Get an Instant Quote

Start My Quote

Ringo Starr's Facel Vega Goes to Auction

Ringo Starr 1964 Facel Vega Facel II at Bonhams

Photo By Bonhams

The classic 1964 Facel Vega Facel II previously owned by Ringo Starr, the drummer for the Beatles, is being auctioned at Bonhams in London on December 1, 2013. The classic car is expected to sell for $565,000.  Ringo purchased the car directly from the stand at Earls Court Motor Show in 1964 for $9,000.

Facel Vega Facel II – The car for the rich and the famous

Jean Daninos, the French carmaker, started Facel in 1954.  The French firm  sold cars ‘For the Few Who Own the Finest’. According to Daninos, the Facel Vega Facel II was the firm’s greatest car. It was built between 1961 and 1964, and was advertised as ‘the fastest four-seater coupe in the world’.

The Facel Vega Facel II was stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, and thus expensive, these cars were priced in Rolls Royce territory.  Only 182 units of the Facel  II were produced. The list of famous owners includes Pablo Picasso, Ava Gardner, Tony Curtis, Joan Fontaine, Frank Sinatra and Danny Kaye.

What makes the Facel Vega Facel  II so special?

  • Of the 182 Facel II units manufactured, only 26 were right-hand drive models.

  • Most of the Facel IIs use the powerful 6.3 L Chrysler Typhoon V8 engine..

  • The Typhoon turns out  355 hp with an automatic gearbox, and 390 hp with a manual gearbox.

  • The chassis has elegant French bodywork done by Jean Daninos.

  • The Facel II was a unique blend of American power and European sophistication.  It stood a class apart from all the other models of its time.

Ringo Starr’s 1964 Facel Vega Facel II

Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey in 1940, owned one of the most extraordinary Facel IIs ever produced. Ringo’s car, chassis number HK2 B160, was the very last of only twenty-six right-hand drive Facel IIs ever produced and is one of only two Facel IIs with a 6.7 litre V8 engine and manual gearbox.

After being delivered to Ringo’s home in Weybridge, Surrey, he owned  the car for four years. Ringo’s Facel II, which has only 20,000 miles, was recently restored.  The car’s current owner has it insured for $800,000.

Sholto Gilbertson, collector car director at Bonhams, commented: “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.”

Because of vehicle rarity and irreplaceability, classic and luxury car collectors must make sure to have their precious possessions insured. Classic Auto Insurance will help you insure your collector cars at their full market value thereby protecting your investment. Get a free instant classic car insurance quote today.

About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

Posted: 10/30/2013 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments

The Pontiac GTO: Then & Now

Then & Now Pontiac GTO History
(click to enlarge)

The Ferrari 250 GTO was the source of inspiration behind the name of the Pontiac GTO, America’s first true muscle car. GTO is an acronym for Gran Turismo Omologato. This Italian phrase means "homologated for racing in the GT class". Pontiac chief engineer John De Lorean and  McManus advertising agency executive Jim Wangers, an automotive enthusiast, were the creators of the GTO.

Following is a tribute to the classic Pontiac GTO:
1964: The Beginning

The Pontiac GTO, nicknamed “The Goat”, was a bold creation. It violated the GM policy that prohibited any intermediate size car from having engines greater than 330 cid. The GTO was made using a 389 cid engine and was sold as an option package on the midsize Tempest. Because the Pontiac GTO was just an option in the Tempest series, GM overlooked the policy violation, and the GTO was approved.

While a maximum of 5000 sales were expected, total sales of the 1964 Pontiac GTO reached 32,450 units. The car was a success beyond imagination and expectations.
Features of this car included:
Option of sport coupe, hardtop coupe and convertible
Tremendous power of 325 bhp, or 348 bhp with an optional tri-power setup
Hood scoops
Chrome dual exhaust outlets


Pontiac Improved the GTO for 1965.  Front and rear styling were changed with the GTO getting stacked headlights like Pontiac’s full size models. Pontiac also released an over the counter kit that would turn the decorative hood scoops into the first functional ram air setup. These improvements were obviously popular as sales increased to 75,342 units in 1965.


The model year 1966 was of great significance for the Pontiac GTO. After two successful years as a performance option for the Pontiac Tempest, the GTO was finally released as a separate model series. Also, A total of 96,946 Pontiac GTO units were sold in 1966. This is the highest ever recorded for any ‘true’ muscle car.

