French Ford! 1954 Ford Comète Monte Carlo

Most of the ‘finds’ that we bring you are on American soil, but every now and then, something overseas catches our attention, and we feel compelled to present them to you! Today, we have a 1954 Ford Comète that’s for sale here on Blocket in the Uppsala region of Sweden. We say “tack så mycket” to reader Göran in Sweden while we take a look!

 

At one time, Ford Motor Company had divisions all over the world, in some cases a separate company for each country or region. The Comète was a luxury product of the French subsidiary, Ford SAF (later to become Simca SAF). Comètes were built on a shortened Ford Vedette platform between 1951 and 1954, and early cars had a 2.2-liter Aquillon V8, coupled to a Pont-à-Mousson  manual gearbox. 1952 saw a 2.4-liter of the same type, and the last two years saw a 3.9-liter Mistral V8 truck engine that put out 105 horsepower. Bodies were crafted by coachbuilder Facel-Metallon, better known for their Facel Vega.

Specific to the car here, the “Monte Carlo” was the top-level car, and if our sources are correct, only 699 were ever made. Total number of Comètes ever made is about 2,100.

We look now at the car presented, and we can see a dusty but complete-looking example that probably needs a full, thorough going-over. Any necessary replacement parts would be a challenge, but the seller says that it has been in their family since new, and only traveled 3,200 miles. We’re told that it has been parked since 1973, but it looks like it was kept somewhere out of the major weather elements that one would presume to exist in Northern European countries. Hold on to your hats, though, as the listed asking price of 500,000 Swedish krona equates to just under 55,000 U.S. dollars at the time of writing this to you.

I personally really dig old, obscure vehicles, about which most people do not know. (Of course, readers of Barn Finds do, but you get the idea). I have a daydream that one day, I’ll get invited to bring a unique vehicle like this to Pebble Beach or Amelia Island to display, but I’m probably not alone in that.

That’s my take on this car, what’s yours? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Comments

  1. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    These are gorgeous cars when restored. Kinda like a refined version of a shoebox Ford with a little Mercury thrown in. I only remember seeing one in real life, at a Rockville, Maryland car show in the 1970s (heads up Bill McCloskey) and ever after my Dad would joke about some day building a CALM-ET from a model of a 49 Ford.

    Like 7
  2. Dual Jetfire

    It’s a ‘53 Nash Healey with a Rambler grille.

    Like 6
  3. Will Fox

    The price vs. expense of delivery from Sweden and full restoration put this car out of logical consideration for most. Yes, it appears fairly complete & miles are low, but I couldn’t justify $175K-$200K cost when done. The car itself even “IF” fully restored isn’t worth anywhere near that figure.

    Like 7
    • lc

      Only the Jay Lenos and John Travoltas could restore cars like this when looking at those astronomical dollar figures to do so.

      Like 4
  4. Brakeservo

    I saw one at Pebble Beach, 2016, in the parking lot by the Equestrian Center.

  5. Gaspumpchas

    Wonder if the flathead v8 is an american version? Cant see too close. Sure is a neat find, dunno if its worth the coin? I understood that they made french cars out of prince Albert tobacco cans. Anyhoo, good luck and glad the fine folks at BF continue to find these obscure goodies! Good luck and stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 2
  6. Tempo Matador Ray

    Hey Russell,
    Nice find…I’m with you on oddball and obscure vehicles to work on. This is definitely a cool unit that would be the envy at any car gathering. It has sporty styling and a diminutive V-8 that would be fun to performance tune. My approach would be a preservation restoration on this one. Not all cars need to be concours status…Continue to innovate not duplicate…

    Like 3
  7. Murray Taylor Member

    I think the engines in these were versions of the Ford v8 60 made under licence.

