Lot 177 - 1960 Facel Vega HK500
|Odometer reading||90,000 miles|
- Rare right hand drive manual example
- Fresh restoration work by The Chelsea Workshop
- Magazine featured with extensive history
Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) originally specialised in the production of aircraft materials. After World War II, Facel distributed car bodies to Panhard, Simca and Ford France. It would not be until 1954 that Facel began to manufacture its own vehicle, the Facel Vega FV, unveiled at the Paris Salon in 1954. Crippling legislation immediately after the war made it was virtually impossible for luxurious cars to be manufactured in France but despite this, Jean Daninos was passionate about reigniting the romance of lavishly glamorous French motoring. Despite the staggering $7,000 asking price at launch, buyers were still flocking to take ownership. Later developments saw the introduction, in 1956, of the Facel Vega FVS, further evolving into the all-new HK500 in 1959. The chosen engine to power the next chapter in Facel history was the most famous of them all, the 383 cubic inch, 6.3 litre, V8, which produced a thundering 360bhp, a claimed top speed of 147mph and 0-60mph time of just 8.5 seconds. Through this combination of alluring styling and significant power, the Facel Vega HK500 legend was born. The media were hugely excited with Facel's latest sports coupé. A 'Mechanix Illustrated' magazine tester, Tom McCahill, said the HK500 was, "Sexier than the Place Pigalle and throatier than a Russian basso; A sporting piece of equipment that looks like money, which is exactly what it costs ($9,795 new). A car to be appreciated as a remarkable and wonderfully satisfying road companion".
Adored for its charm and style, the Facel Vega HK500 captivated the hearts of the masses, with numerous celebrities taking ownership of this pinnacle of French elegance. Drawn by Jean Daninos himself, the Facel Vega seamlessly incorporates American styling with French glamour. With over 390bhp available from the roaring Chrysler V8, the HK500 was one of the fastest cars of its day. The Facel Vega II replaced the HK in 1962, at which time, it is widely thought, just 489 were built and reportedly only 105 were right hand drive, fewer still manual.
On Boxing day in 1995, Mr. Green, the previous owner's father bought this example from the classified ad of a US classic car magazine, it described the car as ‘the best in the world’ and thus he bought it unseen and wired the $12,000. At this point, the retired Mr. Green, who had wanted a Facel since a boy, had no idea of the extent of the restoration that would be required. However, once the restoration was finished in 1997, Classic Cars magazine said this example was “the best in the world”, after a £50,000 restoration it just might be. The story of the restoration is documented in the November issue of Classic Cars magazine and a copy of this can be found in the history file which also includes a breakdown of the costs and the specialists used back in 1996. A staggering £36,000 was spent on bodywork. The car was found to have the incorrect 5.8 litre engine so Mr. Green sourced the correct 6.3 litre Chrysler Typhoon unit from Facel Specialist, Ian Webb, he had this rebuilt and transplanted into this exceptional car to retain the originality. The history file contains countless invoices and receipts for parts and work including help from Hans Ruhe with the fiddly bits and Downton Bodyworks taking on the largest part of the project. When completed, the car remained a family treasure, it was a regular with the Facel Owners Club and featured at the N.E.C Motor Show stand in 1998. Mr. Green transferred ownership of this Facel to his son David who, along with his family, enjoyed taking the car to local Facel meets and car shows, creating new memories with what had been an extraordinary story.
Purchased by the vendor from us in 2020, this stunning HK500 has been freshly painted in gold and bronze with opulent magnolia hide and ample chromework. The car, requiring a little attention since it's restoration int the 90's, has benefitted from work carried out by well renowned restoration specialists, The Chelsea Workshop since he took ownership. With invoices amounting to over £48,000 in his three years of ownership, the car has been given a full repaint, interior trim work with new carpets, any issues with the car resolved, as well as the installation of air conditioning, (costing £7,834.00 alone). The car presents beautifully, reportedly running and driving very well.
Supplied with several folders full of history, photographs and Facel Vega Owners Club details. The car benefits from a MoT test certificate valid until March 2024. A truly exceptional example with a great history and achingly gorgeous, this is a unique opportunity to own one of the most iconic motorcars of the 1960s and follow in the footsteps of Ava Gardner and Dean Martin, to name a few.