Features of the 1966 GTO included:
Stacked dumps
Recessed grille
Tail-lights with a louvered cover


The tri-power engine was withdrawn from this model, and an all new 400 cid engine was unveiled. A Better transmission and braking system were also applied to the car. The 1967 Pontiac GTO marked the end of the first generation for the GTO.


1968 would be the last year for the "6.5 Litre" front fender emblem used since the GTO's introduction in 1964.

The 1968 Pontiac GTO underwent major restyling that featured:
A Split wheelbase A-body
An Endura bumper – A rubber bumper that gave the car a bumper-less appearance.  Furthermore, it was virtually indestructable, as demonstrated in a famous commercial with John DeLorean bashing a GTO’s bumper with a sledgehammer, to no effect.
Hidden headlights


Many consider 1969 as the last golden year for the muscle car era. The ‘Judge’, a new option for the Pontiac GTO, was launched in 1969.

The ‘Judge’ featured:
Bold body paint and decals
A 400 cid V8 engine that gave power of 366 bhp
A Big rear spoiler and restyled taillights.


The Pontiac GTO had evolved from a muscle car to a luxo-cruiser. A radical restyling was done to the car. The changes included:
A New rear end and body creases
Four exposed headlamps in the Endura bumper
A new Vacuum Operated Exhaust (VOE) option given for a limited period of three months. Only 233 cars were made available with this option.


The Pontiac GTO saw a reduction in its power with the GM announcement that all cars must adhere to new Government regulations, and run on unleaded gas.  Sales began to decline as people abandoned the car. These were people who had adored the vehicle because of its tremendous power.

1972-1974: The last three years of the GTO

1972, 1973 and 1974 were tough years for the once great Pontiac GTO. New government regulations eliminated the Endura bumper and added a heavy, odd-looking steel one, engine power ratings dropped dramatically, and the Judge was discontinued along with all GTO convertible models.  For 1972 and 1973, The GTO reverted back to an option on the LeMans and LeMans Sport. For 1974, its last year, the once proud GTO was reduced to an option on the compact Ventura.

1974 was the last year the GTO was available until Pontiac brought the brand back in 2004.

2004:  Return of the Pontiac GTO

The new Pontiac GTO was based on the Holden Monaro, a car made by an Australian subsidiary of General Motors.  Only one option was available for the car in 2004, a six-speed manual transmission as opposed to the the standard four-speed automatic. Because of the lack of options, the GTO was only available in one model in 2004. The car would continue the trend until it was discontinued following the 2006 model year.

The 2004 reintroduction of the GTO nameplate was used for the first time since the original GTO was discontinued in 1974.
GTO had a 2004 production run of 15,740 units.
The base price of the GTO was $33,000, and the manual transmission added an additional $695 to this price.


The 2005 Pontiac GTO was nearly an identical copy of the 2004 model. In fact, Pontiac made very few changes to the car at all over its short three-year lifespan after it was reintroduced in 2004.

The 2005 changes included:
A new, more powerful engine that produced up to 400 horsepower.
The addition of a new split dual-exhaust system.
The addition of hood scoops to the car.

In 2005, only 11,069 GTOs were produced.  A slight price drop brought the 2005 GTO cost down to $32,295 from $33,000 the year before. The six-speed manual transmission added $695 to this price.

2006: The final year

The 2006 GTO was nearly a carbon copy of the 2005 model. In fact the car changed hardly at all throughout its three-year lifespan. The only noticeable difference to the exterior of the 2006 GTO was blacked-out taillights. The 2006 Pontiac GTO was priced at $31,290, and production of the 2006 GTO increased over the 2005 model year, up to 13,948 from 11,069. However, this improvement was not enough to save the car from its demise.

The discontinuation of the Pontiac GTO was announced in February 2006, and the last model was produced in September of that year. New airbag deployment standards, introduced in 2007, were given as the reason for the cancellation of the GTO.

No matter which GTO model you have, Classic Auto is here to help you protect it. We know how important these muscle cars are to their owners, and we also know how important it is to keep them in top notch condition. Securing the future of these cars and preserving them for future generations to enjoy is only possible when we protect them from inevitable damage and wear and tear. Classic Auto Insurance can help you do just that. We offer affordable classic car insurance options with the best coverage available for your classic GTO. Give us a call today for a free quote!

