A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £121,000
The legendary Facel Vega HK500. An outstanding combination of alluring styling and a roaring Chrysler V-8 Very rare, right-hand drive, manual, 35,000 miles and now fitted with power steering Tubular frame with independent front suspension, live rear axle and over 390bhp from the 6.2-litre V8 Owned by our private vendor since 2009 forming part of his eclectic collection Three previous owners and a full mechanical rebuild by Facel specialists, Hans Ruhe in the Netherlands To quote from the 1957 brochure "For the Few Who Own the Finest" Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) originally specialised in the production of aircraft materials before the outbreak of war in 1939. 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, which was unveiled at the Paris Salon in 1954. Crippling legislation immediately after the war made it 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. With no post-war European power unit available that would suitably complement the magnificent luxurious interior and exterior of his new creation, Daninos turned to the 276 cubic inches (4.5-litre) De Soto Firedome V-8. This was a dependable engine, with a 7.5:1 compression ratio and pushrod-operated overhead valves, pushing out 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and capable of propelling this imposing piece of French architecture to a top speed of 130mph. Despite the staggering $7,000 asking price at launch, buyers were still flocking to take ownership of Daninos beautiful creation. 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 V-8, which produced a thundering 360bhp and a claimed top speed of 147mph. Through this outstanding 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 such as Dean Martin and Ava Gardner taking ownership of this pinnacle of French elegance. Drawn by Jean Daninos himself, the Facel Vega seamlessly incorporates American styling with French glamour. Mechanically, the HK500 was very similar to its predecessors. The chassis was designed by Lance Macklin, a tubular frame featuring independent front suspension coils and wishbones; whilst at the rear, a live axle is held in place by longitudinal semi-elliptic springs. With over 390bhp available from the roaring Chrysler V-8, the HK500 was one of the fastest cars of its day. This HK500 is a very special car indeed. ‘#HKBD1’ is an early right-hand drive fitted with the desirable manual gearbox and is finished in White with a red leather interior. The odometer is showing just over 35,000 miles, which looking at the previous MoTs in the accompanying history file could well be accurate. Our vendor has owned this car since 2009, forming part of his significant private collection, and only three owners have had the chance to enjoy this magnificent Voiture before him. Prior to our vendor's ownership, marque specialist Hans Ruhe (Amicale Facel Holland) oversaw a mechanical rebuild of the car and there are invoices in the accompanying history file detailing this. More recently, our vendor has entrusted GTC Engineering in Silverstone to look after the Facel's various needs and the decision was taken under his ownership to fit power steering to enhance the driving experience. It doesn’t look like the car has ever been fully restored as such, just lovingly cared for over the years. Our vendor has thoroughly enjoyed his time with ‘HKBD1’, especially attending events such as the 2010 Goodwood Revival in which this he took the Facel to be showcased as part of the ‘Great Touring Greats' category, but the time has now come for someone else to enjoy this sensational automobile. A previous sales sheet in the accompanying history file states that the 6.2 V8 four-barrel carburettor Chrysler 'Wedge' engine in this model produced 390bhp at 5,000 rpm and a top speed of 147mph. No wonder this was one of the fastest cars of its period! To conclude, Silverstone Auctions are proud to offer this fabulous example, fresh to the market from long-term ownership, and which certainly ticks all the boxes for any serious collector and any interested parties should contact the office directly for a pre-sale inspection, which we highly recommend.