£55,000 - £60,000
1961 FACEL VEGA HK500
Registration Number: UK Taxes Paid
Chassis Number: HK1/BV7
Recorded Mileage: 74,900 miles
- 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 original and unrestored example was produced in 1961, soon to be finding its way across the Atlantic to the United States, staying until being acquired in 1990 by a British enthusiast from dealer Keilen’s Auto Restoring of Massachusetts. At the time of sale the HK500 had been repainted, with one or two minor rust spots, but was believed to be a very genuine car which was complete and ran well.
Since its arrival in the UK the Facel has been dry stored for many years awaiting restoration, however our current owner has decided on balance to reduce his collection, and so is offering the HK500 for sale. The silver coachwork appears to be sound and straight, and the red leather interior is complete, although showing signs of wear commensurate with age. A nice addition is the fitment of a period Pioneer 8-Track stereo player.
Looking through the history file we see the previous title document, period 1980s photographs of the car whilst in ownership in the United States, correspondence from the previous seller, a more recent UK bill of sale (dated 2015), and older shipping documents.
With just under 75,000 miles recorded, this stylish Grand Routier should prove to be a straightforward restoration or preservation project for the discerning collector.