About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

Posted: 10/28/2013 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Tips For Rebuilding Your Classic Car

Vintage Blue Oldsmobile

Restoring and rebuilding a vintage car can be a fulfilling hobby. The fruit of each day’s work is visible, and you can measure the progress your car makes regularly. While the financial commitment involved in this hobby can be substantial, the satisfaction you’ll receive when you rev up the engine for the first time will make it worth your while.

To Restore or Not?

Rebuilding antique cars takes time and dedication if you want it done right. There are some cars that are ideal for rebuilding, and some others that should be considered only if they have a sentimental value attached to them. This is an important consideration for every restoration project that you take up.

Working on Your Car

  • Get to know your car - Once you have settled on the car that you are going to work with, the next step is to get to know the car intimately. Use reliable sources like the local car club, specialist mechanics and online resources to learn more about your car.

  • Find missing parts - Talk to your mechanic, or search online, to locate reliable salvage yards and old car parts supply shops, in order to find all the missing parts you are looking for.

  • Decide which parts you are restoring - You have to decide whether your restoration work is centered only on the engine, or the exteriors and interiors as well.

  • Determine order of restoration - If you plan to restore your car completely, the ideal way to proceed would be by starting with the engine, moving to the body and then finally working on the interiors.

  • Check each part of the car - Breaking down the car has to be systematic, and each part will have to be examined to look for damages or the need for replacement.

  • Check frame alignment - Going right down to the frame will help you determine whether it is straight and if the alignment needs to be looked at.

  • Divide your work into smaller tasks - Working on your car should be done in phases. Divide the work to be done on your car into tasks, which you can do yourself, and those which will need to be done by an expert.

  • Get help from a good mechanic - Find a reliable car mechanic, preferably one whose work comes well recommended, and turn over the high level tasks to him/her.

  • Plan your budget - Each of your phases have to be budgeted to ensure that you do not cross your total budget; yet accomplish all that you have planned.

  • Allow for additional expenses - Being realistic about the expenses is necessary as is allotting roughly 20% percent more at each level of work for unexpected expenses.

Finishing Up the Project

  • Check each part - When you begin putting your car back together again, make sure you examine every part of it minutely to ascertain it’s in working condition.

  • Test your car parts in batches - Working in batches and testing the car as you go along helps in ironing out small issues.

Good quality restoration work will ensure you qualify easily for antique auto insurance. Whether it is expert advice on car evaluation, a free quote, or some of the best classic car insurance options for vintage cars, Classic Auto Insurance Agency has everything you need. For more information, call us at 888-901-1338.

About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

Posted: 10/25/2013 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Rare 1967 Ferrari Goes Up For Auction

Ferrari 275 GTB

It was an auction that garnered plenty of applause. And that was not all—it was for a car that will also go down in history as one of the most expensive road cars ever sold at an auction. The star of the show was a 1967 Ferrari that went up for auction on August 18 in California.

What’s so special about the car?
The Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder is one of only ten of its kind ever made. Eddie Smith Sr., a millionaire and former mayor of Lexington, North Carolina, took delivery of the rare red beauty in 1968. Apparently, he bought the car for everyday use. And drive he did; including taking the kids for a ride just to share the experience!

Eddie Sr. originally bought the car for $14,500. It was driven for 45 years before it was stowed away, or rather “kept in prison” as Eddie Jr. stated. Eddie Jr. decided to sell the car because it wasn’t being used as much as his late father would have liked. He announced the money from sale will go to local charities in Lexington besides the family foundation.

The auction
The sale opened at $10 million, and in the very first bid it was pushed to $16 million. As the price shot up, the cheers got louder. Among a lot of applauding, the final gavel fell at $27.5 million, including commission! The car boasted of a single-family ownership, which boosted its value. The only other car that has been sold at an auction for more is the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 race car, which went for $29.6 million at a UK auction earlier this year.

The new owner
Although the name of the new owner was not officially announced, it is believed the rare Ferrari was purchased by billionaire Canadian fashion entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll.

As rare as rare can get
The Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder was made on the insistence of Luigi Chinetti, the former race car driver, who was Ferrari's North American Importer in the 1960s. Chinetti spotted a 275 GTB/4 at the Paris Motor Show, which impelled him to ponder over the need for a substitute to the luxurious 330 GTS. It took a lot of convincing before Ferrari relented and spoke to Sergio Scaglietti who manufactured the 275 bodies.

