£70000 - £80000
1959 FACEL-VEGA HK500
Registration Number: KFF 560
Chassis Number: TBA
Recorded Mileage: TBA
In previous very long term family ownership
Very original and unrestored example
One of only 490 produced
The brainchild of French industrialist and designer Jean Daninos, the Facel Vega marque was born in 1954 in a bid to keep Paris on the map as a centre of automotive excellence at a time when great French marques like Delahaye, Delage, Talbot Lago and Panhard were being driven to the wall by punitive government taxes on high performance vehicles. Aimed squarely at the export market and launched in 1958, the HK500 was the most powerful Facel yet, initially fitted with a 5.9-litre Chrysler V8 that was soon supplanted by an even bigger 6.3-litre unit that pumped out a colossal 360bhp and 425 lbs-ft of torque.
Styled by Daninos, engineered by Jacques Brasseur and with a chassis developed by Lance Macklin of HWM racing fame, the HK500 went as well as it looked with a fit and finish that was second to none. Rust-resistant stainless steel was used for brightwork, while a lavish passenger cabin was trimmed in the finest leathers with a fabulous aircraft-like dashboard that looked like wood but was in fact painted stainless steel.
The advertising slogan for the Facel Vega HK500 summed it up succinctly, “For the Few Who Own the Finest”. The few included Pablo Picasso, Ringo Starr, Tony Curtis, Ava Gardner, Joan Fontaine and Maurice Trintignant.
Tested by Motor magazine, the car topped out at 145mph, hit 60mph in 8.4 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 16.3 seconds. Stirling Moss spurned air travel in favour of driving his HK500 from race to race and Albert Camus famously met his end in one, crashing at 112mph while returning from a book launch with his publisher at the wheel. Costing more than a Mercedes Gullwing and three times as rare, the HK500 exuded opulent exclusivity from every stunningly handsome pore.
This extremely original example was part of the collection of a family in the South West of England for many years until the passing of the owner a few years ago. In recent times the Facel has been stored in a dry environment and is offered in well preserved condition. The burgundy paintwork is very straight with only one or two very minor dings due to storage. The leather interior is complete and still in very good order, showing light signs of wear commensurate with age (notably the original radio is still fitted to the car). The car was started recently and driven around the current owner’s premises, the only observation being that the brakes “could require attention before being used on the road..”.
This stylish French Grand Routier is a wonderful prospect for a serious collector, one which we feel could be sensitively preserved rather than fully restored, before being returned to its natural habitat of the open road.