    Like 1
    • Gaspumpchas

      Ahh the v8-60–forgot about that one, thanks Murray!!!
      Cheers
      GPC

    • local_sheriff

      If I understand it right Cometes got the Ford V8 60 ( called Aquilon) in 2.2/ 2.4 liter versions. However, this being not only a Comete but also an even more exclusive Monte Carlo it should have a 3.9 liter V8(called Mistral), better known as Ford’s/ Merc’s 239 in the new world.

      According to a write-up on classiccars.com previously this year the Comete Monte Carlo was THE most expensive Ford in its time

      Like 1
  8. angliagt angliagt Member

    A guy I knew when I lived in Eureka,CA had one of these
    in black.I was kind of amazed that it was there.
    He ended up selling it a number of years ago.

    Like 1
  9. redwagon

    I see more British Bristol and Jaguar influences in this than I do Ford or Mercury. Styling looks really nice, esp with the long hood, and the B pillar to body interface.

    I was shocked at the asking price. Rare, perhaps but it’s still a Ford and that price just doesn’t make sense to me. Kudos if they know the value and can get it from this car.

    Like 3
  10. BlondeUXB Member

    AC/Nash/Talbot…

  11. James HGF

    $55k for car needing a complete restoration is nuts. La Vie de L’Auto currently values a Ford Comète Monte Carlo coupe @ €60,000. That’s for a car in excellent condition not necessarily concours. In 2004 Gazoline magazine suggested €17k – €18k for a fine example. The €60k seems reasonable today.

    Perhaps the seller is aware of this absolutely superb recreation with custom touches by JB Classic Cars of the Netherlands. Facel only built two cabriolets and if you look at JB’s restoration page you’ll see they claim to strive for perfection.

    The price is a staggering @ €225,000.

    As they state “The rarest Comète on this planet”:

    https://www.jbclassiccars.com/?portfolio=ford-comete-cabriolet-v8-monte-carlo-1953

    Will provide 2004 restoration article w/latter comment.

    Like 2
  12. James HGF

    A later, not latter, comment.

    The Facel Comète Monte Carlo coupé is a coach built custom on a Ford Vedette chassis. For comparison purposes only, the Facel Comète and Nash Healey length, width, height and weight are nearly identical.

    Unlike the Healey the Comète body is welded directly to the frame making restoration and repair of likely rust areas more difficult. There were no presses spitting out finished panels. Every thing was hand formed over wooden bucks and as on Italian coach built cars the left side is not going to be a mirror image of the right. If one door is 2cm longer than the other so what.

    The Gazoline article from 2004 from the Simca Facel site:

    https://www.simcafacel.levillage.org/spip.php?article255

    Google translate for English

    Like 4
  13. Martin Horrocks

    We have a good one of these in the workshop at present. It is not a Ford. It is the beginning of Facel Vega. No ball of fire, but extremely well-proportioned and built. Very elegant.

    This car is not unreasonably priced. It is wrong to think you can make money on a restoration, because that’s the exception to the rule. People usually restore cars for other reasons.

    Like 4
  14. Bill McCoskey

    I’ve owned a Facel Vega Excellence, and I’ve done some research into the company. I remember seeing one of these in Germany in 1975, and not knowing who built it, I ended up talking to the owner who said it was a Comete, built by Facel Metallon.

    So I have to agree with Martin Horrocks, I believe these were advertised new as Comete cars, and did not have a ford emblem or markings except for the VIN plate. While they did have the Ford engine, Facel installed a different gearbox, and shortened the chassis. Take a good look at the early Facel Vega cars and you will see a commonality in the body design, probably designed by Jean Daninos of Facel.

    Like 3
  15. James HGF

    It’s true that Ford SAF (ie: France) did not slap the Ford oval on the Ford Comète and Comète Monte-Carlo, but the cars have a Ford SAF serial number plate with chassis number and engine number. It’s high lighted in this Osenat results listing for their May 2020 Versailles sale. Click on “Fiche détaillee” 116 for the listing and photos. There’s a good photo of the ID plate on the right side of the firewall:

    https://www.osenat.com/recherche?query=1954+ford+comete+monte-carro&isvisible=&ok=Search&myGroup=1

    Numero de carrosserie Facile Métallon 1571.