Eventually, Ferrari’s own NART Spyder was manufactured. It was named after Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) that contested all the top races in the US and abroad. However, instead of the 25 cars that he ordered, only 10 were shipped to Chinetti,

No additional bracing was introduced with the 275 NART Spyder, despite the chassis’s reliance on the aluminum body for rigidity.

Chinetti put the cars into race duty as soon as he laid his hands on them. But despite the promotion efforts, he had a hard time selling the cars, which finally had to go out on a significant discount. All the cars were sold through his eastern USA dealership.

The 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder that belonged to Eddie Sr. was repainted to resale red from its original Azzurro Metallizzato. This fully-restored rare car came with matching numbers as well.

Have a rare Ferrari? Classic Auto offers exotic and collector car insurance policies to protect the unique needs of your investment. Contact us today for a free classic car insurance quote!

About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

Posted: 10/23/2013 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Vintage Cars that Stole the Show in Hollywood Movies

Herbie the Love Bug

Vintage cars have a way of taking center stage in movies. Film stars and movie plots may fade from memory, but vintage cars are forever. The movie ‘Italian Job’, made in 1969, was recently voted the best classic motoring film of all time at a Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, England. The Mini Coopers clearly stole the show in the movie, which is remembered to date for the scene where the gang throws off the cops and race away with the gold in the Minis.

Vintage car collectors rent out cars for Hollywood movies
Classic car collectors like Bob McRae and others rent out their vintage cars to studios for $300-$400 per scene. Bob McRae has an army of 45 classic cars including the 1963 Lincoln Continental and the 1932 Dodge. These cars were rented out for movies like ‘The Aviator’ and ‘Pearl Harbor’, among others.

According to a rental agent at Cinema Vehicles Services in Hollywood, film makers do not want to search for a vintage car or take the time to buy the car and spend a huge sum for just a day’s shoot. They would rather rent a vintage car from car collectors. It is from this that the concept of car collectors for Hollywood emerged.

Hollywood auctions for vintage and luxury cars
The reverse is true as well. While car enthusiasts and collectors rent out their precious possessions to Hollywood, Hollywood also auctions its vintage and luxury cars. Aston Martins, which were driven by James Bond, and Ferraris that were used in ‘Charlie’s Angels 2’ have huge takers who pay whopping prices to own these celebrated vehicles.

Four vintage vehicles driven in Hollywood movies

  • 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder - This was regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever seen in movies. It is one of the most expensive classic cars to be auctioned. It was one of the last three SWB California Spyder cars ever built. The car was driven by Cameron Diaz in ‘Charlie’s Angels 2’.

  • 1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB - The vintage red roadster 1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB was used in Disney’s classic flick ‘The Love Bug’. Only nine such cars were built by an Italian automaker. It was one of the most sought after Ferraris.

  • 1973 Ford F-250 - This truck featured in ‘The Blues Brothers’. Though the car sequence was very brief, it left an imprint in the memories of the audience. Jake and Elwood Blues, two angry musicians drive their Bluesmobile. The shot is unforgettable.

  • 1972 Chevrolet C-10 - In the 1993 Richard Linklater high school cult classic, ‘Dazed and Confused’, the 1972 Chevrolet C-10 was showcased. The vehicle was driven by Cole Hauser.

Because of vehicle rarity and irreplaceability, vintage and luxury car collectors must make sure to have their precious possessions insured. Classic Auto Insurance will help you insure your collector cars at their full market value thereby protecting your investment. Get a free instant classic car insurance quote today.

About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

Posted: 10/21/2013 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Displaying results 1-5 (of 13)
 |<  < 1 - 2 - 3  >  >| 
American Modern Trusted Choice
Since 1992 Classic Automobile Insurance has been one of the top agencies protecting collector, classic and exotics cars.  Get a quote now or contact us at 1-888-901-1338 to see how we can serve your needs.
Antique Cars
Classic Trucks
Vintage Cars
Collector Cars
Hot Rods
Rat Rods
Street Rods
Exotic Cars
Luxury Cars
Muscle Cars
Instant Quote
My Policy
Private Client Services
About Us
The Benefits of Classic Auto Insurance
Facebook Twitter Google Plus LinkedIn Pinterest Instagram YouTube RSS
© 2019 Classic Auto Insurance  | CA LIC 0H16071 |  Indianapolis Web Design and Development by BitWise Solutions