS hammer that has had a star studded owner is the diminutive Austin A35 once owned by rock star and Genesis frontman Phil Collins from his early music days.

After schlepping around the UK in the A35, Collins went on to own a string of luxury cars as his fortunes rose over the years. 

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