    Martin Horrocks perhaps knows where the body number is located.

    The basic design direction dates back to ’48 – ’49 as Jean Daninos asked Pinin Farina for a fast back coupe prototype on a new Bentley Mk VI chassis. Daninos built the series bodies at Facel-Métallon. There were at least 11 possibly 17, but only 11 confirmed and the notch back coupé design originated in house at F-M with a little guidance from the Farina design for the Ford.

    Stabilimenti Farina provided the design executed by Facel-Métallon’s craftsmen introduced by Ford in the autumn of ’51 as the Ford Comète. Ford launched the Monte-Carlo at the Salon de Bruxelles in January 1954.

    When Simca took over the Ford production on 1 Dec 1954 the Comète Monte-Carlo was continued until summer of 1955 by Simca. It was a Ford luxury product saved by Simca and for a few additional months F-M’s craftsmen continued to shape metal into a haute couture gown for the Vedette’s chassis.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey

      James HGF,
      Thank you for the information and the link. Those photos of the light green Comete brought back memories of the blue one I saw in Heidelberg 45 years ago. I wanted one then, and I want one even more today!

      I do find it interesting that an approved Ford automobile has no external or interior identification for Ford, the only Ford ID location being the chassis number plate. It’s as if they intended the car to be sold as a Comete Monte Carlo.

      I would love to show up at a typical American vintage car show, open the hood to show off the flathead V8, and leave the show visitors guessing what it is.

      Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      Back in the early 1980s I found one of the Facel Metallon MkIV Bentley cars in a garage in [I think] northern New Jersey, it was painted fire engine red, and while it was beautiful, I passed on the purchase, because it was considered a “bastard” car by the Rolls-Royce factory, as Facel was not an approved coachbuilder.

      My memory of the car [I have photos somewhere] is that the car was a fastback along the lines of a Bentley Continental. The price was quite cheap, comparable to the regular Bentley MkIV saloons. I shoulda bought the car. A well-known Rolls-Royce restorer bought it, and a few years later offered it for over $150,000, having done very little to the car.

      Like 2
  16. James HGF

    Doggone typo…”highlighted”…it is. Click on the Barn Find’s engine compartment photo above “Capture7” and you can see the Ford SAF id plate with chassis and engine serial number on the right side of the firewall.

    Much easier to see and read in the Osenat highlighted photo.

  17. James HGF

    One more for a smile. Pierre Guy is missing wheels, rear axle, steering column, windshield, antenna, and horn for his Ford Comète Monte-Carlo which he plans to rehab keeping its’ patina. Makes one think of the pleasure the former owner must have had pedaling his/her smart cabriolet.

    http://vieuxtrucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/pierre-guy-ford-comete-monte-carlo-1953.html

    • Bill McCoskey

      James HGF,

      Thanks again for the link, as a collector of rare pedal cars [my favorite is my 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III by Tri-ang], not only do I now want the full size car, but the pedal car as well! I also noted that someone in the past installed what looks to be a Peugeot Lion hood ornament on the pedal car.

  18. Brakeservo

    I just got an email from RM-Sotheby’s about their upcoming online auction of the Dennis Mitosinka collection. A similar Ford Comete in what appears to be slightly worse shape is an offered lot.

    The car in Sweden might very well be fairly priced to the right buyer but that’s not me. For that kind of money I’d want a personal inspection and with Covid-19 that probably couldn’t happen now anyway.

    I did own this car’s younger cousin once – a Simca Plein Ceil Aronde by Facel. Stylistically very similar.

  19. Phlathead Phil

    Well I’ll be danged, it has a phlathed motor!! The generator position gave it away! I also see similar design flairs with my ‘53 Vicky.

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